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Ormond Beach Observer Tuesday, Jun. 25, 2013 6 years ago

Under the hood: New specialty auto shop prides itself on hot rods


The owners of the newly opened Top Gun Motorsports, at 265 Ridgewood Ave., plan to paint their building the NAPA signature blue and gold.


Walk in the door of Top Gun Motorsports Inc., which opened earlier this year on the corner of U.S. 1 and Ridgewood Avenue, and you know right away: This is not your typical auto shop.

In the lobby, portraits of Rat Fink, the cartoon character that symbolized the hot rod culture of the 1950s and 1960s, adorn the walls. There's also a variety of cars being worked on in the bays — a 1963 Impala, a 1973 Corvette and a 1963 Thunderbird.

But wait, there's also a 1999 Ford Taurus.

Versatility is the word for this new business, and that's the way owners Christian Rojas, Joey Carini and John Cronin like it. Although they specialize in “street rods” (souped up, modified rides) and high-performance cars, such as Corvettes and Lamborghinis, they also service motorcycles and ordinary cars, as well as do paint jobs.

Most recently, though, the shop became a NAPA-certified auto care center, a designation the owners are so proud of that they plan to paint their building in the NAPA signature blue and gold.

“(NAPA) seeks out shops that they want to certify," Carini said. "They look at the experience and training of the mechanics."

Carini, 46, has 20 years of service and body work experience at local dealerships. Cronin, 48, has specialized in custom painting and high-performance cars for years. Rojas, 46, who works in the body shop area, was featured on the TV show “Unique Whips” (a "whip" is another word for street rod).

Cronin also formerly owned Top Gun Cycle and Street Rods, in Bunnell, but he was seeking a more visible location. When a landlord introduced Cronin and Carini, who were each considering the same building in Ormond, the two knew a good partnership opportunity when they saw it.

For Carini, it’s convenient to have both mechanical repair and body work capabilities at the shop. But the work they do isn't all specialized. All of the mechanics , each with at least 25 years of auto experience, are Automotive Service Excellence certified. 

Currently, the plan is that Carini will handle public relations, while Cronin, in his words, stays "in back, getting dirty."

Call 671-2111.

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