Our goal at Willie’s Automotive is to make your automotive repair experience as easy for you as possible. We offer free local pick up and drop off for repairs and if you want to wait, we offer free WiFi. 24 hr night drop. We stand by our work for 1 year, 12,000 miles (parts AND labor) on most repairs. Through one of our partners, we can offer financing for most repairs regardless of your credit score. Ask us about the details. We even have a tech that loves working on European cars!
It all started out one day when a childhood friend got me a job at a local repair shop/gas station in my hometown. I started sweeping floors at the age of 14 years old in that gas station. I quickly became a thorn in the side of my mentor, who took me under his wing while teaching me invaluable lessons about becoming a responsible person and instilling in me the necessity of building trust as a firm and solid foundation for all of my future relationships. I eventually became one of his top performing auto technicians.
I decided to spread out from a “mom and pop” four bay garage to a large dealership, where I excelled and began looking toward ASE certifications and continuing my education. I continued to work hard at becoming the best auto technician that I could be in the corporate arena. After several years of pursuing excellence in the corporate auto technician world, I decided to move to Connecticut where my career path led me into being a service manager at a busy three bay garage while acting as a diagnostician and performing all aspects of mechanical work. I’ve always been goal oriented and I have always set goals for myself to keep me challenged and to take me as far in the automotive industry as I could go, which lead me right back to corporate auto dealerships and away from repairing cars. I stepped away from auto repair for four years as I learned the customer service end of the automotive spectrum as I accepted a position at another large dealership as a service consultant.
It was in May, 2019, when everything in my world lined up perfectly and at the right time, beginning, as all of my successful and long lasting relationships have begun…with friends. Friends encouraging me, friends giving me information and suggestions, friends referring work to me, friends supporting me. I have been blessed to have a lot of dreams come true in my life by being diligent and working hard, by setting goals, and by building all of my relationships on trust. After 30 years in the automotive business, from my humble beginnings as a floor sweeper to my ultimate success at a corporate dealership, I am so very proud and humbled to say that I have opened my own shop. Willie’s Automotive, LLC, is a dream come true.
José Collazo is an amazing ASE Certified Technician who comes to Willie’s Automotive with an extensive background in automotive repairs. José’s experience in the automotive repair field ranges from a large dealership to the smaller shops and his extensive experience spans 17 years of automotive repair. José is the ultimate family man and enjoy spending time with his lovely wife and their four beautiful children. When José is not working, he and his family enjoy racing at Lebanon Valley Raceway for their own quarter mile racing team known as “Machotech Racing.” José is very innovative and approaches mechanical repairs in a unique and progressive manner. José has grown with Willie’s Automotive and has worked very hard to advance to the level of Shop Manager.
I started my professional career in the automotive field right after I graduated High School in 1995, but this is not where I started developing my skills. I have been taking things apart and putting them back together since I could hold a screwdriver. My grandfather owned and operated Eddy’s Gulf, a successful repair shop on Route 1 in Southport, CT from the 1950’s until he retired in the 1980’s. My father worked there throughout high school until he joined the Fairfield Police Department. As a kid my grandfather always encouraged me to help him and I was lucky enough to inherit his fix anything gene.
Through high school I took automotive and would spend every study hall and lunch in the shop. After I graduated I decided to continue my education and successfully completed Porter and Chester Institute’s Automotive Technology course in 1998. From there I worked in a few independent repair shops and Mark Ford Mercury in New Milford until they were bought out in 2010. At this time I held ASE certifications and was a Connecticut State certified emissions repair tech. Over the years I completed numerous clinics and classes provided by automobile manufacturers, parts manufacturers, and industry experts. Because of my experience, I was hired as a fleet coordinator and promoted to fleet manager, of which I oversaw the maintenance and repairs on all the company’s light duty, medium duty, heavy duty, and off road vehicles and equipment.
I have worked on everything from your normal everyday Fords, Chevys and Volkswagens to more exotic Porsches and Morgans along with classic Jaguar E-Types and Mustangs. I have rebuilt engines and replaced transmissions. I’ve spent countless hours tracing miles of wire to find shorts that other techs gave up on.
I had the good fortune of learning from some very brilliant techs early on in my career. They taught me some very valuable lessons a lot of mechanics never learn. Things like if it is in your way don’t work around it – move it, always double and triple check your work, manufacturers want to save every penny they can so there are no extra parts, and most of the time tight enough doesn’t cut it – there are torque specs for a reason. Working in the indie shops early on in my career, many techs did not like working on the German vehicles. Since I was the young guy I got assigned most of them. I developed my love for VW when I saved a Mk2 Golf from the scrap yard. From there I owned a W8 Passat which I flew to Birmingham Alabama to purchase and drive back. A few years later I got 2 puppies which outgrew the rear seat so I turned it in for my current vehicle – a Tiguan.
Saffron “Saffi” Monsoon Lenhard is the daughter of the owners of Willie’s Automotive and holds the title of General Manager. Saffi hails from Patillas, Puerto Rico, where she lived under a pharmacy with her 5 sisters and her mother. She was rescued by an amazing lady named Belmarie, who, through an organization called Love4Satos, rescued, fostered, and loved our Saffi. Saffi was given her Freedom Flight to the Mainland by Bel Ma, who tearfully placed her on an airplane in 2019 so that we could adopt her through Happy Life Animal Rescue. Saffi has an extensive education ranging from Kindergarten, Middle School, and High School, as well as her continuing education in Agility by her amazing teacher, Donna McNerney, who teaches at The Exceptional Pet in Newtown, CT. Saffi’s hope is to continue her education through the therapy program with the hope of volunteering her time for special needs children, libraries, and elderly community facilities where she will gladly accept a snuggle or a cookie as payment.
People love our work but don't take our word for it!
I was a customer of a large chain for a long time and got tired of the nonsense. The people here are beyond nice, offered me a ride home instead of waiting, but I went to the diner next door, price is more than fair for what they do on a basic oil change, they are honest, and they gave me a Veteran discount without even asking. This is the best place I’ve been to as far a local mechanic.
Had a small oil leak that they found was a simple fix and also changed out my wiper blades and replaced a light bulb for me. Great vibes and a great spirit from the owner, his wife, and the young lady answering the phone. Willie seems to be a stand up guy, and I will be back there for all of my automotive needs for sure.
This is one auto shop you won’t dread going to. Trust me. I am a fickle person and everything about Willie’s is A+. Knowledgeable in both foreign and domestic vehicles, wonderful personality and it has a welcoming atmosphere all together. His pricing is honest and budget friendly. Did I mention PET friendly!? This is what Southbury needed! Thank you WIllie you’ll be seeing a lot more of us!