Industry veteran Kenneth Boyer enjoyed cruising around San Diego Bay.
SAN DIEGO, Calif. -- Kenneth Boyar, a longtime noted innovative manufacturer of stretch limousines, and CEO of LCW Automotive Corp., San Antonio, Texas, died on Nov. 9. He was 74. A cause of death has not been disclosed.
Known throughout the industry for cutting-edge designs and quality craftsmanship, Boyar started in the automotive business in 1964 at age 23 when he bought a failing body shop, Al’s Collision Works, and turned the business around within two years. Among his many innovations throughout this career, Boyer was the first to manufacturer long doors and the six-inch wider-body Lincoln with a raised roof.
As his business grew — along with his skills and knowledge of the automotive business — Boyar reinvented his company in 1973, changing its name to MacGregor Custom Coach focusing on the customizing business. The McGregor name soon built a reputation for quality custom work.
With the MacGregor name, Boyar developed a reputation for quality custom work, an expertise in high-end paint jobs, and a set of impressive New York A-list clients. By the late 1970s, MacGregor was a leading national installer of sunroofs, a skill that brought the company into Boyar's next formulation as American Pullman.
Already having dabbled in limousines since 1978 and having formed a strong relationship with Classic Coach of Orlando, the two companies in 1982 developed tooling and designs for a new line of stretch limousines, which were then coming into great demand in New York City. American Pullman was soon churning out 36- and 46-inch stretch Oldsmobile, Chevrolet, Cadillac, and Lincoln limousines to the tune of several hundred vehicles per year by the mid-1980s.
During this time, Boyar developed a close relationship with Carlos Allen. American Pullman was building primarily on General Motors chassis, while Allen built on Lincolns, which Boyar sold for him. Allen convinced Boyar to join his operation. Boyar closed American Pullman and opened APC Sales Corp. to market the limousines he and Allen built under Allen Coachworks. He also established a limousine maintenance facility to attend to existing limousines in the New York area (today managed by Boyar's son, Adam). Boyar split his time between New York and Laredo until 1989, when Allen Coachworks was bought out.
Boyar's next move came in 1992 in the form of Laredo Coachworks, now LCW Automotive Corp., which successfully grew into the 1990s. Boyar also carried forth with LCW Automotive his track record for innovation. As before at American Pullman, Boyar today insists on employing OEM materials and standards wherever possible, such as electrical components, body mounts, and drive shafts.
Drawing further from Boyar's experience in frame repair, LCW Automotive has developed a proprietary laser-guided cutting system that ensures the lowest tolerances in chassis stretching in the industry. The net effect is a smoothness which, when combined with LCW Automotive's innovative use of composite insulation materials, makes for a uniquely quiet ride. Appropriately for its Texas location, the company also has developed the most powerful air conditioning system used in production limousines.
Today, LCW Automotive is among the largest builders in the country, although Boyar prefers the descriptive "quality, innovation, and design." Above all, Boyar says as he looks back on his long career, he counts himself most content with "a good life, a good factory, good people," and, as he used to say at American Pullman, "making good cars better."
According to his son, Todd, the COO of LCW, his father enjoyed fishing and cruising in his pontoon boat around the San Diego Bay. Another son Adam is company vice president. Boyar has two other children not involved in the company.
Memorial or funeral service information was not immediately available. For more information, go here.