Sponsored by American Dream Machines.
In the classic movie â€œField of Dreams,â€ the father of Kevin Costnerâ€™s character, after looking over the corn swaying gently in the summertime breeze behind the baseball field, asks, â€œIs this heaven?â€
Muscle car and hot rod enthusiasts undoubtedly ask the same question when they find themselves on the showroom floor at American Dream Machines. In both cases, itâ€™s the same two-word reply Costner uttered in the film: â€œItâ€™s Iowa.â€
Sprawling over 41,000 square feet in Des Moines, Iowa â€“ in a building originally constructed as a Packard dealership â€“ the business focuses mainly on American muscle cars, along with shoebox Chevys, resto-mods and increasingly popular classic trucks and 4x4s.
â€œWe sell cars that people can drive right now,â€ says American Dream Machinesâ€™ founder Doug Klein, who opened the repurposed dealership about a decade ago. â€œIf you want a well-detailed Chevelle, GTO, Charger or Mustang that youâ€™re more interested in driving than scoring 100 points on the show field, weâ€™ve got the cars youâ€™re looking for.â€
Klein spends much of his time searching high and low for cars that fit the sweet spot of affordability for most enthusiasts â€“ vehicles that will sell anywhere from $20,000 to $100,000.
â€œSure, weâ€™ve sold cars below and above that range, but we aim for the heart of the market, with vehicles that are very well presented and show-worthy, but arenâ€™t necessarily nut-and-bolt concours winners,â€ says Klein. â€œThereâ€™s absolutely a market for those cars, but we prefer the cars that people want to use and enjoy. If you go on our Web site, youâ€™ll see the types of cars we sell â€“ and youâ€™ll see weâ€™re not afraid to exercise them to their full potential.â€
Before a car is sold by American Dream Machines, Kleinâ€™s staff of technicians and restoration specialists goes over it with a fine-tooth torque wrench, making sure everything functions as it should â€“ and, more importantly, ensuring the car is structurally sound. For some vehicles, it may involve a relatively straightforward tune up and inspection, while other vehicles will undergo a more serious restoration.
â€œIf the gas gauge doesnâ€™t work, we fix it â€“ or if it needs a paint job, weâ€™ll do that, too,â€ says Klein. â€œIt can be difficult and time-consuming, especially on cars that donâ€™t have a lot of aftermarket restoration support, but we donâ€™t want the cars leaving here with issues for the new owner to deal with. Thatâ€™s especially true with the frame and undercarriage. It has to have a solid foundation.â€
He believes one of the keys to American Dream Machinesâ€™ success is also the carsâ€™ realistic portrayals on their Web site.
â€œWe donâ€™t optimize the images to make the cars look better than they are,â€ he says. â€œWe show them realistically, which our customers appreciate, because most of them make a purchase sight unseen. We strive to make sure the car they lay eyes on for the first time matches what they saw in the online photos.â€
That realistic approach has a lot to do with the storeâ€™s numerous repeat customers and even a few celebrities, including Billy Joel, Kid Rock and numerous other celebrities.
â€œYou can go to an auction and see a car in person, but you donâ€™t always get the opportunity to learn everything about it,â€ says Klein. â€œWith us, youâ€™ll talk to someone who will go over every detail of the car and tell you everything that was done to it. With some auction cars, youâ€™ll never know if the mechanical and electrical details were taken care of. When you buy a car from us, it works.â€
There may not be ghostly ballplayers spending their afterlife playing baseball in a cornfield behind American Dream Machines, but the business fulfills the longings of enthusiasts from every walk of life â€“ just as the ballpark did in the movie. Perhaps itâ€™s not a field of dreams, but definitely a dealership of dreams.
Published Dec 7th, 2015