Born in Lake County, Illinois and educated in schools in Illinois. His first automobile interest came when he secured a Hudson Dealership in Chicago shortly after graduation in 1911. Since those were the days you just had demonstrators and sold them, he managed to sell the Hudson Super 6 from pictures or borrowed a car from a customer to sell and close a deal. He borrowed money from First National Bank to go to Detroit, pay for the automobile and drive it back to Waukegan to deliver it to a customer.
In 1914, he was a salesman for Thomas j. Hay, Inc., a Chandler agency. In 1917, joined Aviation Section of the Signal Corps as a Cadet, earned his wings and became a pilot and instructor in the Air Force returning after the war to Thomas j. Hay Company.
By 1923, he was Manager of Thomas j. Hay until 1926 when he joined E. L. Cord at Auburn Automobile Company; later became sales-manager Duesenberg, Inc., and was involved in the development of the Model J Duesenberg.
The engineering work on the motor and chassis was done by Fred Duesenberg and Ames helped Cord design the automobile fenders, running board, hood, radiators, bumpers, tail lights and other parts. He helped set up specifications of the new car which included the horse-power, steering wheel design, gear shifts, levers, instrument panels and other items.
He became President of the company soon after the first car was introduced.
In 1934, he joined Auburn as Executive Vice President. Instigated the installation of the Cummins Diesel Engine in an Auburn Sedan, a first in an American automobile. Later became Vice President of Cord Corporation, leaving when Cord sold out.
Many other interests include former director of American Airlines; Aviation Corporation; President and Director of LaPorte Corporation; Chicago Electric Manufacturing Company; Director of Oliver Corporation; Chairman of the Board of Electrosnap Corporation: Director of Controls Company of America, King-Seeley Thermos Company; Upper Avenue National Bank of Chicago and Chairman of the Board of Mid America National Bank of Chicago, and many other interests.