Holzhauer opens auto shop in Ned

Holzhauer opens auto shop in Ned – Barbara Lawlor
Nederland has an auto repair shop that specializes in Subaru, Toyota and other imported vehicles.
Nederland also has an auto repair shop that fixes American vehicles.
As of a couple weeks ago, Nederland now has an auto repair shop that works on imported vehicles, American vehicles and just about anything that has an engine,wheels and carries people and dogs.
Paul Holzhauer of Gilpin County has leased three bays in the red building across from the Nederland Fire Department and opened his door for business. This has been a dream of his for decades of working for other people. Paul’s House of Cars is a long time coming and he is happy to say he has found a home for his talents.
Born in Boulder while his parents were in school: his dad studying engineering and his mom studying nursing. When Paul was three, the family moved to Massachusetts, but in 1977, moved back to Nederland. Paul was 16 then. The family in Lafayette while building their house on County Road 68.
1974, Paul’s dad, Carl, went to work for Subaru of America, putting to use his knowledge of mechanical engineering, becoming a regional field engineer, diagnosing errors in a vehicle’s structure and prescribing changes to the factory.
After retiring and moving into their mountain home, Carl turned the lower level garage into an auto repair garage and opened shop, becoming an official business. At that time Paul was finishing up his high school years at Nederland, graduating in 1978.
He worked with his dad, both of them fixing mostly Subaru’s. Paul attended college, studying geology with the goal of becoming a USFS forest ranger. He studied forestry, chemistry, physics and psychology. By the time he left college he technically had five degrees but hadn’t gone back to take the required 101 courses.
To pay for college, he worked on cars. On summer while working as a sawyer for the forest service he was asked to become a smoke jumper and went to Fort Collins for training. At the age of 19 he could drop 300 trees a day. He would get a call of a wildfire and head to the Jefferson County Airport to fly to the site where he jumped out of the plane and parachuted to the fire.
“Once you start jumping, you learn as you go,” says Paul. “But even with a parachute, landing is like jumping off a two-story building and landing on granite.” It was Paul’s job to dig fire breaks. For the next six years he traveled the western states, putting out fires.
And then, during one spring training, he landed in the target pit and couldn’t get back up. His back was broken after a previous break and his knee was destroyed.
“I was crushed. It was back to the standby of working on cars. At this point my dad was working only on Subarus.”
After living in Nederland at various rentals and working with his dad, Paul took on a full time position with his dad’s company, Front Range Heavy Equipment. The name started as a joke when the family put out a flier saying they would work on anything and had a ’48 Allis Chalmers World War II vehicle show up.
At this point in the early ’80s, Subaru was just gaining popularity, becoming Nederland’s four wheel drive vehicle of choice, known for its worth in the snow. Paul was certified by Subaru when he was 14-years old. He says kids then learned to work on machinery at an early age. He worked with his dad just about all his life until his father retired in 1994 and moved to Aguilar.
With no place to put the business, the shop was closed and Paul went to work for Super Rupair in Boulder. After six months he realized he could already do what they were asking of him and moved on to work for Marti’s Towing Gilpin County, where he became the head mechanic in 1996.
He was still looking for that chance to open his own shop. When Marti’s closed, Paul went to Golden Gate Tire and Auto, where he worked on all vehicles. By this time he was married. He worked for HELP Towing in Rollinsville, working on the big trucks, and when the Oil Spot open in Rollinsville he went to work specializing in Subarus.
He used his physics background to learn everything about carburetors to computerized fuel injection, picking up new technology as he went along, realizing his college education was worth every penny he put it into it.
Paul then went to work for Mountain Man Automotive in Gilpin County and worked there for seven years until last October, when the building sold. Unemployed he began to take a look at his options. In February, he saw an ad for bays for rent and jumped on it.
“This was my chance,” he said. After going through the permitting process, Paul quietly went to work on February 5, working on vehicles that came to him word of mouth. He says he has a maintained a loyal following throughout his career, who moved with him as the places changed.
Last week, Paul stood in his garage looking at the Jeep, the Subaru and the Ford all in a row, saying he’ll work on anything except diesel vehicles.
“I like to see the finished product go out the door,” says Paul. “I like to see something broken run again. I will do my best to keep the cost down and I need customers.”
After 37 years of fixing local vehicles, Paul enjoys the luxury of being his own boss, saying everything he has done in life has led up to this time of being self-employed.
Paul will be open Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Saturdays by appointment.
He may be reached at 258-3554.

Barbara Lawlor

Barbara is a reporter for The Mountain-Ear.