When I was 15ish going on 16 all of my best friends were guys. Our conversations often landed on our grand schemes of building race cars in our garages. My dream was a slightly different dream, I planned to open a shop. Something accessible to teenagers like me as well as adults; men and women. Everyone would feel totally comfortable in my shop. My dream of Ashley's Garage has morphed through the years and this is my very abbreviated version of that journey.
Today is far from the days of the Pinto station wagon engine swap I watched my dad do when I was about 6 years old. Right there in the garage on Brent Avenue in Boring, Oregon (that's a town, not a description) PNW Automotive Inc was born.. I just didn't know that yet.
My dad never treated me like I did not have the ability to do whatever he was doing, instead he taught me whatever I asked him to teach me. I was lucky enough to grow up during a time of great social change. In middle school I had home economics available as an elective along with "technology", word perfect typing classes, and "computers". The world really was laid out so I could be whatever I wanted it to be.
20 years of life happened between the days of the Integras, the Del Sol's the Chris's, Cory and Adam. I wonder if Chris C, Cory, Chris N, or Adam ever expected me to realize my dream? I like to think Chris C always had an inkling I would make it happen. From Centennial and Parkrose High School to PNW Automotive Inc, my journey was not a smooth progression or a direct route. You could liken it to the path of the Willamette River. Passion for cars, mods, repairs and challenges flows through me quiet, serene, slowly building with episodes of turbulent life choices with dangerous back eddys, a few falls along the way, and various people touching my life like streams and creeks fueling my love and desire to reach my dream. Ashley's Chop Shop became J&A Automotive which progressed to Apex Automotive NW, and when we had to find a new home because our building was being demolished and redeveloped PNW Automotive Inc was born.
We built PNW Automotive Inc to be approachable. Our goal was to be somewhere everyone and everything would have a place, from homemade projects to well funded custom fabbed projects to basic maintenance. The plan was and always will be to have the ability to do it all, and to do it well. We strive to be a friendly, family owned automotive shop specializing in anything challenging with a passion for transmission overhauls and performance transmissions.
While I will always enjoy the humorous simplicity of an 89 Tempo, the beginnings of adaptive timing adjustments in a 94 civic(if you think about it, Honda's Vtech was the gateway to today's variable timing actuators), and the sexy brute strength of just about any 60s-70s muscle car, it is undeniable the team at PNW thrives on the challenges presented by Euros, Hybrids, and the latest advances in engineering.
We have a strange love/hate/love/hate-hate thing for Land Rovers, BMWs, Saabs, VWs, and Audis. While the complexity of can bus systems - (who doesn't love a malfunctioning twice module) or the variations in how a manufacturer advances or retards your timing is enjoyable to master and conquer; we absolutely love the unique longevity a Cummins provides and the robust Duramax design, and the clattering rattle of a Power Stroke humming to life. Despite this, our true love is transmission overhaul, go figure?
The beauty of the partnership Jeremy and I share is a true love for engineering, a respect for ingenuity, and a passion for knowledge. It makes it difficult to chose a favorite!
PNW Automotive Inc is my dream come true, and I can't wait to share it with you. I am delighted to share my story with you.