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Jim’s Auto Celebrates 30 Years in Business Reflecting on the Sharp Edge of Automotive & Electronic Technology


On June 1, 1986, a 20-year old boy with a hobby opened a shop in an empty bay at John’s Citgo located on Central Street in Ipswich, offering automotive detailing and car audio installation. Tomorrow, as Jim’s Auto Installations & Detailing Center celebrates its 30-Year Anniversary, owner Jim Goguen looks back on how he grew from a garage bay to annual sales of over a quarter-million dollars a year, while strategically traversing the sharp edge of evolving electronic and automotive technology.


Goguen didn’t know 30 years ago that he would reach the pinnacle of success in the detailing industry nationwide; that he would be a two-time winner of the Detailing Person of the Year award in 2013 and 2014; and honorary leader of the elite Air Force One Detailing Team at the Seattle Museum of Art. Even less predictable is that Jim Goguen will make his television debut on Friday, June 3 at 7:30 p.m. (EST) in Episode 7 of Velocity TV’s new hit show Competition Ready.


Produced by the makers of Car Crazy Central, Overhaulin', and the "Extreme" series, Competition Ready takes viewers behind the scenes at what it takes to get a classic vehicle ready for car show competitions and for sales at classic car auctions. Along with popular TV hosts Mike Phillips from AutoGeek and Adrienne "AJ" Janic, Goguen also appears in the season finale of the show airing next Friday, June 10.


Jim Goguen is among the country’s best and most accomplished automotive and aircraft detailers. In 30 years, he has seen cassette tapes turn into high-definition Dolby; Turtle wax be replaced by protective ceramic coatings that virtually repel dirt; and pagers blink their last blink as smart phones made them obsolete.


In 1992, the car audio side was booming and Goguen realized it was time to get serious. “New vehicles came with nothing but an AM/FM radio,” Goguen says. “Music media was transitioning from vinyl and cassettes to DVDs and for the first time, we could offer and install a customized high quality sound system in your car or truck that sounded better than many home stereo systems.”


Longtime members of the Ipswich Chamber of Commerce and the Northshore Chamber of Commerce, Jim’s Auto had long outgrown their workspace and in 1992, they moved into their current location at 5 Washington Street. “Automotive detailing wasn’t as sophisticated as it is now,” Jim continues. “You did not have to carry insurance, nor did you have to be certified to clean cars. There were fewer environmental regulations, and without the Internet, consumer awareness was low. Detailing was secondary to the electronics.”


By the mid-1990s, the marketplace exploded as automotive window tint was discovered to be both aesthetically pleasing, and as a means for protecting car interiors. Electronics like remote car starters were a huge asset to Ipswich’s frosty winters. Digital pagers, which had been a popular means of mobile communication, were fading into cellphones; and automotive restyling and truck accessories let consumers alter the outward appearance of their cars and trucks in ways they never had been able to before, and people were spending a lot of money to do so.


In fall 2001, Jim’s Auto doubled their space, adding 700 sq. ft., which gave them a showroom where they could display stereo systems, truck accessories, and floor mats. They also hired additional staff, among them Brian Adams, still a familiar face at Jim’s Auto after 15 years.

Two weeks later, Islamic terrorists flew two airplanes into the World Trade Center. “There was no way to know what was going to happen,” Jim recalls. “Many businesses came to a complete stand-still, but because we had built our business on answering customer wants and needs, we continued to grow, even during a terrible time for many people.”


Today the showroom displays navigational equipment, hands-free Bluetooth devices, and mobile video as well. “New cars today have a sufficient if not high end factory audio system already installed, so ironically, the roles have reversed. Detailing, restyling, and electronics are 85 percent of our sales today and car audio only represents maybe 15 percent,” says Goguen.


At SEMA in 2002, Goguen realized there were plenty more products and services he could offer customers. SEMA is the largest aftermarket automotive show in the world and Goguen has attended every year since then, even holding seminars and demonstrations on detailing techniques and equipment for his partners. He got actively involved in the International Detailing Association (IDA) who's membership sets the standards for the entire detailing and car wash industries. Goguen was the IDA’s first dually certified and skills validated detailer in Massachusetts.

He also met friend and mentor, Master detailer Renny Doyle. “After 20 years self-taught, it was one of the most important things I did,” says Goguen. Now a longtime member of Doyle’s Detailing Success Network and Detail Mafia, Jim received his Masters Detailing Certification in 2008 and his Doctorate of Detailing in 2010. He is an honorary member of the Air Force One Detailing Team, one of Doyle’s first choices to help him restore the historic presidential jet back in 2007, 2008, and 2011. He has also accepted his second invitation to the prestigious Gordon McCall Motorworks Revival Event; and The Quail, A Motorsports Gathering at the Quail Lodge & Golf Club; both part of Monterey Car Week coming up in August.


In 2007, Jim’s Auto won Truck Restyler of the Year by Restyling Magazine and was featured on the cover of Detailers Digest. In 2010, Jim’s Auto designed and built a client vehicle for the World of Wheels Boston that took Best in Class.


This Friday night, June 3 and next Friday night, June 10, Goguen is featured in the last two episodes of this season’s Competition Ready. In Episode 7, Goguen works on a 1933 Rolls Royce Phantom II for the Amelia Island Concours, and on Episode 8, led one of six teams working on a rare 1963 split-window corvette, and assisted on several detailing projects filmed last fall at Detail Fest.


For more information on Jim’s Auto celebrating their 30 Year Anniversary or Jim’s appearance on Competition Ready, contact Jim Goguen at 978-356-7372.














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Last modified: 07/23/17