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What made Orange great: Need auto repair? Orange has the shops to fix you up

By Mike Louviere

Orange like many small towns had grocery stores in every neighborhood and almost as many auto repair shops and body shops. The small Mom and Pop grocery stores are gone, in their place are the chain stores and the big box stores. Fortunately, there are still individually owned shops where you can get almost any car or passenger truck repaired without having to go to a dealer.

At a local individual’s shop prices are almost always lower, customer service is good, because that is what keeps the shops customers returning, and the same mechanic may have been working on the same car for years.

For 60 years, the shop on Mockingbird in Pinehurst has been in operation. It was started by C.J. Huckaby and carried his name. Now it is Young’s Automotive. Young’s does automotive repair, including alternator and generator work, oil changes and lubrication.

Another shop in Pinehurst, just a street over from Young’s, on Martin Street, is Dean’s Service Department. Dean Perkins served as a mechanic and later service manager for Wickersham Ford. When he left Wickersham and opened his own business, he paid homage to his years in auto service by the name he gave his shop. Dean never advertised, except for an occasional ad. He felt that his name and reputation were enough. The shop did almost any kind of auto repair, except transmission work. Dean even had a large steam cleaner for cleaning the engines. After Dean’s health declined, he sold the shop to his mechanic, Aaron Moody. Moody changed very little about the shop. He still runs it as if Dean was there. Dean’s business practice must be good, the shop has been going about 35 years.

Western Avenue Automotive has been in business for over 39 years. It is located in a unique spot. It is across Stark Alley on the south side of Evergreen Cemetery. Stark Street and Western Avenue intersect on the west of the shop. The shop is located on the former site of a “junk yard” that was operated by a French native named Guillett. There was once a small church on the point where Stark and Western intersect. The shop does general automotive repairs.

Kool Breeze Automotive is located on Western Avenue a couple of miles west of Western Avenue Automotive. It is another shop with a history. It was once the location of one of the Cliff’s 7-11 stores. The old open store layout was ideal for bays for an automotive shop. Kool Breeze advertises that they do everything from oil changes to motor replacements, air conditioning work is their specialty. After Hurricane Rita destroyed the old building, a new modern building was built.

Next to Kool Breeze on Western Avenue is Steve’s Import Auto Repair. Steve’s has been in business since 1975. They do repairs on European cars from BMW to Cooper Minis. They can do anything to a European car that any dealer can do. They use OE or OEM parts. If those are not available, they use the highest quality aftermarket parts available. The business can service and repair any Asian car from Acura to Subaru with the same quality they use on European cars.

Steve’s has the most up to date diagnostic equipment available for diagnosis of problems. They offer a two year, 24,000 mile warranty on all labor and parts and take pride in providing dealer level service at a competitive price.

Heads Up Automotive Machine Shop located on Border Street provides a specialty by doing machine work such as working over cylinder heads, engine balancing, valve jobs, hot tanking, and boring engine blocks. They are the shop mechanics go to for machine work instead of having to send the parts out of town for workovers.

A muffler shop owner once said he was going to have to look for another line of work because the mufflers and exhaust pipes on newer cars lasted so long. Maybe they do, but AA Muffler and Custom Shop on MacArthur Drive is doing fine. They provide replacement and repair of mufflers and exhaust systems and build custom systems using Flowmaster parts. Flowmaster is known as the Exhaust Technology Company.

If your vehicle is having transmission trouble, Baker’s Transmission on Green Avenue has been rebuilding transmissions for 31 years. Baker’s does repairs and rebuilds on automatic and standard transmissions.

For repairs on the body or frame of a car or passenger truck, Orange has body shops to do any repairs, replacement of body parts or frame straightening, doing custom paint jobs and other custom work.

Robert’s Body Shop has been providing quality service by local workers for over 40 years. The shop was started by the late Robert Baca and has been one of the most successful businesses in Orange.

Bob’s Paint and Body Shop, located near the Orange County Airport is another locally owned business. Bob’s has been in business for 43 years.

Orange is fortunate to have these shops and others doing mechanic work owned and staffed by local people. The shops have seen that they need to provide quality work and quality customer service to survive in today’s economy.

Orange may no longer have Mom and Pop selling groceries on street corners, but they have some great businesses to keep cars and truck running so the owners can go to the chain and big box grocery stores.