K.O. Automotive was first opened in 1976 by Kurt Ortell (K.O.). The shop was located in Mission Viejo off of Obrero Street and was a VW service and repair center. Kurt established a reputation for being an air cooled VW expert. Air cooled VW’s are the old bugs and buses built from the 1950’s until about 1980. After about 8 years Kurt sold the business to his son in law Steve King. Steve started servicing the newer water cooled VW’s. Those would have been Rabbits, Scirrocos, Golfs, Jettas and Vanagons. Since Audis were basically luxury line VWs, Steve also started servicing Audis. K.O. continued to be known as “the shop” that could fix your Volkswagen no matter what the problem was. In 1988, Steve moved K.O. to its current location in the El Toro Auto Center. In 1992, Steve wanted to sell his business, and was looking for an owner who was honest and could take good care of customers. He selected Tony Padron, who bought the business from Steve in July of 1992. Tony’s expertise at that point was primarily Domestic and Japanese autos which meant that it was a great complement to the existing shop expertise of VW and Audi.
In 2006. Tony’s K.O. merged with neighboring shop American Automotive, owned by Scott Kim. American Auto had been around since 1988 and had had 2 previous owners. The new shop has been known as KO American Automotive, and is transitioning to remove “American” out of the name, because even though it is an American company, the shop services Domestic, Asian, and European vehicles.