Have you ever felt your heart sink while watching a Corvette C7.R pass a beloved Porsche 911 RSR at Daytona or LeMans? If so, you might want to blame my brother Marty Mazzara, owner of Hans Auto Electric in Wixom. OK, that might be a bit of an exaggeration, he just builds their alternators.
For sure, Marty also does starters and alternators for all Porsche vehicles, but he has had the special privilege for several years now, to build the alternators for the world class Pratt & Miller Engineering Corvettes and Cadillacs at the top levels of racing.
Pratt & Miller is not the only high profile race engineering firm to use the services of Hans Auto Electric. They also work with RM Motorsports, the Pratt & Miller Restoration and Specialty Vehicles Component, Robinson Racing of Wixom, Detroit Speed of Mooresville, NC, Sterling Performance Racing Engines of Milford and Ilmor Engineering of Plymouth. SEM/PCA Past President Ted Dunham is a frequent visitor as is Jeff Jones of Automotive Techniques.
Hans Auto Electric first opened in 1963 on Plymouth Road in Detroit. As business grew, they relocated to an over-sized building in New Hudson and finally in September, 2012 to their current location on Grand River Avenue in Wixom. The modern and efficient 3000 square foot facility contains all of the high tech equipment needed to make that starter from your old 356 look and run like new.
Marty has worked for Hans Auto Electric for thirty seven years, and has been the owner since 2012. While the business already had a longstanding reputation for quality work and loyal customers, Marty intends to enhance that reputation in the coming years. One change that long-time customers may have already noticed is the black and yellow racing style shirts worn by both management and employees. Marty believes that the uniforms are an outward symbol of the professionalism and attention to detail which customers can expect from everyone within the business.
From small starters for snow plows and golf carts to those used on heavy machinery, Hans Auto Electric does them all. Broadly speaking, they are experts at “rotating electrics.” Anything with a DC motor is fair game. On my recent visit to the shop, there were two monster-sized locomotive starters in for service, as well as a strange, square Rube Goldberg type contraption that turned out to be a combination starter and generator from a 1920 Hudson! The rare piece was in for a show-quality restoration.
Hans Auto Electric also services fire trucks ($3,500 for an alternator), lawn mowers ($60 for a starter) and virtually anything in between. In days past, they also worked on aircraft components – until lawyers advised them against it due to liability concerns. Still, after informing their loyal aircraft customers that they could no longer serve them, an occasional flier or mechanic would show up with an alternator sporting a Lycoming Aircraft tag and claim, with a straight face, that “It’s from my lawn tractor.” Marty’s reply would typically be along the lines of “You must have very high grass.”
In addition to Marty, Hans Auto Electric employs his wife Sue Mazzara to handle the books and record keeping, as well as mechanic Joe Iaquinta, an all-around nice guy, to handle much of the direct labor. Each employee brings their own unique skills, professionalism and friendliness that keep the loyal customers happy. Marty says, “I probably have more friends here than customers. They come back year after year because they know I am honest and do a good job.” On some days, Marty’s pudgy little Chihuahua, “Rocco” can be seen guarding the premises by way of sleeping soundly in his comfy doggy bed.
The auto electric business has changed in noticeable ways over the past few years, and Hans Auto Electric is up for the challenge. Technology has advanced, and the machines used to analyze and repair electrical components have changed as well. Computers, oscilloscopes and other high tech equipment in the shop might be unrecognizable to auto electric technicians from just a few years past. Marty has worked on alternators that require a computer just to turn them on.
The other change affecting the business is the growing influx of cheap foreign parts, mainly from China. The parts are generally of lower quality and the suppliers lack a support system for the customers. When a part breaks, people often just throw it away and start over. Nonetheless, Marty believes that there will always be a need for skilled rebuilders of quality parts.
Interested? Need our services? Give us a call. We look forward to serving you.