Fixing cars has been an obsession for Steve Hawes since he was a child.
One of his earliest memories is lying on his back, under the couch, with a plastic spanner in his hand.
“I hate to admit it, but I get itchy if I’m not fixing a car,” he says. “I’ve been working for other people for 26 years, but decided it was time to start my own business.”
Steve and his partner Tracey Proffit opened STR Automotive, in Glenmore Drive, Warkworth, this month.
While they specialise in European and classics, especially English and Australian models, the workshop will be working on the full range of cars including project builds.
“I got to like the European models while I was overseas. They can be more complex than say the Japanese models but that makes them interesting.”
Steve spent three years working for a rally company, based in Daventry, Northampton. The job involved building rally cars and then going to the events to keep them running. This meant travel throughout Europe and Scandinavia, as well as the odd trip to Africa, Australia and NZ.
“It was interesting work and fun, and a great way to hone your problem-solving skills.”
Before heading back to NZ, Steve spent a year working for a Porsche specialist in London and six months at a Holden high performance workshop in Brisbane.
He worked in Warkworth for four years before more recently working on the Hibiscus Coast.
Tracey, a former Mahurangi College student who has worked in sales, HR and administration, will be taking care of the front office.
The couple say they want to promote a clean and friendly image, backed up by the latest diagnostic equipment. They have invested in the latest scanner from Snap-on Tools which can interrogate the car’s own computer to read fault codes and live data.
Steve says this can save customers a lot of time and money by pinpointing the fault immediately.
Local Matters Business Directory: STR Automotive