GM Expanding Into Vintage Restoration and Parts

GM has just filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for the trademark “GM Restoration.” It also submitted a logo for the enterprise. No official word has come from the auto giant about its plans. But it looks to be entering the auto restoration business. This could be through vintage parts manufacturing or a factory restoration service like the American Porsche restoration program.

Doesn’t GM already make restoration parts?

1969 GTO
A man cleans a 1969 Pontiac GTO | Getty

GM has had a program in place for years, as do many automakers, to officially sanction aftermarket companies to make reproduction parts. Ford, especially, has been heavily involved in parts approvals. It even lists many vintage components in its own parts catalogs. But his trademark application, for “goods and services”, would indicate something more than an approval program.

Porsche’s restoration facility is in Atlanta, Georgia. Porsche owners can have their vintage cars professionally restored there. Besides the actual services, it also manufacturers vintage components to aid in authentically restoring its sports cars. With GM’s vast array of brands and iconic cars from its past, this could be yet, another way to generate both buzz and bucks.

GM continues to expand into other ventures

1963 Corvette
1963 split-window Corvette | Getty

In recent years, GM has been expanding beyond its manufacturing and new vehicle development capabilities. It currently has GM Defense, to make military-specific vehicles based on its consumer cars and trucks; Brightdrop, its EV delivery truck manufacturing business; and its Cruise autonomous taxi venture. 

A wide-ranging restoration program could facilitate restorations ranging from classics like its V16-powered Cadillacs to early Corvettes, Pontiac GTOs, and even C10 Chevy pickup trucks. We’ve seen its ability to transform vehicles at places like the SEMA Show in Las Vegas, and with some of the cars it has created for Jay Leno. Though these examples are mostly modified cars and trucks, they show the degree to which GM can finish an older vehicle. 

Aren’t there plenty of GM restoration parts manufacturers?

V16 Cadillac
Hood ornament of a 1932 Cadillac V-16 | Getty

While there are many companies that make GM-related restoration parts, the quality of those components, and the degree to which they exactly replicate the original part can vary wildly. There has always been a hit and miss issues of fit, finish, and degree of accuracy. A GM Restoration company could control and guarantee quality and accuracy by GM itself. 

GM Restoration
GM Restoration trademark filing | USPTO

While it is not known what slice of the automotive aftermarket component business is from restoration parts, it has to be in the billions of dollars every year. GM reproduction parts companies like OPG in Seal Beach, California, and Classic Industries in Huntington, Beach, California, have multi-million dollar facilities, stocked with thousands of reproduction parts. That alone would be an indication of the potential revenue stream that would surely interest GM. These are not mom-and-pop small businesses. 

So now we’ll wait to see if GM will reveal its plans. The upcoming Woodward Dream Cruise in Detroit in August, for instance, would be a great time to fill us in on its plans. How about it GM?

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