AP Vintage Motors - Celebrating 2 Years

in Stateville News

August 2, 2020

On the very edge of the Downtown Statesville landscape rests a place any automotive enthusiast would die to see. Scenes of vintage vehicles with shiny coats of paint and unique designs are available to all who visit AP Vintage Motors. Very few could have predicted how one man’s search for doughnuts culminated in an exotic car dealership with international renown.

In August of 2018 a grand opening was held for a business known as AP Vintage Motors. Owner, Alex Prinster, was in Iredell County restoring a log cabin on Lake Norman when he suddenly had a hankering for doughnuts. Prinster made his way to Downtown Statesville when he came across a building for sale with a rich history that caught his eye.

“I saw the building for sale and I fell in love,” Prinster said. “The barrel roof caught my attention. The architecture for me was really interesting as well as the history. This particular spot downtown has a ton of automotive history.”

The building in which the business is housed was one of the first body shops in the area. Next door was a dealership at one point also. If one were to visit AP Vintage Motors they would notice historic photographs in different places that pay homage to the history of Statesville.

Prinster’s business partner, Matt Trubowicz, also moved to Statesville from Denver, Colorado after the purchase of the old body shop. Prinster and Trubowicz have been close friends for over 20 years. One day, Prinster gave Trubowicz a call and convinced him to move across the country to pursue a new business venture.

Trubowicz added, “He called me to tell me about this opportunity and I thought it was a good time for change. Everything here is great, except the humidity. I love the location we are in because we are off the beaten path, and people travel to come to us because they want to experience small town Americana.”

AP Vintage Motors is a dealership that is licensed and bonded by the state of North Carolina, but they are no ordinary automotive dealer. Their stock fluctuates based on the sellers that come to them, however they have sold cars such as a 1970 Chevrolet Chevelle with a 454 V8, a 1935 Ford truck with a fuel injected V8, and a fully restored GMC Jimmy with a V8. It is important to note that each vehicle in stock is closely inspected for quality control.

“We are in the business of wants not needs. The cars that we sell are incredible investments. Our cars are specialty items. No two are alike. Our clients have specific needs because they are looking for rarity in their purchase,” Trubowicz included.

When I asked Prinster what he thought the appeal of a vintage car was he responded, “Most people have an emotional heart string for a certain vehicle. They have a relationship with it. If you grew up working on a specific car with your Dad, for example, you’re going to have an emotional connection with it.” Prinster also explained that as time goes on more cars are becoming vintage. A 1995 model at this point in time would technically be considered vintage. The cars at the dealership aren’t the only things unique about AP Vintage Motors. The car buying process is much different than the traditional dealership experience. Sellers reach out to the dealership to assist them in selling their rare items. Once a contract is signed, employees work extremely hard to take around 70 studio quality photographs of the vehicle that will be used to create a digital listing.

“We use a ton of online marketing,” Prinster shared. “The majority of purchases happen sight unseen over the phone. When a car is purchased we take care of the shipping and when it arrives to the buyer it comes with driving instructions as well due to the fact that vintage cars can be quite difficult to drive.”

One would think that the vintage muscle cars would be the most popular cars on the lot but things are changing. The camper and bus market is currently skyrocketing. Both Prinster and Trubowicz explained that their favorite car they’ve ever had on their lot is Volkswagen Superbugger which in essence is a Volkswagen Bug with a camper that sleeps 6 built directly on top. “We’ve had people call from all over to ask if we really have one on the lot because they are that rare,” Trubowicz said. “People also travel to stop by and look at it in person.” 

When AP Vintage motors was opened back in 2018 a huge rehab was done to revamp the historical space, and in the future exciting things will be taking place on the lot. In order to bring the green movement to Statesville, the dealership will be building a new office space using metal storage containers imported from South Carolina. The new structure will include teak floors that are original to the storage containers. Based on the architectural drawings, the space is going to look pretty killer. “It’s been awesome to bring the space back to its former glory in a new way. I fell in love with the architecture of the building when I first laid eyes on it, and I can’t wait to restore the vibrancy of it all,” Prinster concluded.
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