Wow, last weeks story sure brought out the daggers on AMF. All our memories about how this huge company kinda drained some iconic brands in the pleasure fun industry. It got me thinking. Fun stuff, like snow mobiles, Sunfish Sailboats, Golf Carts and even Harley’s, are fun to use in your spare time. And if that thing is a pile of crap. You stop using it, and loose interest.
So is it possible that the darkness of the 1980’s in boats, and other stuff has AMF to blame? Many brands went this way BTW, so it’s not just AMF. But at some point did passion get replaced by spread sheets? GM, AMF, and many companies just crapped the bed with product horror stories.
Here is a snip-it from some of AMF history
Until the mid-1980s, AMF’s range of consumer goods included powered model airplanes, snow skis, lawn and garden equipment, Ben Hogan golf clubs, Voit inflatable balls, exercycles and exercise equipment, Hatteras Yachts, Alcort Sailboats, Nimble bicycles, motorized bicycles, mopeds, and SCUBA gear. For a time, AMF owned Harley-Davidson motorcycles.
Now, I am gonna toss a bone here. I cant imagine engineers and designers were all fired. There was still passion. Maybe, just maybe the stress of mass production caused issues. The extra stuff wanted by consumers was stretching the world of analog design. One could over complicate stuff. Look at a dash on a mid 80’s any car. All that LED crap that broke a week after the warranty was over. Maybe it’s all the first generation problems of new technology. Maybe it was a crap economy.
Maybe, and this is another human leap. But around that time would have been the time Baby Boomers were trying to cash in on stuff. Before retirement. They would have been hitting their 50’s and money can take over from Passion. So sure, sell your company to a company like AMF, cash out, and leave the company with the head ache of trying to pay that off.
Without increasing the cost of the pleasure product, they had to cut corners. Is that possible. One good side effect is that the classic car and classic boat passion became a thing then. From my personal experience, I felt like a used car at that time was far far better and cooler than a new Mustang II or Pinto..
So is this a case of cause and effect. Do we have AMF, GM, and other crap companies to thank for our passion? Is it possible that anything with an AMF logo on it will be cool and collectable because of the iconic crap they made? Collecting is a strange beast for sure.