[OUR BREAD AND BUTTER] Hi-Tech Automotive: 30 Years of a Fine-Tuned Business
Hi-Tech Automotive’s business was good. Too good, actually. Vintage Porsche models regularly lined Hi-Tech Automotive’s curbside on Hyperion Boulevard because of Koko Bakchajian and his excellent reputation with air-cooled sports cars. It got to the point, he recalled, that his regular Toyota or Volvo owning clients wondered if he still worked on less exotic cars.
Rather than turn anyone away, Bakchajian decided to accommodate his Porsche clientele in a spinoff shop across the street. He named it Mistress as a nod to the affection Porsche owners reserve for their prized cars.
The hugely successful re-organization meant everyone could continue to get the attention and service they appreciated at Hi-Tech Automotive.
“There are days you see a 2014 Prius next to a 1950s Chevy in my shop,” said Bakchajian. “And hipsters come in with old European and American cars. I grew up on those cars. I have one technician who has been with me for 24 years—we enjoy working on them.”
Hi-Tech Automotive’s extremely friendly and helpful staff service 15-18 cars a day in the pristine garage. Bakchajian, as he has done since the business opened 30 years ago, still personally test-drives, inspects and diagnoses each vehicle.
Estimates for repairs offer a choice of original or after-market parts, of which many are kept in stock. Most cars are returned to their owners—cleaned and stocked with a couple of water bottles in their cup holders—the same day.
Clients with time to wait will soon be able to hang out in the retro-cool customer lounge—a 1940s former gas station converted by neighborhood bohemian-modern architect, Barbara Bestor.
“The cleanliness of his shop and the beautiful design aren’t just artifice to charge more money,” said longtime client Susan Mogul. “It’s more an indication of the quality of work he delivers. With Koko, it’s not glitz but who he is as a person and mechanic.”
Bakchajian is constantly improving on his customer’s experience. A computerized tablet check-in system has added efficiency at drop-off and customers can even access their car’s service record from home.
Bakchajian believes a good mechanic is willing to explain what’s going on under the hood.
“With my years of experience, if you tell me a specific car model and how many miles it has, I can pretty much tell you the next thing that’s going to break,” said Bakchajian.
In the near future, clients will be able to sharpen their own know-how when Hi-Tech Automotive begins a series of quarterly clinics on the inner workings of engines.
Hi-Tech Automotive, 4000 Fountain Ave., 323-661-2788, hitechautomotive.com
Posted July 27, 2016 at 6:00 a.m.