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Seven Days: Vermont Car Blog

February 25, 2009

Quarter Mile Quintin’s

Pete and Tim Quintin are brothers who share a passion for drag racing. The inspiration and camaraderie they find at the race track is also in evidence at their family-owned business, Quintin Brothers Auto & Performance in Williston. I caught up with the two of them last week to talk shop.

Quintin1 BOB KILPATRICK: How long have you guys been working together?
TIM QUINTIN: We’ve been running this business for 10 years. Long before that our dad owned a gas station, when we were kids on North Avenue. He owned that through the ’80s. We all worked there, my mom, everybody.
PETE QUINTIN: We still have the original sign out in the shop.
TQ: Then we went to the dealerships. We both worked at Chrysler-Plymouth and Goss Dodge. We did that for years.

BK: What led you to open Quintin Brothers?

TQ: We drag race. That’s what we do on the weekend. So we always worked on performance cars. We got tired of working on the same stuff everyday and decided we wanted to do something different.
PQ: It ended up we were busier at home than we were at work.

BK: Have you seen positive or negative effects due to  the economic downturn? How is it affecting your business?
PQ: Our regular customers are fixing their daily drivers. The cars they were going to junk or get rid of, they’re putting some money into them and just keeping them. We do have some guys who are taking their money out of stocks, their 401(k), and instead of losing it they’re putting it into classic cars.
TQ: We do everything from regular service, like oil changes and brake jobs, to full restoration. Right now we’re doing a ’70 Challenger and it has all matching numbers [original parts]. We look in the registry to see what’s out there, and that’s one of only 20 registered that’s left. The first thing you do when you find one of these [collectible cars] is register it. It just makes it worth that much more money.

BK: The performance technology in your shop is very diversified. What do you guys do that no one else does?

TQ: We have a chassis-dyno, that’s our big thing. We were the first shop in Vermont to have one. A chassis-dyno is basically a bed with 7000-pound rollers that imitates the street. You get the car up there and strap it down. It’s computerized and tells you horsepower, torque, speed, air-fuel [mixture]. You let the car run and tune it from there. We custom burn our own computer chips. We did it for years by mail and it’s hard, because you get a car up on the dyno and you want to tune it then. If the chip’s not right, you’ve got to wait for the mail to come. We said, we’re just going to do it ourselves. It works much better.

Quintin2 BK: Seeing you guys working together with the younger guys in the shop, and hearing the banter, I’m reminded of [reality TV show] “Orange County Choppers.”
PQ: It could almost be the same thing some days.
TQ: We’ve had more than one customer who has said, “You guys should start a TV show.”
PQ: If you taped them out there, you’d have to censor quite a bit of it, but you’d laugh like hell. My son, Chris, he likes the business, and when he does a job he likes everything perfect. Mike is the guy that marks every bolt he tightens. He double-checks everything. If you give him a job, you are guaranteed that everything is tight.
Brady is our floater. He’s supposed to be here in the office, but he hates to sit here. He’s really smart on the computer, but he wants to get his hands dirty. He used to work at Napa auto parts. They came in here to show us a new program, and I know nothing about computers. As a joke I said, I’m just going to hire him. We all laughed, but a week later we did hire him. He started here, and he was twice as smart as we thought he was. We’ve got programs nobody else has. We can put a supercharger on a Mustang and he’s got the program to start it right up.

BK: How has your relationship evolved over the years?
TQ: We haven’t killed each other yet.
PQ: Our dad sometimes still says, “Do I have to separate you two?” With me and Tim, it’s like we’re married. If we have a problem, we scream at each other and I go off here and he goes out there and we don’t talk to each other for part of the day. And then we’re done and everything’s good again.
TQ: It’s pretty much a family thing we’ve got going on. It works out pretty good.

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Comments

Russ Westfall

I recently bought a Triumph TR4A that Bob Kilpatrick/Former Glory Racing raced at one time. I would like to get in touch with Bob. Could you tell me how I might do that?
Thank Yu for any help you could give me.
Russ Westfall

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