Treating Your Vehicles the Right Way
“I’ve always been a car guy,” Mark Johnson says. “Before I could drive, I would take my bike to the houses of the older guys in my neighborhood and watched as they worked on their cars, fixing them up, to learn as much as I could.”
But a first job at his local Ford car dealership turned the Wilmington native on to the detailing and dealership side of the car world.
“I would see the cars they sent out, how they came back looking so great, and I started doing some of that too,” Mark says. “When I was 21, I started an operation in my parent’s front yard, and very quickly too many cars began coming into our driveway and I had to find a new location.”
The enthusiasm of his early years never wore off. And as time passed, Mark became more and more involved in the industry, attending trade shows and conferences to improve his skill set and learn as much as he could about better products, processes, and equipment.
“I always retained the mindset that I was the best detailer in the world,” Mark says. “And that inspired me to work hard, to drive myself until I excelled as much as I could, to make that a reality.”
As he grew in his skills, Mark and a group of his peers, led by Renny Doyle, formed a grassroots association called The Detail Mafia— a resource for industry professionals to grow and learn. Today it is the most elite detailing group in the world. They travel the country to detail private car collections of exotic and exclusive vehicles, some costing in the multi-million dollar range. For many, they are required to sign a disclaimer that they won’t divulge what they are working on, or where it is located. They are also the official Air Force One detailing team, executing preservation details for the aircraft housed at the Boeing Museum in Seattle, Washington.
Mark, who was invited to serve on the Board of Directors for the International Detailing Association five years ago, started a detailing and car wash company in Wilmington in 2007. He named it Buff Masters, and it stands in the top-tier of its class as a detailing company to this day. He sold the company two years ago to implement a new enterprise in Myrtle Beach, AutoworX Hand Car Wash and Detail Center, with business partner Mark Blackburn— an extensive classic car collector, and passionate “car guy.”
“Detailing has grown to become as important to car owners as changing the oil in terms of resale value and preserving the longevity of the car,” the 35-year veteran and trailblazer in his industry says. “But just as important to that preservation process is maintaining the vehicle.”
Most people drive their car through a local car wash for a pick-me-up, but don’t realize the damage they’re incurring, as the process creates micro-scratches on the car.
“I spent a lot of time creating a concept and car wash brand that is pretty phenomenal,” he says. “I figured out the best products, chemicals, and microfibers to use, and put together a hand-wash system based on an old fashioned model, to provide a quality wash that is safe for the finish of your vehicle that is also efficient and economical.”
AutoworX has a myriad of wash packages ranging from $17-$42, and options for your interior, including detailing; they can also clean your boat.
“When you pull into AutoworX, you’ll first be greeted by someone who will help you determine the best service for you depending on your needs,” Mark says.
Then exit your vehicle to rest in the confines of their comfy lobby while they do the rest. Within 20-30 minutes, their team will vacuum the interior; clean windows, the dashboard, tires and wheels; and hand-wash and dry the car. This, a basic car wash, is available for $20. No machines ever touch the car. And for soft-top convertibles, they use low-pressure rinses to prevent fraying of the fabric.
“With this concept, we can produce a higher-quality and safe wash at roughly the same price point and turn-around time as a general car wash,” Mark says. “And everything is personal service. People are blown away by the concept.”
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