THE REBEL MACHINE REGISTRY
All of us old guy original Machine owners know Mickey Ziomkowski started the Registry way back in the nineties - he'll fill in the date himself. I never asked why he did it but I recognized the need for it immediately.
When I bought my first Machine in 1970, my mother who lent me the 6 bucks it cost, wanted to know why I would buy such garish, eyesore of a car.
I told her the car was important. It would someday be a collector car. She told me I wouldn't live long enough to see the day. Get rid of it.
Needless to say, I was right, she was wrong. I still have it.
But the Machine coming from the least popular manufacturer in North America had some unique problems in the muscle car field and biggest amongst them from a sales perspective was the recognition/credibility factor. AMC had none until the Rambler SC/Rambler.
The limited edition concept was not new. It's an old marketing ploy used in many fields of endeavour but in each case it's tied tightly to ART, IMAGE and limited numbers. Not everyone can have one. There has to be an element of exclusivity. If the quality is there, the is a sales gimmick that works. It did for the SC/Rambler.
It didn't work as well for the Machine for a number of reasons, first among them being that the car was underpowered from the dealer. It didn't win at the drags the way the SC/Rambler did.
BUT, The Machine was a better car in every way and when equipped as it should have been equipped was practically unbeatable by similarly equipped competition.
It kicked ass often enough to gain attention from the performance magazines who in turn kept the notion that AMC even made The Machine alive long after the public had forgotten it.
When I reactivated my Machine interest in the early 90s, Machines were an automotive footnote of no repute. But when I spotted a small write up about Mickey and the Registry, in a Muscle Car Review Magazine, I decided to join forces with him and help load up the Registry.
My driving force behind this was that I had a second Machine and it needed a set of stripes. I also knew next to nothing about Machines from a mechanic/engineering point of view and I knew I needed access to that information or my #2 Machine was going to be a bust. (It was anyway for completely different reasons.)
The Hillicks were making stripes in the early 90s but stopped because of technical problems. The ink washed off the stripes and then Brad Hillick died.
When I explored what it would entail to run a set of stripes I quickly discovered that I'd need a lot of other guys all wanting a set before I'd ever get my own. The best way to do that was to help Mickey.
Helping Mickey paid off in other ways besides the stripes. But without the Registry I'd never have been able to find enough guys all wanting a set of stripes at the same time.
Not only that. The stripes weren't cheap and all the participants had to trust me with their money up front and hope like hell I was for real - especially since I was in another country. The Registry was the glue.
I was able to create the very first and still the most durable Rebel Machine T shirts in history. It was hard to believe no one had done any before I did it but that was the case. I sold a hundred t shirts in two days over the phone because we owners had the Registry.
That was a sort of home invasion on my part but I ended up having a great conversation with every customer and made a lot of friendships that I treasure. The T shirts were all delivered by UPS the day before Christmas that year. For free. All over North America.
The Registry itself did something else. It provided a core element that could be discussed by members of the automotive press. It made Rebel Machine ownership into an entity with prestige.
I built on that when for one year I wrote THE INTERNATIONAL REBEL MACHINE NEWSLETTER. I sent all the car mags copies and they in turn passed them around and the Machines got more coverage.
Eventually the newsletter became too big for me to handle. The weight of all those issues was too much for my back.
The values of Machines went up from $8,000 when I started to over $20,000 a year later when the Anderson Rebel sold to Nick Patterson in Alabama.
They've kind of escalated and kept pace with inflation since then but haven't done much since.
That's about to change. It's about to change as I get my sheet metal business rolling and the Machines start getting press in the magazines again with for the first time in decades, new news.
Once again the Registry has to be the glue that makes the sheet metal production viable. This isn't a huge corporation with a huge budget setting up shop. This is you and me doing what until now was impossible.
Publicity is what drives value. Part of that value is still going to be the Rebel Machine Registry.
Which brings me to why so many of you guys haven't registered your Machines.
I get that many of you are shy and retiring and wish that you could live your lives in complete isolation on an island. But you don't.
Having your Machine listed in the Registry helps keep track of the cars internationally.
If your Machine is stolen, you have a chance of getting it back. Everyone in the Registry all over NA would be looking for it and know exactly what they are looking for. That is a big advantage. The car could not move without a real good chance of someone seeing or hearing of it.
It helps for insurance purposes.
It adds prestige to the marque.
It helps add value to our Machines.
It makes it easier to network and help each other.
Registries exist for other types of cars, including the Rambler SC/Rambler, GTOs, Buick GSXs and so on. The fact they exist helps new buyers understand that while they are buying a rare car, there is help available from people with stature in the Registry.
Without the Registry, I'd never have made the stripe kits, so there would be no stripes today. No one but me thought enough Machines existed to be bothered to make stripe kits. Phoenix was over ten years behind me before they started making them and even now they do a half assed job. I hope they keep doing a half assed job. They find me new customers eventually.
No Rebel Machine T shirts would ever have been made. Rebel Machines would be long forgotten by now.
No Rebel Machine belts would ever have been made.
The engine paint issue would never have been fixed. Everyone's engines would be Alamosa Blue instead of Engine Blue.
It takes a certain number of cars of a certain type to grow value. Notoriety helps. Witness Chrysler's muscle cars.
Chrysler guys are becoming more and more interested.
Some of you turn your noses up at them. But most if not all of us had other makes before we had AMCs.
We need new interest, publicity and notoriety to keep the Rebel Machine marque out there and increasing in value.
At some point your Machine will be sold. You won't live forever. Do you want it sold for peanuts or for a fair return on investment?
We have to ensure that we have someone to sell our cars to.
This is critical since the next generation doesn't even want to drive.
Another issue is that there are rust bucket Machines, Rebels and Ambassadors all over North America now waiting for the new parts I can supply. But I don't know where those cars and owners are and they've never heard of me. The Registry can help with this. A Machine doesn't have to be a running car to be in the Registry. All it has to be is a VIN with an owner and contact info.
Putting suppliers and customers together helps us all.
WELCOME TO THE REBEL MACHINE REGISTRY - THE UNLIKELY INTERNATIONAL FELLOWSHIP OF OWNERS THAT HAS NOT ONLY STOOD THE TEST OF TIME, BUT HAS THRIVED THROUGH ADVERSITY LIKE NO OTHER.