Everyone remembers “that car” when they were growing up. “That car” could have been from the movies, could have belonged to a friend or relative, or could have just been something you saw on the road one time. Whether it stuck with you for a few years or you still carry the memory with you, imagining yourself driving “that car” has been or is a dream that you work towards. At the Busted Wrench Garage, a man was able to realize those childhood dreams and created a hidden gem by displaying his private collection to be viewed by the public free of charge.
Founded by Gulfport native John Hans in 2008, the garage/museum is filled with iconic cars whose beauty is only exceeded by rarity as most of the cars are one of a thousand or less that were made. Hans’ path was also unique as he worked at a cycle shop before living on and selling boats for a large part of his life. Upon retirement, he began restoring and buying iconic cars for his private collection that he would eventually use to start Busted Wrench Garage. While John repairs cars in front of you, the tours are given by his daughter, Stacie, who shares his passion and is working to make the establishment as iconic as the cars inside.
Busted Wrench Garage is a perfect blend of the best elements of both garages and museums but is more accurately an experience. Unlike other car museums, where cars are roped off and touching is strictly forbidden, this place understands that sometimes the clean lines of a car are better felt than seen. Walking through a garage and seeing a 1979 Porsche 911 Turbo is completely different than feeling the supple changes on the glossy hood. The approach is an interesting change of pace from traditional museums and possibly comes from the fact that the cars aren’t kept in the garage permanently, all the cars are drivable. The Rolls Royce is rentable for weddings and the Jaguar Series I E-Type FHC was used to film the Jason Statham movie “The Mechanic.” While there are plenty amazing cars to experience, there is a vision for expansion.
Stacie Hans recently moved from Baton Rouge and is currently taking classes at University of Southern Mississippi in Anthropology with an emphasis on Museum Studies. As the collection grows, the building is to grow with it and Stacie already has big plans for the building post-renovation. “We want to open up an educational center for kids and women and teach them the skills they need to work on cars,” says Stacie. Seeing as there are very few places that teach those valuable skill, what better place to learn them than in a place where you are surrounded by iconic feats of mechanical engineering. The date of the renovation is uncertain but the addition of community center to the list of descriptions will make it a relative jack of all trades.
In addition to cars, Busted Wrench Garage also sports an impressive collection of motorcycles, boats, and even classic arcade games that, just like the cars, are all in impeccable condition. The range of acquisitions is diverse and continually expanding. The restoration shop in the back, which is manned by a team of John’s friends who do the work for free and his personal mechanic, will continue to keep the collection updated for repeat visits.
Seeing the realization of dreams a man had stored with him throughout childhood was nothing short of amazing. The care taken through restoration is evident as you look over a sea of glossy colors and peer under the hoods, but Hans’ work is relatively unknown throughout the community. Since admission is free the only profit generation comes from purchases from the museum which leaves little room for advertisement. Located just off of Highway 49 in Gulfport, the humble garage mirrors its soft-spoken founder, but it has every reason to achieve notoriety and become a Highway Star.
Hours and Contact Information can be found at: http://bustedwrench.com/site/