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'Krap Kars' won't work the same

You're going to have to give me a minute today.

It's going to take a little longer than usual to warm up the engine; to click on all cylinders, to be spinnin' like a top.

My favorite garage is shutting down.

After 21 years, they're putting up the CLOSED sign for good at Andy's Kar Kare and going fishing. At least one of them is.

It isn't easy to find a good mechanic.

It's even harder to find two.

Blaine "Andy" Andrews and his son, Regan, began working side-by-side in Sugarhouse on Apr. 1, 1982, exactly 21 years ago tomorrow, which is when they will ceremoniously cease operations. In the interim they have changed thousands of brake pads, overhauled hundreds of engines, and said, "You know, it could be your fuel pump" at least three times a week.

They have been a full-service auto repair center in an era of increasing specialization, which happens to be one of the reasons they're shutting down. It isn't easy for an independent these days what with all the 10-year, 100,000-mile dealer warranties and manufacturer-installed computers that are harder to negotiate than Turkish customs.

But to be honest, that's a rather small part of the reason.

A bigger part is that Andy is 76 years old and he'd like to go fishing.

Andy got the idea to spell Kar Kare with a K when he was in Houston in 1979 to see Regan play his first away game as a football player for Brigham Young. They were driving down a street when he saw a garage that said "Kar Kare" and he thought the K's stood out and he said to no one in particular, "If I ever have my own garage, I'm going to call it that."

Three years later he had his own garage, and he called it that.

Brief rundown of the past 21 years: Andy opened the garage . . . Regan went to college . . .Andy suffered an esophagus tear prior to Regan's senior year . . .Regan came to the rescue and kept the garage running through the summer and then continued to help out in the fall and winter as Andy got back to full strength . . .an inseparable father and son became even more inseparable . . .when Regan left BYU he didn't go into coaching football, like he'd planned, but dived full-time into Kar Kare.

It was about this time that my brother, Dee, who lived near the Andrews, said to me, "Hey, I know a good garage," and the rest is invoice history.

But the best part hasn't been the quick service, the emergency repairs, the friendly lifts to work, or even the exceptionally good deals on tires, it's been dropping by a place that was always a combination locker room and barber shop. Andy's wasn't a garage, it was a scene out of a movie. There was the guy who couldn't read and write, but, man, he could sure change oil. There were Andy's stories, as colorful as they were constant. And there were Regan's stock tips — don't ask.

My brother swung by on Friday to check up on the market and see about scheduling a lube and oil change, which was when he learned the news of the imminent closing.

He ran up to Lone Star and got the boys a gift certificate for a couple of steaks.

"Andy & Regan," he wrote, "Thanks for taking such great care of our Krap Kars all these years."

I'd like to second that.

We're going to miss you guys.

And you're going to miss us.

Lee Benson's column runs Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Please send e-mail to and faxes to 801-237-2527.