THE SHOP

October '19

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24 THE SHOP OCTOBER 2019 I n 2010, Gary Wylie, owner of K-S Auto Stores in Tonawanda, New York, took on a business that he already knew well with the backing of his wife Julie—because he'd managed that very same business for years. Keith Samrany built an auto parts company beginning in 1968. He launched it all in a 500-square-foot showroom, but that modest start ended up growing into six stores. He later closed the smaller stores to open one superstore, and eventually Wylie came in to run it all. "Keith was a car guy," says Wylie. "I joined his force in 1993 and down the road managed the store for him. He knew I wanted to open a store of my own, so he suggested I take this one over. We put together an agreement for me to buy it from him. Originally it was just parts, but in 2010 we started repair and restoration," which is man- aged by Corey Zientara. A DO-IT-ALL SHOP Today, K-S Auto (www.ksauto.com) offers complete auto restorations, high- performance add-ons and full-service auto repair, including dyno tuning, paint work and parts sales—the latter being the nucleus of Wylie's original shop. "In 2000, we built the building we're in now," he says. "We were a parts store and warehouse distributor—all your big parts we got direct. We stocked a lot of stuff." Today, an increased restoration focus has resulted in Wylie owning almost a dozen restored classic and new muscle cars of his own. It's why his staff of 11 teases him every time a job is finished. ("Well, are you going to buy this one, too?"). But while those projects are fun, Wylie says that K-S Auto's bread and butter remains routine automotive servicing. "Restoration is about 40-50% of our busi- ness," he says. "Performance is another 40-45% and 15% is repairs on those perfor- mance cars and on daily driver vehicles." The complete restoration jobs, he notes, are not necessarily profitable, but serve as great fill-in work. "Restoration takes so long," he explains. "The fastest project we've done took eight months. The average restoration project is one to one-and-a-half years. Some have taken as long as four years." Typically, K-S has a range of engine jobs and horsepower upgrade projects in the shop. Wylie gets especially charged (pun intended) when he speaks of horsepower work. "A typical job is redoing engines and swapping engines in older muscle cars," he says. "I've got three cars in back right now needing engines. Even in the wintertime, they keep bringing them in." Dyno-tuning is another typical job, run by John McGowan. "They want to find out about horsepower possibilities and some want their cars dyno- tuned to get the most power possible. We have a Mustang on the machine now, and a customer did a Coyote Mustang with a Kenne Bell supercharger. He wanted the most horsepower, so we ended up at over 900 hp." TOTAL DEDICATION The completion of a 1964 Impala SS is one of Wylie's most memorable jobs. "The customer purchased it in 1977," he says. "He drove it for a year, but never 24 THE SHOP OCTOBER 2019 Parts, Service & So Much More New York's K-S Auto does it all, from restoration to repair. By Cathie Beck K-S Auto in New York offers complete auto restorations, high-performance add-ons and full-service auto repair, including dyno tuning, paint work and parts sales. The company is outgrow- ing its 10,000-square-foot location, which includes 5,000 square feet devoted to the parts showroom and 5,000 square feet to the shop area.

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