Tag Archives: ASC


By: CHRISTOPHER A. SAWYER on September 2008
Original Article: AUTOMOTIVE DESIGN & PRODUCTION, VOL. 120 ISSUE 9, P18-19. 2P.

The CEO of ASC and Saleen sees this time of higher gas prices and tighter emissions regulations as the perfect opportunity for domestic automakers to grab the imagination of the next generation by increasing their reliance on niche manufacturers.

One of the last times that I saw Chris Theodore-the newly named CEO of American Specialty Cars (Southgate, MI; www.ascglobal.com) and Saleen, Inc. (Troy, MI; www.saleen.com)-was in 2003, before he retired from Ford. The setting was a media introduction of the 2005 Ford Five Hundred and Freestyle (now Taurus and Taurus X). Showing a fellow journalist the capacious rear compartment of Ford’s new premium sedan, Theodore exhibited remarkable restraint when said journalist blurted out: “Wow! This’ll make a great taxi cab!” But Theodore’s mind was on his next project-and, as it turned out, his last at Ford-the Ford GT, a car that never could be mistaken for a taxi cab. Though insiders say Theodore’s 2004 departure from Ford was driven by internal political intrigue, it’s a subject which he sidesteps easily. “I tried retirement for about 10 months,” he says, “did-and still do-some teaching at the University of Detroit, and played with my toys, but I’ve been a car nut since I was four. I couldn’t just sit still.” Offers from various suppliers were considered, but Theodore-an avowed “total car guy with a heavy emphasis on powertrains”-didn’t want to take a position just so he could keep his hand in. If he was to come out of retirement, it would take an opportunity that would give him a chance to express his creativity, something that working for a commodity supplier wouldn’t accomplish.

“The OEMs are going to be focused on meeting a set of fuel economy standards that probably will be relaxed when it’s too late,” he says. This is causing a major refocusing of cycle plans, and forcing automakers to redirect their performance efforts toward more mainstream concerns. “This creates a tremendous opportunity for us,” he says, especially with the next generation of car buyers. Describing car lust as “an anthropological thing that goes in cycles,” Theodore believes domestic automakers have an unequalled opportunity to connect with the Millennial generation as traditional youth-oriented brands like Honda have “aged with the people they attracted to their fold in the first place.” What will appeal to this new generation of buyers is uncertain, but developing products like the Sky Slider roof and going directly to the consumer for their reaction, he says, is both faster and less expensive than following an OEM’s normal approval process. It also is less risky as it is easier for a supplier to react to changes in demand or introduce new products based on customer feedback.

Despite the fact that the Saleen facility is a former AMT model factory-“We had all these tiny rubber tires coming down from the rafters when we remodeled the place!”-with the only low-volume paint facility in North America (the Dodge Viper’s body panels are painted there), an engine shop, a supercharger shop, and a fabrication and composites shop, the four-year-old that still lives inside the man still has dreams of building his own car-“No true car guy goes through his life without having that fantasy.”-a dream that is closer with his ascension to the CEO’s slot at both ASC and Saleen. Will it be the Saleen S5S Raptor, a mid-engined sports car in the mold of Ford’s GT, or something less predictable? “Before I left Ford,” he recounts, “I wanted to do a new version of the Mustang I concept car of the early 1960s.” His preliminary layouts showed a turbocharged version of the Escape Hybrid powertrain situated transversely behind the driver and passenger, and side-mounted radiators like the original. It was an ethical sports car, he says, and one in tune with the desires of younger buyers. “After all,” he intones, “no matter how ‘green’ anyone purports to be, they just want to have fun.”


July 1, 2008 — PLYMOUTH, Mich. —

Gibbs Technologies has awarded a $1-million, six-month manufacturing development contract to Saleen Inc. to support the launch of the company’s high-speed amphibious vehicles in North America.

Manufacturing design and engineering work for the Gibbs program will take place at Saleen’s development center at 1225 East Maple Road in Troy, Mich., according to Gibbs President and CEO Neil Jenkins.

Gibbs plans to introduce two high-speed amphibious (HSA) vehicles in the United States in late 2009 and early 2010 – a sporty car and an all-terrain vehicle.

The Gibbs Aquada is a vehicle that combines the handling of a sports car with an ability to travel up to 40 miles per hour (mph) or more on water and 110 mph on land. The company’s all-terrain vehicle achieves speeds of up to 40 mph on both land and water.

Jenkins said Saleen also will be incorporating several new features into the design of the Gibbs Aquada.

“Saleen is ideally suited to help Gibbs Technologies launch its high-speed amphibians,” Jenkins said. “The company is well-known for its proven ability to design, engineer and produce unique, high-performance vehicles.”

Saleen’s General Manager Bryan Chambers added, “A successful high-speed amphibian has been the dream of entrepreneurs, automotive engineers and car makers for more than a century. Gibbs has met the challenge with its amphibious-vehicle technology and we’re pleased to be partnering with them in the realization of that dream.”

Gibbs Technologies has operated from a temporary headquarters facility in Plymouth, Mich., for the past eight months. Jenkins said the company plans to announce the location of a North American research-and-development center and corporate headquarters in July.

Gibbs also expects to fill 30 engineering, purchasing, marketing and administrative positions for its North American operations before the end of the year.

The company is the world’s leading developer of HSA vehicles for consumer, commercial and military use. Additional information about Gibbs, its technology and amphibians is available on the Internet at www.gibbstech.com.

Since its inception in 1984, Saleen Inc. has produced more than 12,000 complete, EPA-certified vehicles — more than any other specialty automobile manufacturer. The company also has supplied equipment for more than 600,000 vehicles worldwide. Saleen has a manufacturing facility in Troy, Mich., and offices in Irvine, California. Additional information is available at www.saleen.com.

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By: JOSEPH SZCZESNY on May 13, 2008
Original Article: EDMUNDS.COM

TROY, Michigan — Behind the introduction of the Saleen S5S Raptor at the New York International Auto Show in March is the story of a corporate reorganization that blends two companies previously struggling on their own.

The new Saleen Inc. combines Motor City grit of the former ASC and the California glamour of the former Saleen operations in finely calibrated balance, said Paul Wilbur, CEO of the new Saleen.

Wilbur told AutoObserver that the Raptor is the first project in which both sides of the house have contributed. It combined the efforts of Saleen engineering and ASC’s creative team, which usually labors in anonymity for big clients such as General Motors.

About half of the company’s $180 million to $200 million in revenue comes from the specialty car business nurtured by Saleen; the other half comes from making convertible tops for Toyota, Chrysler, General Motors and Mitsubishi, business developed by ASC.

Hancock Park Associates, a Los Angles-based private equity basically created the new company when it first bought out founder Steve Saleen’s remaining interest in Saleen itself and then picked key ASC assets in bankruptcy court, said Wilbur, an executive at ASC prior to the reorganization in the summer of 2007.

ASC, or American Specialty Cars Inc., which was based in Southgate, Mich., and traces its roots back to the old American Sunroof Co. founded in the 1960s. Businessman and racecar driver Steve Saleen founded the original Saleen Inc., in Irvine, Calif., in 1984 to build what he described as an American super car.

Specialty Cars for Big Automakers

Chris Theodore, a former Chrysler and Ford executive credited with being the father of Ford’s GT, serves as the combined company’s chief technical officer. He said the Raptor, with its aluminum space frame, sleek design and 650-horsepower engine designed to run on cellulosic ethanol and with a price tag of about $185,000 is a glimpse of things to come from Saleen.

Theodore said the reorganized company is already in discussions with big carmakers, looking to add some specialty cars spice to their product lines. “There is a lot of interest,” he said.

Design and engineering of concept cars like the Raptor, which Theodore and Wilbur estimate Saleen could build in about two years once financing and business case are approved, is only part of the company’s story.

Wilbur said Saleen has concentrated its vehicle-making operations just outside of Detroit. “Our (Michigan) facility has one of the most sophisticated low-volume, paint facilities in North America. When you combine that with the phenomenal automotive talent pool that is available in Michigan, it’s a natural step,” Wilbur said.

The paint system, the heart of the Michigan operation, was installed earlier in the decade when Saleen had a contract to paint Ford GTs before they went back to Ford for final assembly. Since last fall, the system in the Troy, Mich., plant has also painted the Dodge Viper for Chrysler, Theodore said.

Building a New Saleen Brand

Marques McCammon, Saleen’s marketing chief who came from Chrysler’s performance SRT group, said his mission is to take the Saleen brand into a new era, following the departure of the company’s founder in the spring of 2007. Under Saleen, the company had produced more than 12,000 vehicles, including the S7, as well as the S281 Mustang, S331 Sport Truck and Saleen/Parnelli Jones limited-edition Mustang. A limited edition Dan Gurney Mustang is also in the works.

The new company already is taking orders for the Sterling Edition Mustang, which creates from a stock Mustang “a completely different car,” as McCammon describes with a 620-horsepower engine, new suspension, steering gear and transmission. The buyer receives a company-paid trip and guided tour of the plant that builds the $100,000 car, dinner with company executives, a photo album, letter of authenticity and a serialized car cover. “We are a vehicle manufacturer, but we take it to the next level,” McCammon said.

Steve Saleen Moves On

Meantime, Steve Saleen recently founded a new company in Southern California, SMS, as a niche manufacturer of lifestyle ultra-high performance vehicles, technical performance parts, lifestyle accessories and apparel. Just this week the new company introduced the first in a line of Signature Series ultra-high performance vehicles, the SMS 570 Challenger and SMS 570X Challenger. The street legal cars are based on the 2009 Dodge Challenger R/T with a 5.7-liter Hemi engine rated at 500 or 700 horsepower. Steve Saleen signs the limited edition cars.

[Source: Edmunds.com]


By: BOB GRITZINGER on March 24, 2008
Original Article: AUTOWEEK, VOL. 58 ISSUE 12

This Week Bird Of Prey

If the new guys running the shop at Saleen are worth their salt, an ethanol-powered Saleen race car will be tearing up the streets of America and the circuits of the American Le Mans Series in a few years.

At the New York auto show, Saleen is showing the S5S Raptor, a conceptual vision of an all-new, all-American sports car that its makers say will rival European exotics such as the Ferrari F430.

Comparable in size to the F430, the S5S Raptor packs a hand-built Saleen 5.0-liter supercharged (hence “S5S”) three-valve V8 producing 650 hp at 6300 rpm and 630 lb-ft of torque at 4400 rpm, running on E85 ethanol. Why E85? Maybe because it’s the official fuel of the ALMS starting this season and the Saleen folks expect the Raptor to be in the thick of GT-class competition in the not-too-distant future. Or maybe just because ethanol produces a 5 percent horsepower boost over the same V8 fueled by gasoline.

Either way, the S5S opens a whole new chapter in the Saleen story, one that draws on the company’s racing roots — exemplified by the Saleen S7R — combined with a breath of fresh air from new ownership and new top management.

Gone from the front office is company founder and namesake Steve Saleen, who resigned in mid-2007, about three and a half years after his company was purchased by investment firm Hancock Park Associates. After adding Michigan-based American Specialty Cars to the portfolio in 2007, HPA merged the two specialty manufacturers. Saleen is now managed by a group of executives, some of whom have responsibilities in both companies, including Saleen and ASC president and CEO Paul Wilbur, Saleen and ASC vice chairman and chief technical officer Chris Theodore and Saleen general manager Marques McCammon.

“What we’re putting together is an all-American supercar company,” says Wilbur.

The first Saleen product under new management, revealed in January but also on display at the New York show, is the 25th Anniversary Sterling Edition Ford Mustang S302E (This Week, Jan. 28). The company will build just 25 of the $100,000 specials, with deliveries beginning this month. But that car and the Dan Gurney Signature Edition Mustang, also premiering at New York (see above), are just more trick ponies in a long line of similar specialty models from Saleen.

By contrast, the S5S Raptor represents a ground-up vision for an all-new exotic car from Saleen — not as exotic as the $650,000 S7, to be sure, but equally intriguing as a new model that could reestablish Saleen as America’s best supercar maker. Built on an aluminum chassis with composite body panels, the two-seat, mid-engined S5S Raptor would boast a more people-friendly cabin than the S7 and still be able to achieve speeds of more than 200 mph, 0 to 60 mph in 3.2 seconds and 10.9-second quarter-mile runs.

“Although this is primarily a street vehicle,” Wilbur says, “its dynamic capabilities will not be compromised.”

Workers at the Saleen shop in the Detroit suburb of Troy, Michigan, are no strangers to supercars and near ones. The plant paints body panels and provides subassembly for the Dodge Viper and previously was the subassembly and paint shop for Ford’s GT. So if the S5S Raptor gets the green light, the boys in Troy will be ready to rock on the project in no time. Plans call for building 500 cars a year, starting at $185,000 each.

But hold your horses, says Wilbur, noting that even if the project is approved tomorrow, it would take two years to develop and put the S5S Raptor into production. Whether that production decision comes sooner rather than later will depend quite a bit on response to the S5S Raptor at the New York show and beyond.

“It’s still a concept, but market reaction will be key in determining when and if production starts,” says Wilbur.

BASE PRICE: $185,000
DRIVETRAIN: 5.0-liter, 650-hp, 630-lb-ft supercharged V8; rwd, six-speed manual or sequential manual gearbox
CURB WEIGHT: 3365 lb
0-60 MPH: 3.2 sec (mfr est)

At New York, Saleen also rolled out this Dan Gurney Signature Edition Mustang, with a 465-hp supercharged V8, five-speed manual transmission and all the Gurney extras anyone could want.


New York, NY (March 20, 2008) – ASC, America’s Tier 1 automotive supplier of design and open air /body systems integrations and Saleen, America’s premiere automotive enthusiast brand have come together to deliver two new market-leading innovations wrapped in industry-leading style and performance:

  • ASC’s “InfiniStor” Power Tonneau System, featured on the Saleen S331SC, is sure to attract the attention of truck enthusiasts for its increased functionality and improved aesthetics.
  • ASC’s “SKYVu” Scenic Roof System, featured on the S281SC, is a natural evolution to Saleen’s market leading Scenic Roof, captivating the hearts and minds of coupe owners.

“The marriage of ASC and Saleen represents the perfect combination of performance and new product innovation,” stated Steve Laurain, General Manager of ASC. Marques McCammon, General Manager of Saleen Automotive replied, “ASC has been leading the market with engineered body system integrations for over 40 years and they have the largest independent automotive design organization in the U.S. I can’t think of a better partner for Saleen.”

InfiniStor Power Tonneau system

The new InfiniStor Power Tonneau System, featured on the S331 Supercharged sport truck, is a true innovation in truck accessories and feature content. The key fob actuated power tonneau system provides the consumer the opportunity to access the truck bed from either the cabin or tailgate side of the bed with the push of a button. This allows smaller cargo to be dropped into the bed in much the same way that you would access the trunk of a car or SUV.

For larger cargo, drive the tonneau system from the rear to the front to open the entire bed as the tonneau collapses to a small footprint of just under two feet. With the system in the closed position, Infinistor delivers security for cargo by virtue of the self locking drive system.

“The InfiniStor is designed to provide pick up truck manufacturers with real feature content in the truck bed,” said Laurain. “The system has production vehicle snow loading capacity equivalent to any convertible top in the industry and has been shown to increase fuel economy in some truck applications.”

InfiniStor’s automotive grade coated acrylic fabric top covers are both colorfast and durable as they are made from the same materials that ASC uses on Toyota’s market leading Solara convertible top and the Jeep Liberty “Sky Slider” Roof. The system and all of its components have been thoroughly developed to ensure robust function in hot and cold weather and in clean and dirty environments.

What’s best is that the system will fit nearly any truck bed in the market, can work seamlessly with most bed rail cargo systems, and if need be, can be easily removed from the bed all together when carrying extra large loads.

SKYVu Scenic Roof system

The second punch from the Saleen / ASC duo is the all new “SKYVu” scenic roof system. SKYVu is the ultimate hybrid of a scenic roof and a sunroof with the open air feeling of a convertible. This power roof system replaces the entire roof of the Saleen S281SC with glass allowing the consumer to experience a sun drenched cabin than can only be found in a Scenic Roof equipped Saleen coupe.

Then, at the push of a button, the glass paneled roof lifts open and slides over the vehicle backlight to reveal a roof that is completely open to the SKY.

“In the SKYVu, we have achieved a convertible experience without the weight penalty, and without the compromise of the coupe roofline that usually comes with the convertible,” said Chris Theodore, Chief Technical Officer of Saleen and ASC. “The result is a safer, faster, open air vehicle experience.”

SKYVu leaves the roof rails of the vehicle intact, allowing the vehicle to maintain core coupe structure that leads to chassis rigidity critical to ride and handling performance and does not compromise structural integrity of the vehicle in roll-over scenarios. It is a system based on proven and robust technologies that ASC executives say can be integrated into nearly any production coupe application.

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Business Continues Moving Forward with New Sky Slider Roof System

SOUTHGATE, Mich., Aug. 10 // — After voluntarily filing for chapter 11 protection on May 2, 2007, American Specialty Cars Incorporated (ASC) has sold a majority of its assets to Hancock Park Associates of Los Angeles, Calif.

Hancock Park Associates signed a definitive agreement to purchase ASC’s open air and creative services assets on May 1, 2007. The acquisition was approved by the federal bankruptcy court on June 22, 2007 and was recently finalized.

The transaction represents a strategic addition to Hancock Park Associates’ automotive holdings, as the firm is also the majority investor in Saleen Incorporated, a specialty vehicle manufacturer headquartered in Irvine, Calif. Kevin Listen, a Hancock Park Associates partner, noted the significance of ASC’s expertise in design and body engineering, and his intention to capitalize on the synergies found by connecting ASC to Saleen’s powertrain and chassis capabilities.

Paul Wilbur will remain as President and CEO of ASC. In addition, a majority of the executive team, including Chris Theodore, and a large portion of the hourly and salary staff members will continue moving forward with ASC. Long time ASC executives Steve Laurain and Mark Trostle will lead the Open Air and Creative Services divisions, respectively.

The assets of the remaining ASC divisions not included in the acquisition, now known collectively as St. James Inc., are still under bankruptcy court protection. These assets include the discontinued operations relating to vehicle painting, composites and past-model service business units.

Hancock Park Associates also assumed liabilities under certain supplier contracts that supported ASC’s open air and creative services divisions, and related past invoices are being paid according to protocol established by the bankruptcy court.

Now free from heavy overhead related to the early termination of the Chevrolet SSR and its old paint and composites divisions, ASC has a strong balance sheet that is poised for profitable growth in the open air and creative services businesses. This month, ASC and Jeep will introduce yet another open air innovation to the U.S. market — the new Sky Slider roof. The full open air roof option offers a convertible-like experience in SUVs and Crossovers at an affordable price point. Early dealer orders are strong for this innovative roof system.

ASC is a supplier of highly engineered and designed roof systems, body systems and other specialty-vehicle systems for the world’s automakers. The company was founded in 1965 and is headquartered in Southgate, Mich. For more information, visit http://www.ascglobal.com.



~Saleen Continues Legacy as the “Go-To” Brand for OEM Performance Projects~

IRVINE, CALIF., MAY 14, 2007 – Steve Saleen, founder and vice chairman of the board at Saleen Inc., today announced his official retirement from the company’s executive team. After years of planning, Mr. Saleen will take a greater step back from the company’s day-to-day operations to act as corporate spokesperson and ambassador for the brand.

“I have a vested interest in the company’s future and intend to remain involved,” said Steve Saleen. “I take great pride in knowing I have assembled a team of the most talented and innovative professionals in the industry. Each person at Saleen has helped me achieve my dream and will help to continue my legacy into the next generation of Saleen products and

As founder and a major shareholder in the company, Mr. Saleen will continue to influence product design and development activities, as well as its branding strategies and promotional efforts.

Saleen Inc. has experienced tremendous growth in the past few years, producing nearly 5,000 vehicles in 2006 alone. Future manufacturing plans include multiple vehicle lines of Ford-derived vehicles (Saleen S281, Heritage and S331 Sport Trucks), as well as the S7 Twin Turbo, the world’s fastest production car. After tremendous successes in the design and production of the Ford GT for Ford Motor Company, Saleen Inc. will soon announce new original equipment manufacturer (OEM) programs with both Ford Motor Company and DaimlerChrysler to begin in spring 2007.

“Saleen has become a name synonymous with performance,” said Dan Reiner, chairman of Saleen Inc. “It makes a lot of sense to let Steve take on an auxiliary role to maintain his vision and continue building the world’s greatest performance products. Steve’s many years of hard work have provided a great foundation for the company in the automotive industry, propelling the company beyond Saleen-branded products to become an industry leader in the performance category.”

Since the company’s inception in 1984, Saleen has produced over 12,000 complete and EPA-certified vehicles, more than any other specialty automobile manufacturer. In addition, Saleen has equipped more than 600,000 vehicles worldwide, further emphasizing their capabilities and commitment to excellence.

A nine-time Manufacturers’ Champion in GT sports car racing, Saleen manufactures the American super car — the Saleen S7, as well as the S281 Mustang, S331 Sport Truck and the Saleen/Parnelli Jones Limited Edition Mustang. Saleen’s manufacturing facilities are located in Irvine, California and Troy, Michigan. The Michigan facility has just completed all paint and assembly of the Ford GT as a special project for Ford Motor Company.

Saleen Media Bureau
(949) 597-4900

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By: High Gear Media Staff on May 4, 2007

The company that invented the modern sunroof has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, but company officials argue that the roof is half open, rather than half closed, what with ASC Inc. ready to be sold to the same private investment company that owns the high-performance specialty car manufacturer, Saleen.

ASC, based in the Detroit suburb of Southgate , has petitioned the courts to let it shed sizable assets and restructure debt incurred during its own, abortive push into the production of specialty vehicles. That included the Chevrolet SSR, a high-performance pickup truck ASC produced for several years on behalf of the General Motors division.

Barring a last-minute hitch, ASC expects to emerge from bankruptcy by mid-summer, with its remaining assets being sold to Hancock Park Associates, a private equity investment firm founded in 1986, which now owns Saleen, Inc., of Irvine, Calif.

“It’s terribly frustrating,” ASC President Paul Wilbur said of the bankruptcy, but referring to the impending sale, he told TheCarConnection.com that, “I think there’s a rosier future for this company.”

There’s little doubt that times have been rough for the Detroit supplier, formerly known as American Sunroof Corp. since the death of its founder, Heinz Prechter, in 2001. His widow, Waltraud, sold the firm to Questor Management Co., which shifted focus from sunroofs to low-volume vehicles, like SSR, a decision that also prompted the name change, which is short for American Specialty Cars.

Initially, things looked solid. The move away from sunroofs was no surprise, as they’d become little more than a commodity product, not the premium business Prechter envisioned when the German immigrant started out in Los Angeles , working from a two-car garage.

Detroit makers, as well as their import competitors, had been seeking ways to connect with consumers, and with the U.S. new car market increasingly fragmented, there seemed a tremendous opportunity to produce low-volume, high-margin specialty vehicles, such as the SSR and the Dodge Viper, a sports car for which ASC provided key pieces.

But the specialty niche hasn’t taken off as well as expected, and after an initial surge in sales off the SSR – which Wilbur says “took off hotter than anyone could have expected” – demand cooled quickly, Chevy pulling the plug on production. Compounding the crisis, the Viper’s big V-10 failed to meet government certification, forcing what has so far been a nine-month delay of the sports car.

With lots of ideas but no other immediate projects to replace the SSR and Viper, ASC lost roughly three-quarters of its business. Seeking a way out of the crisis, Wilbur and his senior management team, which includes former Ford Motor Co. product development chief Chris Theodore, began exploring a sale with a number of potential partners.

That included Hancock Park which, said Wilbur, pressed for a bankruptcy before completing a deal. That’s not entirely unusual, these days, added the Michigan executive. “Bankruptcy is becoming a financial strategy when you buy companies. You’re looking at the assets that create customer value and get rid of the assets that don’t make sense.”

In the case of ASC, that means cleaning up a balance sheet showing $31.2 million of total assets and $50.8 million of total liabilities.

ASC has already closed four manufacturing plants, in Livonia, Lansing and Gibraltar, Michigan, as well as in Bowling Green, Ky. , and three more engineering centers, eliminating 1000 jobs in the process. A technical center in Lansing will now be closed, as well.

According to Wilbur, “about 90 percent” of the remaining ASC workforce, approximately 250 employees, will remain on the job if the deal with Hancock Park wins final approval of the bankruptcy judge. Notably, that includes current ASC executives such as Wilbur and Theodore.

Under the law, ASC must still go through a formal auction process, likely to happen in the next 60 days or so. A new bidder could still enter the process, but in legal parlance, it would need to come up with a “better and higher bid.” Not only would it have to come up with more money, but also with a deal that would prove better, in the long run, for ASC, its debtors and employees.

Exactly what will come of the proposed partnership between ASC and Hancock’s Saleen division isn’t clear. The California-based firm produces the S7 supercar, as well as a high-performance version of such mainstream products as the Ford GT. Wilbur suggested there are plans in development which could result in several projects, possibly including both future niche vehicles and aftermarket performance products.

Asked for specifics, he demurred, insisting, “it’s too early to disclose them.”

What’s significant, Wilbur insisted, is that ASC will survive – at least in a slimmed-down form, anyway, once it works its way through the Chapter 11 process.

[Source: High Gear Media]


DETROIT, May 4 /PRNewswire/ — ASC Incorporated announced that Hancock Park Associates, a private-equity firm based in Los Angeles, has signed a definitive purchase agreement for the automotive “open air” roof-systems unit and the automotive design-services unit of ASC from its owner, American Specialty Cars Holdings LLC. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

As a condition of the asset-purchase agreement, the sale of the two ASC units is to be conducted under the provisions of Chapter 11, Section 363, of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code. Accordingly, ASC has filed a voluntary petition for reorganization under Chapter 11 with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Michigan.

American Specialty Cars Holdings believes that a sale in this fashion will ensure an orderly, strategic sale of ASC’s viable open-air and design units and the liquidation and dissolution of ASC’s other, non-productive assets.

As part of the filing, ASC has arranged for debtor-in-possession (DIP) financing from Comerica Bank, which will be used by ASC to fund normal business operations. The company said the steps it is taking will help ensure continuity of supply to its customers, and that it has planned appropriately for these actions and is operating as normal.

About ASC
ASC Incorporated is a supplier of highly engineered roof systems and of design services for the world’s automakers. The company was founded in 1965 and is headquartered in Southgate, Mich. More information can be obtained at http://www.ascglobal.com.

About Hancock Park Associates
Hancock Park Associates is a private equity investment firm founded in 1986 which focuses on small to mid-size businesses in the retail and manufacturing industries and is the principal shareholder in Irvine, California-based Saleen Inc. More information can be obtained at http://www.hpcap.com.

SOURCE: ASC Incorporated