Karen Baum is a Ford enthusiast that works for American Muscle, one of the largest online aftermarket part sellers for the Ford Mustang. Her enthusiasm on and off-line caught our attention and we wanted to know more about her. Below is our correspondence with Karen.
CF - Can you share with our fans what American Muscle is all about?
KAREN - AM in an online retailer. Founded in early 2003, AmericanMuscle.com is well established as one of the best, most reliable online aftermarket retailers in the business. Catering to the needs of all late-model Mustang owners and enthusiasts, we sell the hottest products at the best prices you can find. Our staff of 140+ offers top-notch customer service, both over the phone and in person at our 115,000+ sq. ft. warehouse located just 45 minutes outside of Philadelphia, PA.
CF - Do you only sell Ford Mustang aftermarket parts? Or do you plan on having parts available for other American muscles like the Charger, Maverick and Camaro?
KAREN - There are other vehicles besides Mustangs???? At the time being we are focused only on Mustangs but you never know what the future may hold.
CF – So what do you do at American Muscle?
KAREN - Team Sales Lead for the Customer Service Department.
CF - How many people are in your Customer Service Department?
KAREN - There are just over 20 customer service reps, and that isn't including the 5 tuning specialists.
CF - Is your Customer Service Department broken down by part category?
KAREN - We have our own tuning department that handles tune related questions. Our reps are crossed trained with bi-weekly training classes on anything from exterior styling to performance mods. Most of our reps are gearheads that graduated from automotive tech schools too.
CF - Does American Muscle do custom tunings in-house?
KAREN - We do offer quality high performance dyno-tested tunes from Bama Custom Tuning which is in house. We do lots of testing on our own vehicles with our in house Dyno.
CF - How many Mustangs do you see daily inside the parking lot of AM? Does everyone drive one?
KAREN - We have the best looking parking lot since it is filled with many Mustangs, lots of employees own at least one. On average there is 12-18 Mustangs and that isn't including the project cars we have. We currently have 9 company cars to cover the generations we sell for. Our latest addition is a 2012 Boss!!
CF - What do you enjoy about your work?
KAREN - I am a Mustangaholic, what is there to not enjoy? I get to work around Mustangs and talk with fellow Mustang enthusiasts all day. Only down side is being around the parts, so much temptation and little take home pay sometimes when I see something I want for my Stangs.
CF - Do you attend many car shows? How many?
KAREN - Way too many as I average 1-2 car shows a week. I do many local events and this year I am attending events such as Mustang Week in Myrtle Beach, SC and the MCA Grand National show in MD.
CF - Are you responsible for organizing car shows?
KAREN - I have helped clubs organize shows in the past. Just last year I took on planning for the American Muscle Mustang Show. I am involved with planning for it this year which will be our 3rd year and is fast becoming a must attend event for Mustang Enthusiasts.
CF - Describe your typical work day at a car show. What is it that you do for AM at these events?
KAREN - Proudly display my Mustang and talk with other Mustang enthusiasts. Sometimes I'll give out promotional items and coupons for purchases.
CF - Can we look forward to an American Muscle booth as this year's SEMA?
KAREN - No booth but we do have a few employees that attend SEMA.
CF - Does American Muscle attend any of the big shows in California like Fabulous Fords Forever or Mustangs at the Queen Mary?
KAREN - Not currently, but you never know in the future.
CF - Does AM do product testing for the aftermarket parts industry?
KAREN - We do lots of our own testing in house. Some aftermarket suppliers have given us parts exclusively to test on our cars before it is released for sale.
CF - Do you get nice perks working for an aftermarket parts retailer?
KAREN - Perks is seeing new product come in. Plus it is nice to have bosses that encourage doing car shows and race events. Discount is nice but again, sometimes I have little take home pay with the temptation I work with.
CF - Do you drive a Cool Ford?
KAREN - I am a Ford girl so I own a few. I once had 8 Mustangs at one time! Currently I have my '05 Explorer for daily driving and the winters do get brutal here in PA. I found Mustangs and snow did not mix well. I also have my '68 High Country Special, '77 Mustang II coupe, 1995 GT convertible, and Nasty 03 GT.
CF - Which among your fleet of Cool Fords is your favorite?
KAREN - Tough questions, I love them all. I guess the one I pride myself over the most is the '03 GT. My personalization has made her quite a unique and rather recognizable Stang in the Mustang community.
CF - What mods have you done?
KAREN - Yikes, keep in mind where I work. Keeping the '95 stock since it is 1 of 36 with Bright Red Leather Interior that is Crystal White. Just has the Cobra R Rims. The '03 has well over 40 mods between performance and styling.
CF - How are you involved with motorsports? Do you race or just enjoy watching it as a sport?
KAREN - I love to race!! I have participated in many racing events such as the NMRA's and racing with the SuperStallions. I also did laps at SAAC events and even had a cameo on the TV Show 'Pass Time'.
CF - How often do you race?
KAREN - As often as I can!! Used to be a bi-weekly thing but life happens so now once a month if I can.
CF - What Cool Fords have you raced in? Which one was your favorite?
KAREN - I have raced many Stangs. In my fleet I have raced the '95 GT which is a lead sled but did it for fun. The '03 is by far my favorite, nothing like the feeling of slamming gears.
CF - If you can bring back a discontinued Ford or variant...which one?
KAREN - The Thunderbird!! It was such a neat car and I loved the last throwback they did. I would love to see another generation come out.