What is that one car that you can never, ever get out of your head? You know the type – maybe it’s a car that you didn’t expect to see modified, or a car with those dream wheels you’ve always wanted, or a car with paint so nice that you wonder what kind of wild magic the painter pulled off in the booth.
If you were to picture Hollywood’s version of a watchmaker, you’re likely to imagine a man with skilled hands, tiny tools, and a monocle. I’d also guess that if you were to picture his car, a vintage Mercedes Benz fits into the picture as well; it only seems fitting for the character. What you wouldn’t imagine, though, is that he’d be just 21 years old.
Armand Mariano’s story of automotive enthusiasm begins just as many others: it was his disassembly and reconstruction of his childhood Matchbox cars as a young boy that cemented his interest in being a mechanic. He filled his high school elective classes were filled with shop classes, determined to learn the trade and craft of working on the machines he knew and loved.
For shop owners like Mike Ngo of Eurowise in North Carolina, there are clients that keep the doors open, and clients that make the business worth running. Few shop owners, if any, dream of oil changes and timing belt jobs; instead, it’s jobs like those that keep the bills paid and the techs from starving.