Anthony A. Martino was born in 1933. He grew up and became a respected technician from Northeast Philadelphia. It was while working at Milt Knapik's ESSO service station on Philadelphia's Roosevelt Boulevard and Devereaux Ave. that Tony Martino launched what would become an entire industry.

Martino saw a big opportunity repairing automatic transmissions so he rented a lift from Knapik's ESSO to do side work including transmission repair. Soon, motorists from around the area recognized Martino's expertise and brought their transmission work to the little ESSO station.

By 1957, with demand for his signature transmission repair service growing, Martino opened his first repair shop three miles from the ESSO station at 133 East Eleanor Avenue in Northeast Philadelphia. He called the shop AAMCO Auto and Truck Repair as he did engine and other minor repairs at the shop, beyond transmissions. At this time, people became aware that the AAMCO acronym stood for Anthony A. Martino Company.