Matt B Reader
Dec. 7, 2009 10:34 a.m.

Hey guys, Ever since my favorite shop closed (Dr. Hondaa in Tucker), I've had a real frustrating time finding another one that is simultaneously competent, respectful, and communicative. I usually do most of my own basic maintenance and suspension work, but I need a place to deal with work best left to professionals. I'm a fan of independently owned marque specialists over any other type of shop as I believe they usually have better (old school) people than dealerships, with less inclination to replace an entire system, rather than find the actual problem (seems to be a trend lately).

A couple of qualifiers:

  • I own a Honda and a Toyota - either type specialist shop should be sufficient. They are usually willing to work on the other marque. If I can find both types - that's awesome. Toyotechs, despite their reputation, is unfortunately out of the question - hence this thread. However, if there is an excellent "general" shop, they will be considered if the recommendation is strong.

  • We live in Stone Mountain, so I would greatly prefer a shop on the west side of Atlanta. If I lived closer to Balanced Performance Motorsports, I'd use them exclusively, but they're just too far away. I am willing to drive a little though. Getting desperate here.

Thanks to everyone ahead of time for your suggestions! -Matt

oldsaw HalfDork
Dec. 7, 2009 10:49 a.m.
Matt B wrote: Hey guys, Ever since my favorite shop closed (Dr. Hondaa in Tucker), I've had a real frustrating time finding another one that is simultaneously competent, respectful, and communicative. I usually do most of my own basic maintenance and suspension work, but I need a place to deal with work best left to professionals. I'm a fan of independently owned marque specialists over any other type of shop as I believe they usually have better (old school) people than dealerships, with less inclination to replace an entire system, rather than find the actual problem (seems to be a trend lately). A couple of qualifiers: - I own a Honda and a Toyota - either type specialist shop should be sufficient. They are usually willing to work on the other marque. If I can find both types - that's awesome. Toyotechs, despite their reputation, is unfortunately out of the question - hence this thread. However, if there is an excellent "general" shop, they will be considered if the recommendation is strong. - We live in Stone Mountain, so I would greatly prefer a shop on the west side of Atlanta. If I lived closer to Balanced Performance Motorsports, I'd use them exclusively, but they're just too far away. I am willing to drive a little though. Getting desperate here. Thanks to everyone ahead of time for your suggestions! -Matt

Dr. Hondaa is sorely missed. Why did the shop close?

If you live is Stone Mountain, perhaps you really meant to specify a shop on east side of Atlanta?

It's a bit far (as in Loganville), but I can easily recommend Brent Johnson, a certified Honda/Acura tech who also services Toyotas and Mazda. He's honest and his shop-rate is lower than any dealer. Loaner cars are often available when you schedule an appointment.

Check him out:

http://www.carsjohnson.com/

Dec. 7, 2009 2:16 p.m.
oldsaw wrote: Dr. Hondaa is sorely missed. Why did the shop close?

Was this the shop that the customer came back and shot the shop owner over a bill? It was a month or two ago...

Dec. 7, 2009 2:34 p.m.

Wilkinson Auto in Tucker is a decent independent shop - not a specialist, but they do pretty good work and are willing to work on cars that aren't quite put together by the book.

oldsaw HalfDork
Dec. 7, 2009 3:40 p.m.
DukeOfUndersteer wrote:
oldsaw wrote: Dr. Hondaa is sorely missed. Why did the shop close?

Was this the shop that the customer came back and shot the shop owner over a bill? It was a month or two ago...

I'm pretty certain that was a separate incident.

Dr. Hondaa was a Tucker institution, run by a somewhat quirky, but ultra-honest chap named Jim Weed, IIRC.

He was/is very old-school and I mean that in the most respectful way possible. He and some of his staff had backgrounds in maintaining Ferraris, so it was never a surprise to see the occasional 246GTS of 308GTB (or other exotica) in the shop.

If they re-located, I sure like to know where. If they simply closed the doors, it's a loss to consumers who prefer honest, local suppliers who provide better services than most any dealership.

Dec. 7, 2009 3:46 p.m.

If i remember right, it was called European Auto Care, or something like that. Guy was pissed about his bill, came back with a gun and shot the Shop Owner.

http://www.ajc.com/news/dekalb/attorney-don-t-rush-155057.html?cxtype=rss_news_81960

sobe_death New Reader
Dec. 7, 2009 3:50 p.m.

Acuras and Hondas Specialists in Jonesboro if you are willing to drive a little ways. They will only work on the Honda stuff (minus tires/ alignment) but they are by FAR the most honest shop I have ever had dealings with.

oldsaw HalfDork
Dec. 7, 2009 3:51 p.m.
DukeOfUndersteer wrote: If i remember right, it was called European Auto Care, or something like that. Guy was pissed about his bill, came back with a gun and shot the Shop Owner. http://www.ajc.com/news/dekalb/attorney-don-t-rush-155057.html?cxtype=rss_news_81960

You nailed it, Duke!

That shop was less than a mile away from the good Dr.'s garage. European Auto Care always had a lot full of German hardware and had been in business for many, many years.

Matt B Reader
Dec. 7, 2009 4:18 p.m.
oldsaw wrote: Dr. Hondaa is sorely missed. Why did the shop close?

I heard Jim retired. Nothing tragic thankfully. I loved nosing around those old Ferraris. It's cool to hear so many of you are familiar with him (and his staff). Sorely missed indeed.

oldsaw wrote:

If you live is Stone Mountain, perhaps you really meant to specify a shop on east side of Atlanta?

Doh! You're right. I grew up on the west side, so it must have slipped.

Thanks for the recommendations so far! Keep 'em coming if ya go 'em.

Especially if you know anyone who is familiar with the 4AGE or old Toyotas in general. Probably should have included that in my original post. Getting work done on the Integra hasn't been too hard, but getting "good" work done on my 86 AW11 has been an exercise in anger management.

oldsaw HalfDork
Dec. 7, 2009 4:49 p.m.
Matt B wrote:
oldsaw wrote: Dr. Hondaa is sorely missed. Why did the shop close?

I heard Jim retired. Nothing tragic thankfully. I loved nosing around those old Ferraris. It's cool to hear so many of you are familiar with him (and his staff). Sorely missed indeed.

oldsaw wrote:

If you live is Stone Mountain, perhaps you really meant to specify a shop on east side of Atlanta?

Doh! You're right. I grew up on the west side, so it must have slipped.

Thanks for the recommendations so far! Keep 'em coming if ya go 'em.

Especially if you know anyone who is familiar with the 4AGE or old Toyotas in general. Probably should have included that in my original post. Getting work done on the Integra hasn't been too hard, but getting "good" work done on my 86 AW11 has been an exercise in anger management.

It's great to know that Jim willfully retired; he worked hard to reach that goal and totally deserves it.

I'm not sure about Brent's familiarity with old Toyotas, but I'd certainly recommend giving him a call and asking a few pertinent questions.

He's more or less abandoned doing "performance" work, but he's is a damn good (and honest) wrench. He has raced (local oval stuff) and his office is as much a trophy room as it is a space to work with customers. FWIW, I even bought my second 1st gen CRX Si from him.

When funds are available, I intend to have him perform some major (and potentially expensive) work on both my current Hondas. I have every confidence the results will be worth the money.

wbjones Reader
Dec. 7, 2009 7:42 p.m.

http://fullservice.opmautosports.com/

cummings,ga

gjz30075 New Reader
Dec. 8, 2009 6:52 a.m.

I"ve been going to Japanese Automotive in Alpharetta for about 13 years and really happy with their work: http://www.japaneseautomotive.com/ Stupid website begins with motor reving so make sure your speakers are turned down, if at work.

poopshovel SuperDork
Dec. 8, 2009 9:07 a.m.
wbjones wrote: http://fullservice.opmautosports.com/ cummings,ga

....or not. And that's all I have to say about that. Oh, and it's "Cumming" GA, btw.

Also OP, dunno if you're familiar Knowledge Performance who shut down a couple years ago, but one of their best techs now works for a place called "Alpha Omega Automotive" in Canton. I've heard really good things about the whole outfit.

wbjones Reader
Dec. 8, 2009 3:55 p.m.

you're right the "s" got in there because of lack of paying attention....

and ya I know some people don't like them, but they do seem to do good work from what I've seen

Dec. 8, 2009 9:46 p.m.
wbjones wrote: you're right the "s" got in there because of lack of paying attention.... and ya I know some people don't like them, but they do seem to do good work from what I've seen

I thought Tom's guys (OPM) had quit working on street cars because the race shop was doing so well?

IIRC, the motor in my old SCCA ITB car was one he built. It was salvaged after Tom Sr. rolled his Mk1 Golf at Roebling, back in the early 90s when Tom was working out of Barry Palmer Auto in Marietta.

Strangely enough, he was one of my instructors for my first Drivers' School at Road Atlanta in 1991. Last time I saw him was about 2003 or so, and he'd brought about five Spec Miatas for customers-and IIRC, an ITS Prelude for Lucho DeCastro (RIP). He was so busy he didn't have much time to talk..and he didn't drive at all that weekend.

Matt B Reader
Dec. 9, 2009 11:58 a.m.
poopshovel wrote: Also OP, dunno if you're familiar Knowledge Performance who shut down a couple years ago, but one of their best techs now works for a place called "Alpha Omega Automotive" in Canton. I've heard really good things about the whole outfit.

Thanks for the heads-up, but I think Canton may be a bit far. If I'm looking at traveling a good distance I'll probably stick with Balanced Performance in Suwanee.

I forgot about OPM, also a little far but interesting. However, if he's busy with racing I don't want to be on the bottom of his to-do list. That seems to have been the problem with the past 2 shops I've been to - and they didn't race.

The Brent guy in Loganville sounds good - not that far from me either. I haven't talked with him yet about the old 'Yota.

Japanese Automotive is probably my second choice so far, mainly due to the extra drive.

Thanks for all the recommendations so far guys! Feel free to keep 'em coming.

wbjones Reader
Dec. 9, 2009 6:46 p.m.

this link is to their full service section.... it's still on the web... don't know if they mean for it to be...

http://fullservice.opmautosports.com/

Dec. 9, 2009 8:05 p.m.

there is Balanced Performance and Battleground, those are pretty good shops. I tried to get a job with OPM and they just laughed at me, so just keeping my mouth shut about them...

Matt B Reader
Dec. 10, 2009 2:49 p.m.

Sounds like OPM have rubbed more than one person the wrong way. I'll take it with a grain of salt of course.

It's funny. I didn't realize how many of you guys were from Atlanta. Good showing!

Dec. 10, 2009 2:50 p.m.

Yup, up in Cumming, work in Buford, make lots of journeys to Alpharetta, Marietta, Kennesaw...

Dec. 10, 2009 9:06 p.m.
Matt B wrote: Sounds like OPM have rubbed more than one person the wrong way. I'll take it with a grain of salt of course.

I was just surprised to hear they were still working on street cars (although like wbjones said, it just might be an un-updated website). Last time I saw them, they were cranking out new Spec Miata chassis like cheap Chinese toys..

Matt B wrote: It's funny. I didn't realize how many of you guys were from Atlanta. Good showing!

Just moved to Acworth, but I've been in Atlanta Metro for about 20yrs. There must be something here that keeps this old beach bum living so far inland..

..oh yeah, I forgot. It's called a job.

That's a joke, of course. I've actually become very fond of the place.

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