An Untapped Resource - AMA Specifications Sheets

A great example of an AMA Specifications sheet cover. Arrow denotes the submitter - the Chevrolet Engineering Center in 3-11-1957. Who would be a more definitive source!



by Society Staff
Reprint with permission only

No, "AMA", in this case, doesn't stand for American Medical Association, it stands for "Automobile Manufacturers Association". Created in 1934 from a loose association of the US manufacturers, it became a huge voice for the industry both as a lobbyist and as a standards setter. It was instrumental in converting the auto industry into a massive war machine during early WW II. Throughout its life, it had a large impact on how the industry reacted to the public, Congress, and the media.

The most significant example that is well known was its ability to get the manufacturers out of factory sponsored racing in 1957. (If you want to learn more about the AMA, each brand for which we have sheets has a short history of the Association in our Tech Section). You can see an example HERE.

Why is this important? Because as part of its "management" of the industry, from day one in 1934, it required the membership to submit detailed specification sheets on every make and model car they produced. When we say "detailed" we mean detailed. These sheets started out at about 10 pages per vehicle, and in the heyday of the 80s grew to over 50 pages!

Imagine, a detailed look at every vehicle from a specifications point of view from engine specifications to fuses – containing part numbers and the like. And what makes these sheets significant is that they were submitted by the factories, making them a primary source. If you want to argue whether fuel injection and 4-speed transmissions were available for the 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air, these sheets will officially prove or disprove your choice. (Answer, yes, and yes). Confirm it HERE on pages 2A and 12.

Researchers and writers, scholars and enthusiasts can have a definitive bible to end not only arguments but ensure that the facts are straight. It might also put to rest claimed factory delivered options and equipment. Surely factory correspondence and bulletins may contain this information – and some information found here may appear in service manuals and other factory correspondence, but much may no longer exist or may be buried in libraries and archives. Why not use a simple, definitive source?

We know that there are classic and muscle car authentication organizations out there that are totally unaware of these sheets – a definitive tool to assist them in their duty, but one that is shrouded in mystery or largely ignored - because so few have seen the light.

The Society has been aware of these sheets since its inception and have been tracking them down from day one. As of today, we have over 1,100 of these sheets published on our site that you can download any time.

We are adding these sheets monthly and will continue to do so, but our question is – who should be referencing them? If you are an auto writer or researcher, before you put pen to paper on you next project, we urge you to reference these sheets. They are located in our Technical Section HERE, by Brand, under Section 10.5 AMA/MVMA Spec Sheets.


We'd also like to encourage those of you who may have some of these sheets to step forward and offer us a digital copy so we may flesh out our collection (this would also save us the time of scanning and cleaning those that we find, a great help given our limited resources).

Contact us at librarian@ahpsoc.org if you have some sheets to share. Understand that we have some in place that we have yet to load, so don't be surprised if, by chance, we say "we've got that one". Regardless, we'd like to hear from you if you have any.

Thanks

 

 
 

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