My father John Porter was a highly
regarded auto mechanic, trained by Ford
and certified by the NIASE (now called
ASE) in every category offered at the time.
If it was a system on a car or truck, he was
trained and certified in it, including
automatic transmissions which were very
complex even back then. He worked in the
industry over 40 years. He was a humble
man but there wasn’t anything he couldn't
fix and I grew up in awe of his talents. He
was the guy that the other mechanics would
ask for help, and he was always generous
with his time, especially with the younger
guys. As a kid during the summer months I
would occasionally go to work with him and
sit on a stool nearby watching him work.
Oddly enough I never got bored. I would get
so immersed in what he was doing, and to
this day I still remember some of his
techniques. As soon as I was able to drive I
landed a job at the Ford dealership after
school as an apprentice working at the lift
next to my dad. I worked out of his tool box
while starting my own tool collection.
As a kid growing up I spent a lot of time in the family garage at home, often pestering him with endless questions about a car he would
be working on. He was a patient teacher, and I paid attention (and became an expert gasket scraper). As a young man I spent many
hours turning wrenches on the family lawn mower, my minibike, dirt bikes, and ultimately my R80/7 which I bought new in 1978 (and still
After high school I took a job as a motorcycle courier in Washington DC. Many of the couriers used BMW motorcycles, and I put my
R80/7 to work. Courier work is hard on a bike, and routine maintenance and repairs became commonplace. I found the systems on the
/7 were very automotive like, and quickly realized I had a talent for repairing BMW motorcycles.
In 1980 I stopped in at a well known BMW motorcycle business in Washington DC for some parts and noticed a help wanted sign
hanging on the wall. I worked there for three years. In late 1983 I opened my own BMW motorcycle repair business in Maryland known as
Bavarian Motorhaus. I invested heavily in factory special tools and equipment, and worked on countless BMW motorcycles over the next
seven years including gearboxes and final drives that a Maryland dealer would send in because they weren't comfortable working on
them (imagine that for a moment). I also did a fair amount of engine disassembly for Bob's Used Parts.
In late 1990, Bob Henig of Bob's Used Parts approached me about closing my doors to help him open a dealership. It took some
negotiating but I liked Bob's vision and agreed to join forces with him. In early 1991 I moved my service operation in under his roof and
Bob's BMW was born. It was hard work in the early years as I fixed bikes, answered phones, did the mail order bench work, hired and
trained the new guys, and multitasked like mad. But I look back on that experience with gratitude as I was able to watch one of the
nation’s best run dealerships blossom and grow over the next nine years.
In 2000, I may have been having a mid-life crisis and was growing tired of the hot humid summers in the mid-Atlantic area where I was
born and raised. I had always loved California and decided to bite the bullet. It was a tough decision because Bob's was a great place to
work, and my family was in the DC area, but I followed my dream and landed on the central coast of California. I worked as Service
Manager for two very good dealerships in the area but ultimately decided to return to the hands-on experience of running my own
motorcycle business. I moved my father to California and was able to care for him until he passed away in November of 2004.
I learned a lot from Dad. One of the most memorable of his many lessons was
the idea of always taking pride in your work. I know that sounds cliché, but he
was definitely old school and impressed upon me the importance of attention to
detail and how to proudly stamp your name in whatever you do for a living. I do
this work because of the passion I have for the products and the pleasure I
derive from interacting with my customers. The principles and ideals imparted
to me by my father are the foundation of my business today, and we’ve created
a shop culture where these values are shared by every staff member. When we
work on your motorcycle or component part, or provide you with mail order
products, you can count on us to employ the skill, integrity, and attention to detail
handed down to me by the master.