Recalling my times with Momo

David S.
By David S. Wallens
Mar 19, 2024 | momo, Column, Blog, Automod | Posted in Columns | Never miss an article

Photography by David S. Wallens

College graduation was coming up, and I needed a job–stat. But what?

A journalism degree from the University of Georgia was heading my way, but what did I want to cover? To help make me marketable of sorts, I minored in criminal justice and also took the full slate of photojournalism classes.

But I wanted to cover cars, too. Or, really, do anything with cars. Sell them? Maybe.

So I placed an ad in the Atlanta Region SCCA newsletter: Job wanted and willing to do nearly anything.

I got a call from Brian Hernan, owner and founder of Automod. The company sold race and sports car equipment in metro Atlanta. Did I want to chat? So we did.

I started work the Monday after graduation. I’d work in the warehouse with hopes of becoming a salesperson.

It didn’t involve writing about cars, but I figured it would teach me more about the scene while making introductions. It’d be like grad school, right?

I learned a lot from Brian.

Automod opened in 1972, so the company was 20 years old at this point. Our customer base was pretty varied and welcomed all kinds. At any one time, the parking lot could contain a Jaguar E-type, autocross-prepped Datsun 240Z and a slammed Nissan Maxima.

While it enjoyed busy walk-up service–no installs–it also served as a warehouse distributor for many companies. Brian was very particular about the brands that he carried. For shock absorbers, for example, only Koni. We only carried Weber carburetors, Amco convertible tops and K&N air filters.

When it came to steering wheels, we worked with just two companies: Momo and Nardi. (We also carried Personal, Nardi’s other line.)

Brian instilled the importance of a quality steering wheel and how the right car needed the right wheel. We stocked the full lines, along with the associated hubs and horn buttons. If I close my eyes, I can still picture all those part numbers, too.

I spent two years at Automod, leaving to come here to GRM. I have owned wheels from Momo and Nardi over the years, while a Momo Prototipo can be found in my Miata.

And while on our own site, I just noticed ads from Momo. They say that you can’t go home again, but sometimes you can think about it.

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Comments
David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
3/19/24 2:24 p.m.

I still think of all the cool parts that passed through my hands at Automod–and I could have bought it at cost.

We’re talking Kamei air dams for ’80s Accords, Zender aero parts for VW Rabbits, Momo Benetton wheels and shift knobs. We also had a good supply of NOS Cibié lamps.

Somewhere I have an Opel Amco shift knob. It might be in the garage. I should go look. 

Where’s my time machine?

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
3/19/24 2:27 p.m.

We didn’t do much in wheels–just not our thing–although we could purchase directly from Panasport.

We had a set of these in stock, though. I want to say 15x7 4x100. If I could find that set now: Nardi road wheels by BBS.

Feedyurhed
Feedyurhed UltraDork
3/19/24 2:53 p.m.

I love this kind of thread. Back in college in the 80s I was so crazy for cars I would buy parts/pieces from car catalogs and put them on my desk so when I was studying I could dream about the day that I could actually have a car to put them on. Behold my Bosal Brospeed exhaust tip that sits on my computer desk to this day 40 years later. Brand new, never used. I don't recall using Automod but I used MG Mitten out of California quite a bit. I still have a Momo steering wheel and a set of Konig wheels that I purchased back then and have never used. Mi first car purchased out of school at my first job? A new 1986 Honda CRX Si.  Many others since then. My education worked out well for me.  

 

 

 

 

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
3/19/24 3:08 p.m.

Wow, I remember those tips. 

RadBarchetta
RadBarchetta Reader
3/19/24 3:54 p.m.

LOLing at "Brospeed". That name just says it all, doesn't it?

Woody (Forum Supportum)
Woody (Forum Supportum) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
3/19/24 4:13 p.m.

In reply to David S. Wallens :

I really miss Kamei air dams and rear spoilers. 

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
3/19/24 4:39 p.m.

In reply to Woody (Forum Supportum) :

I’d still kill (well, not really) for a Can Caddy. 

Andy Hollis
Andy Hollis
3/19/24 4:49 p.m.

Both of my CRX's have this wheel...period correct.

Oldboy Speedwell
Oldboy Speedwell Reader
3/19/24 5:07 p.m.

heart

Love it!

 

Hello Kitty horn button is top boss!

 

Memories come flooding back, I remember visiting Automod when location was right off P'tree Industrial.

I bought a good few little knickknacks, and a bunch of copies of Classic & Sports Car magazine that y'all would rip the cover off and sell for $2.

By far the most significant purchase I ever bought at Automod was a special order Personal Dakar, and it turned out to be my favorite steering wheel of all time!

Ran that thing forever too...

...and then I needed another because it got so well worn!

At the time when I decided to buy a new one Automod had relocated to Road Atlanta and the leather Dakar was NLA so I got the alcantara version, but for whatever reason couldn't bring myself to use it so it still sits new-in-box at my storage unit, I need to go look 'n see if the Automod receipt might be tucked inside the box too.

Surprisingly little info online with regards to Automod so articles like this are totally awesome!

Thanks.

chandler
chandler MegaDork
3/19/24 5:21 p.m.
David S. Wallens said:

We didn’t do much in wheels–just not our thing–although we could purchase directly from Panasport.

We had a set of these in stock, though. I want to say 15x7 4x100. If I could find that set now: Nardi road wheels by BBS.

These are what Axe Healey has on his mini.

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