A tribute to John Porter January 17, 1928 — November 20, 2004
My father John Porter was a highly regarded auto mechanic, trained by Ford and certified by the NIASE in every category offerred at the time, which ran the gamut from engines to differentials, air conditioning, charging and electrical systems, front end, induction, exhaust, diesel systems, brakes, manual and automatic transmissions, you name it. If it was a system on a car or truck, he was trained and certified on it. He worked in the industry over 40 years. There was nothing he couldn't fix and I grew up in awe of him. 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. In the summers I would go to work with him, sit on a stool and watch him work. I would get so immersed in what he was doing, to this day I still remember techniques he would use. When I turned 16 and got my driver's license, I worked at the Ford dealer after school as an apprentice in the stall next to my dad. I worked out of his tool box while starting my own tool collection. As a kid growing up I was always hanging out in the family garage at home, pestering my dad with endless questions about the work he was doing. Dad was a patient teacher, and I listened (and I became an expert gasket scraper). As I grew from a kid into a young man, you would find me working on the family lawn mower, my minibike, my dirt bikes, and ultimately my R80/7 which I bought new in late 1977 (and still have today).
After high school I found a way to make fast money as a motorcycle courier in Washington DC. Many of the couriers used BMWs, and I went to work as a contract courier using my R80/7. Courier work is hard on a bike, and routine maintenance and repairs became commonplace. The systems were very automotive like, and I quickly realized I had a talent for repairing BMW motorcycles.
In 1980 I stoppped in at a well known BMW motorcycle parts and service 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 to me because they weren't comfortable working on them. 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 and helping 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, especially in the early years as I fixed bikes, answered phones, did all the unleaded conversions, hired, trained, answered technical questions, and ran around like a crazy person. But it ended up being one of the best decisions I ever made, as I enjoyed the experience of watching one of the nations best dealerships blossom and grow over the next nine years. We had a great crew, and lured some of the nation's best techs including Bud Provin of Vermont who took the head rebuilding work out of my hands as I got too busy as a manager to spend all day in the machine shop. Bud is one of the best and is still at Bob's today, along with many other great technicians I had the pleasure of working with.
In 2000, I think I was having a mid-life crisis, or maybe I was growing tired of the hot and humid summers in the mid-atlantic area. 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've worked as Service Manager for two great dealerships in the area over the last five years, but have decided to return to the hands-on experience of running my own BMW motorcycle business. I moved my father to California and was able to care for him until he passed away in November of 2004. Somehow it seems more true to my calling to employ the gifts handed down to me by my dad, and get out from behind a desk.
My dad taught me many things, but the most important to him in regards to career, was that I always take pride in my work. He was old school. He taught me the importance of attention to detail and how to proudly stamp my name in my work. He always told me that you don't start with the money, that if you do your best work the money part will take care of itself. I do this work because of the passion I have for the product and the pleasure I derive from working on it. The principles and ideals imparted to me by my father are the foundation of my business today. When I work on your BMW or component part, I will employ the skill, integrity, and attention to detail earned through 33 years of BMW motorcycle service, and the lessons handed down to me by the master.
Providing service excellence for your BMW motorcycle! Serving BMW Motorcycles in San Jose, Santa Clara, Sunnyvale, Cupertino, Mountain View, Monterey, Salinas, Watsonville and Santa Cruz. Providing service for BMW Motorcycles in San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Monterey and San Benito Counties. Now supplying Wilbers shocks, Ohlins shocks, Ikon shocks and the GS-911 Fault Code Reader for BMW CAN-bus (CANbus) Motorcycles.
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This page was last modified November 6, 2012
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