About ACE Transmission: Living the American Dream
Marvin Gott launched ACE Transmission in 1981, with the support of his wife Darla. Listen to him recall this inspiring story of success.
A family business
I grew up in this industry. When I was about eight years old, my father had me working at a solvent tank, washing parts for him in a California repair shop.
By 1976, I was living in Springfield, Missouri, working at a local transmission shop, and I had rebuilt thousands of transmissions. I developed an interest in owning my own shop, and the pieces started falling into place.
A friend of mine ran a small car dealership. He would buy vehicles with bad transmissions, and I would fix them – at home, on the side. And my father-in-law knew people at a taxi cab company, so I fixed those at home too.
Entrepreneurs take risks
I sold my Mercury Bobcat for $1,200 to fund my new business venture. I rented a small, dumpy shack and rolled my toolbox in as the only employee. A lot of people told me, “You’ll never make it. You don’t have enough capital.” But I focused on taking good care of the few customers I had.
It was a tough road for the first four or five years. We moved several times to increasingly larger shops every few years. During one of the moves, we took over a former Oldsmobile dealership. I went from having three employees to hiring nine new people in one week. My wife thought I had lost my mind. But we made it work.
Finding a permanent home
In 1993, we bought our current property, with a single building.
We had six vehicle lifts. The shop was divided into two halves, with guys rebuilding transmissions on one side and installing them on the other. It was a tight squeeze, but this property gave us a stable place to serve our growing list of customers.
This is a family-oriented company, and our employees tend to stay for a long time. We have several guys who’ve been here for 25 years. We recently had one guy retire after 38 years.
Growing with the next generation
In 2001, we built a second building on this property. We now have a total of 23 vehicle bays indoors – plus a huge lift outside that can handle large work trucks, buses, and RVs.
We typically have 60 to 80 vehicles on the property! Most of our advertisement is “word of mouth.” It’s the best advertising you can have. If you help people, they will tell everyone.
We also developed a massive facility across town to house our remanufacturing operation. Our transmission reman factory now produces thousands of remanufactured units each year – enough to supply other shops nationwide!
Hard work pays off
ACE Transmission grew from a tiny, one-man shack to become the undisputed #1 transmission repair and remanufacturing company in Southwest Missouri.
It’s been a real journey, and it’s been great. I honestly can’t believe more than 40 years have gone by. It’s been a very good business for us. I really enjoy the work. When we solve someone’s problem, it feels great. And we want all our customers to feel the same way.
We’ve been here for more than 40 years and have a second generation working within this family business. So ACE Transmission will be standing behind our work for years to come.