Car shop has been family affair

Posted on December 13, 2012

Running a car repair shop has been a Snow family tradition since 1962.

This year the family celebrates the 50th anniversary of Snow Auto Repair in Orange.

Dan Snow

Dan Snow has been running Snow Auto Repair in Orange since 2004. The trophies behind him were awarded to Snow’s father, Robert Snow, a racecar driver who opened the car shop in 1962 and passed away from cancer in 1993. (Photo by Nuran Alteir)

Besides technological advances, the shop’s appearance hasn’t changed since it opened. Dusty photographs and racing trophies from the original owner’s racing years line the wood-paneled walls. Checkered flags are hung above.

“We’re going through a major facelift,” said Dan Snow, who runs Snow Auto Repair with his wife, Christy Snow.

Though changes to the shop’s facade are in the works, the principles and work ethic have remained the same all these years, says Snow.

“My father always taught us to not just replace, but to repair,” said Dan Snow, who took over Snow Auto Repair after his father, Robert, died and his mom, Nelda, stepped down. Some car mechanics, he said, replace parts to charge more.

Educating his customers is also a priority, he said.

Dan Snow’s father purchased his first car shop after he resigned from being a firefighter in 1962. Robert Snow eventually established himself as a foreign car mechanic and racecar driver in Orange in 1962. His four sons grew up around the car shop and racetracks.

“We were always a mechanical family,” Dan Snow said. “I grew up with my dad racing and at the shop … (I’ve) been around cars my whole life.”

Dan Snow’s father died of cancer in 1993.

“I wish he was still here. He was the glue that held the whole family together,” said Dan Snow, the youngest of four boys.

His mother, Nelda, took over the business until she stepped down in 2004. It was unclear who would run the business, but she looked to Dan Snow to be the one.

Dan Snow, a self-taught car enthusiast, said he keeps the company moving forward with his wife by working seven days a week and reading up on the latest technology.

Today, Snow Auto Repair works on all types of cars — from foreign to domestic, Ford to Porsche.

“There’s nothing I won’t work on,” Dan Snow said.

When he gets a chance to step away from fixing cars, Dan Snow is on the racetrack with his wife and four kids — following his father’s footsteps.

Originally published in the Orange County Register.

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