American Legends Hot Rods and Muscle Cars is located in Phoenix, Arizona and specializes in all aspects of Hot Rods, Muscle Cars, and Classic Cars! They are fully equipped and capable of handling any project from design, fabrication, custom machining or sheetmetal.
Tony Arme - Shop Owner
"I started working with my dad and we built my first car - a Mustang. I ended up selling it and bought another one that I drove throughout high school and then it snowballed from there. I went to a community college to study automotive technology. My instructor connected me with someone who had previously gone through the program and started his own hot rod shop afterwards, so I ended up working there for two years before going to another local shop where I stayed for nine years. I moved again to another place that basically bought and sold cars at Barrett-Jackson, but they were subbing stuff out, so we discussed doing it all inhouse and doing the servicing ourselves which we tried to build into a business. We did this for over four years and it grew well, and then the owner wanted to go one way and us another, so me and a couple guys all left and started American Legends Hotrods. We do our advertising at Barrett-Jackson and do about two cars every year there, plus more at Goodguys and SEMA. We are currently finishing a ‘57 Chevy here that has a Duramax diesel engine in it with 1,400 ft lbs. of torque and around 700hp, we named it the 1957 Hellair. They didn’t come with a Duramax in 1957 so it was a challenge to get it to fit under the hood. Almost every panel on this car has been replaced, at one point it was sitting with only part of the cowl and roof intact. The car was from the Northeast and should have been scrapped, but we fixed it. So far my favorite project was a ‘64 Corvette that we converted into a split window, and it was a wide body so there was carbon fiber everywhere! I would trade my Mustang for that in a heartbeat. We just try to build cool stuff and I just love all the horsepower these cars have!"
Glen Butler - Fabricator/Technician
"My dad and uncle each had a wrecking yard and I pretty much was raised in them. I tried to go into other jobs but always ended up back working on cars. I used to work for Arizona Street Rods- I built a hot rod for one of my friends and he kept telling me to go work for this guy named Tony who owned a shop called American Legends Hotrods and Musclecars. I finally went over to the shop one day and Tony put me to work! I have a lot of background in suspensions, components, motors and transmissions - I am 60 years old now so I like to stick to my strengths in the shop. I also do personal builds that are mostly one-offs that I turn around and sell (then usually regret selling and miss it after). For the past 15 years I have worked on fixing other people’s mistakes. A customer brings a car in and tells me they spent a lot of money on it, but can’t drive it, it has no horsepower, it doesn’t stop, stuff like that! I like working on things that people are actually going to drive. They’re going to get in it, they’re going to be happy that the money they paid was well spent and they’re going to drive away with a smile on their face. I get my kicks from watching people take my builds to shows. My builds have won Best in Class at the National Roadster Show, Top 10 in Del Mar and Boyd’s Pro Pick in the same show!"
Charlie Sullens - Partner/Technician
"I started working on family cars when I was 13 years old. I would race in the desert and had to learn how to fix it up myself as we couldn’t afford someone else to do it. I jumped around different jobs and then decided to go to UTI because I wanted to work for BMW. During school, I got a part time job at a shop that specialized in building Shelby Cobra replicas. The hot rod stuff took over for me and I never ended up working at BMW. I have been doing this professionally for about 20 years now and the restomod stuff and just making the old stuff fun to drive is my favorite."
Gerald Murphy - Fabricator
"I was really into BMX bikes and wanted to learn how to build my own frames. I learned how to weld, got my permit and got into cars. I was a good welder and a good mechanic, so I went to my local body shop that did restorations in my hometown, got them to tech me how to cut out spot welds and take a sub structure apart and put it back together, body work it and get it ready for paint. The weather just wasn’t good enough year-round in New York so I moved out here so I could spend more time doing this. Now I’m here at American Legends. I’ve always been painting, welding, and building stuff, but I didn’t really get serious with work until about 7 or 8 years ago. I’ve always wanted to Duramax swap a '64 Impala, so my favorite build is the '57 Hell-air. I did a lot of work on the car. It was my first major project that took 2 years working on it in between other projects. My favorite pieces are the little intake panel that goes into the fender, the under hood panels and the exhaust coming out of the back bumper. It really came out killer! My main job is a fabricator, but everyone here does a little bit of everything."
Brad and Danielle Apicella - Shop Owners
"Around 2014, I had a business partner who took me under his wing, and we decided to build hot rods although it was a soft market for those at that time. We started Apicella Designs after working on this 1950 truck that I commissioned a guy in town to build for me while we acted as a warehouse here, storing, buying and selling stuff. Our intention was to eventually sell the truck, but we ended up pulling it back from the shop and pushed it into SEMA because it didn’t drive. After SEMA, we repainted the whole truck and started finding guys that could help us complete it. I bought a lift and called the Snap-on guys to come over because I needed every tool to fix this truck up and ended up getting my first Snap-on toolbox from them. In the beginning of my career, I thought I could do anything. It’s just metal and garbage, and I can put it together to make something cool. As time went on, we got quicker and we know better now. We chose 47 to 59 which would be the first and second series, but 3100 pickups are our specialty. We make turnkey chassis for them now and partner with a lot of companies. Our business has evolved, and we do just about everything in house! Some of our coolest projects have come in recently since COVID hit, people have time for more projects now that they work from home, we have a couple trucks in now that the owners have had their whole lives and was something passed down in their family. "
IKandy Paintworks is located in Peoria, Arizona and have been making eye candy for 25 years now! They do anything from custom paint jobs to collision and body work.
Frank Rechlin - Shop Owner
“I own Ikandy Paintworks here in Peoria, Arizona. I really got started with my first car, I saved my money and my dad gave me some money. I took my car to have it painted and it came out terrible. I went in there like, ‘What is this? There’s a run here and you guys didn't do this or that.’ The tech comes out and goes, ‘Well do you know how to paint cars Frank?’ I said, ‘No, that's why I brought my car to you.’ At the time I was barely 16. He responds, ‘Well if you don’t know how to paint cars, you can't come over here and nitpick. What you paid for is what you got. I said, ‘Are you serious right now?’, but really I was thinking ‘this son of a gun.’ I went home and I enrolled in auto body during my senior year and again in college at UCC. I enjoyed learning how to paint and painting my own car. Before I left high school, I repainted the whole car with a metal flake candy paint job. It was my first paint job and I’ve never looked back since, learning this whole way. When you're beginning, it's hard to become a painter or head technician because you don't have enough experience and nobody wants to extend an opportunity as paintwork is all about the money and delivery. It was hard for me to get started. So, what did I do? Like most people, I started my own little shop because I knew people would support me and bring me work. Once I gained enough experience I shut the shop down and I started working; doing this and that, flying out, getting certified, collecting knowledge. When I was ready to start IKandy, I said, ‘It’s now or never, man. I’m getting too old for this. So, let's roll the dice.’” Now, we do everything, we paint everything. We're painting suspension parts, motors, transmissions, drive lines, inside, underside, bedliner, you name it, we're doing it. We are probably 80/20, 80 being custom 20 being insurance work. Which is the opposite of a typical shop. There's no reward in collision work for me, that’s why I don't like doing it. We’ve done a lot of stuff over the years, we've really got a pretty solid reputation with knocking projects out. We usually bring anywhere from three to five projects a year to SEMA. IKandy is definitely a huge part of the car scene. We all use tools too, not just mechanics. It's good to show people that. We’re getting this place to that point where there's just so much stuff to see, it's eye candy, which is the whole name. You come in here and while you're waiting you have a ton of stuff to look at and say ‘wow.’"
Mike Wilkins - Auto Body Tech
“I’ve grown up around cars. Both my Grandfather and Uncle worked on cars when I was younger. Because I was around it for so long and still enjoyed it, I wanted to continue into this field. Besides working on cars with my family members, I started out as a detailer at a Chevy dealership in Cheyanne, WY. Then I became a body man’s assistant and then a prepper’s assistant. After that, I was a body man at Ford which then led me to own my own business for a while. After owning my own business, I moved to Utah to work at Kindig and stayed there for three years before COVID hit. Unfortunately because of COVID, like many others in the workforce, I had to find a different job. Luckily, someone there had showed me Frank’s page on Instagram and I messaged him asking if he was hiring. Thankfully he was, and that’s how I got this position mainly doing bodywork on cars. Moved to Arizona and started the next day. I just started here at IKandy 2 months ago so my favorite project so far was working on the Coronet at the last shop. My favorite part was doing the driver’s side and the front of the car. It was so fun!”