From an Early Age
I've always been extremely single-minded about cleaning everything and anything, but cars are much sexier than a bathroom floor. Born and raised just outside of New York City, I started a driveway detailing business throughout high school to feed my addiction to fast cars. (I bought a 1989 Mustang LX that I basically slept in I loved it so much) After graduating from the University of Virginia, with a degree in economics, I worked on "Wall Street" (technically the floor of the NY Mercan tile Exchange for a private trader of natural gas commodities...aka "natty-gas") until I nearly lost my mind. I wanted to work with cars, but I thought I had to be what I was supposed to be. Financial guy. Trader tycoon Bud Fox (Charlie Sheen) from the movie Wall Street. The shoe didn't fit. I hated it. I left the "beginnings of a lucrative career" (as I was told when I left) to curate a small automotive museum in downtown NYC (for $12/h) that sold vintage cars and provided prop-cars for movies, television, music videos, and photo shoots around the tri-state area. I was responsible for detailing cars before sale and prepping/driving prop-cars to movie sets throughout NYC.
After 1 year at the museum, I saved up enough money (read: borrowed money from my mom) to build my own carwash in Harrison, NY called the NEW YORK MOTOR CLUB. We catered to sports cars from NYC, Westchester County, and surrounding towns. Soon after that, Matt Farah (long time friend from middle school) and I created a driving club for our carwash customers. The idea was to give fellow car fanatics an excuse to drive cars and hangout. Not a hard sell by any means. We went on long drives in upstate NY, track days, and our infamous "midnight rally's" through Times Square (see the picture me in our orange cobra on the way to NYC. Insanely LOUD). The New York Motor Club became was the first independent driving club centered around a car wash and detailing center.
A few years after opening up the NYMC, I began consulting with chemical manufacturers and small/medium-size blending facilities on the quality of their finished chemicals and what needed to be improved to achieve the best possible detail. After a few years working side by side with chemists, raw material suppliers and blenders, I stepped into the role of lead blender after my mentor retired from the business.
I eventually sold the fixed-based carwash and focused on mobile detailing (during the day) for my exclusive clientele of billionaires, actors, celebrities, athletes, and CEO's, and working in the lab and blending facility at night. (It was easier to mix mass quantities of car wash soaps, spray waxes, degreasers, window cleaners etc...at night with no one around and leave the batches ready for the morning crew to pour into smaller containers before delivering to car washes/ detail shops in the surrounding cities.) As a detailer, I couldn't help but tinker with each formula to squeeze a bit more lubrication or shine or cutting action out of whatever I was mixing at the time. The unique combination of detailer and blender proved invaluable for real world innovation.
After two years of development (and multiple failures), I released my own line of formulas under the name AMMO NYC. These were what I believed would be best for my car and my clients cars. They weren't originally for sale. At the time, I wasn't concerned about the cost of the raws or how long the blend would take to finish, or even if it was profitable. AMMO is my vision for what I believed products should be and how they should make you feel when cleaning your car.
"Your cars' paint is like skin. It has pores like skin. It breathes like skin. it needs to be fed like skin."
In Mid 2012
After selling the detailing shop, Matt went to LA to work on his YouTube career and I worked on my formulas and continued to clean cars with my AMMO mobile detailing van. I reached out to him one day (at the time he was the host of /TUNED on the /DRIVE Channel) and proposed a new show about car detailing. I thought people might want to learn how to detail their cars properly in a fun video or "visual" format. The producer of the channel agreed and I produced a pilot which was successful. I was offered a segment on the DRIVE Channel and agreed to write and produced a new series for car care fanatics called /DRIVE CLEAN. This was the first-ever full-length YouTube series focused exclusively on the paint correction, car care, and how-to car detailing tutorials. Soon after airing on June 9, 2012, /DRIVE CLEAN's first episode quickly became a series favorite with the highest “viewer retention” of any other how-to car care channel. With this success, I signed a three-year contract to write, host, and produce three seasons (21 episodes) of /DRIVE CLEAN before Time Inc. acquired the /DRIVE channel in early 2016.
After a successful first season of /DRIVE CLEAN, I launched my own YouTube Channel AMMO NYC in June of 2012 to focus exclusively on the in-depth intricacies of car detailing. Episodes were geared towards the car fanatics who wanted to get nerdy about chemistry, proper techniques, tips, and see the before and after of restoration details.
In 2014, based on the popularity of /DRIVE CLEAN, I was hired to host TIRE RACKS “Tire Rack Challenge at the Motown Mile” at the Road and Tracks test facility in Detroit. This featured a tire comparison in wet and dry conditions on a timed slalom course, which aired in December on YouTube. My first ever "host" gig. (I nearly puked before the first take because this was a "real gig" and out of my detailing comfort zone, but thankfully it went well.)
Soon thereafter, I was asked to host a Chevrolet car commercial in upstate New York for the release of "all new" Wi-Fi built into the latest line of Chevy vehicles. The commercial aired on YouTube for several weeks to promote the latest technology at the time. It was the first time I felt comfortable (at least one comfortable as one can be with cameras on you) on a film set. It was a lot of fun to see what goes on behind the scenes of a real commercial.
I was contacted by a friend at Autoblog and asked to produced/host two new shows for AUTOBLOG.com. The first was DETAILS, which focused on car care, and the second series was called WRENCHED, which focused on car maintenance tips and tricks. Both series debuted on January 22, 2016 with new episodes airing weekly (and bi-weekly) until 2018 for a total of 86 episodes that remain on Autoblog’s home page today.
In 2018, AMMO NYC products were delivered to 73 countries and I release my fifth all-new innovation AMMO Frothe Hoseless Wash after the original and unique AMMO Hydrate, Brute, Reflex, and BOOST Winter Wash.
AMMO NYC’s Youtube channel reached one million subscribers and has continued to be the #1 educational car care channel on YouTube since its inception in 2012. In October, I purchased a multilevel commercial building as AMMO’s new headquarters and film studio for new YouTube episodes, podcasts, training, and a new product creation lab to continue innovating new car care formulas. By mid 2020, I plan on opening the AMMO Training Academy to further my goal of teaching and inspiring fellow car fanatics. (if you made it this far...Thank you. Seriously.)