About Big Mechanic

Hello and thank you for visiting BigMechanic's Automotive Repair Website.

We operate locations conveniently located in and around the Tampa Bay area. BigMechanic is a full service automotive repair facility whose services include ABS repair, cooling systems, alternators, belts, computer diagnostics, engines, flush services, tire rotations, transmissions, minor repairs, oil changes, glass, steering, brakes, exhaust systems and much more. See a complete list on our "Services" tab.

In most cases we offer a free diagnostic and estimate with no appointment needed.
We are open Monday through Friday from 8:00am–5:00pm and on Saturdays from 8:00am-4:00pm.

At Big Mechanic, we care about our customers. We have your best interest in mind when repairing your vehicle. Whether it is to save you money, use dealer parts, quality aftermarket parts or in some cases, guaranteed salvage parts, we offer our customer options that will make you happy and get their cars repaired right. We offer quality service, reliable experience and efficient repairs.

Our Shops use the latest in technology, factory repair information, technician sources from many different support programs and quality tools to repair your vehicle. We provide friendly customer service and will inform our customers with information prudent to the safety or best interest of their vehicle in layman’s terms. All of our work is fully guaranteed when repaired using our products.

Our website has lots of information for you to read. Feel free to browse our site and click on the locations tab to see which location is best for your needs. There is lots of valuable information about auto repairs, auto parts, safety, and auto repair news for your viewing. If you would like to comment on our site, just send us an email on our email link.

BigMechanic.com...40 years in Tampa Bay!

BigMechanic.com began in 1972 as Muffler City.

The late Mr. Albert Ayers Sr. and his wife Loyce had already been in business repairing automotive speedometers & air conditioning in the Tampa area for years when they hired a mechanic from New York. That mechanic recognized that they had a muffler pipe bender in a storage building that was taken in on trade from some previous business transaction. He convinced Mr. & Mrs. Ayers to purchase some muffler & tubing parts because he knew how to operate the machine. They pulled the machine from the dusty room & from there, Muffler City began.

Throughout the 70's, 80's & 90's, Muffler City grew close to 20 locations operating at one time just in the Bay Area. Like many "specialty muffler shops", Muffler City expanded their services to brakes and air conditioning. The name changed to Auto Air Muffler and Brake City.

By 2000, certain Auto Air Muffler and Brake City locations were offered to several current location managers. They are now independently owned and operated. The blue and yellow buildings & operating structure still remains generally the same from shop to shop.

One of those new owners, Steve Torregiante, operates eight different locations in Tampa, Dade City, Zephyrhills and Brooksville under the incorporated names of "The Original Muffler City, Inc.", "Auto Air Muffler & Brake City, Inc." and "Quality Value Auto Repair, DBA."

Steve has since created BigMechanic.com simply to set his locations apart from the others.

Steve was hired for summertime & part time hours after school in 1986 doing odd jobs & assisting the mechanics by his late Uncle, "Big Joe" Torregiante. He always enjoyed working for the Ayers family, especially building custom exhaust systems. Over the years, he purchased more tools and independently gained his ASE certifications as a technician. It wasn't long after that he was given an opportunity to become a shop manager. Steve is still involved with the day to day operations of his shops and can be reached by calling his office.

The BigMechanic.com name is based on the large statues seen at some of the locations. To learn more about those & how Steve came to acquire them & future plans, see The Big Mechanic information below.

The Big Mechanic Story

The information listed here is due to the amount of interest many people seem to have about the Big Mechanic in front of BigMechanic.com's locations. These statues can be seen in old movies like Easy Rider and at the beginning of the Sopranos television show. There are about 150 known to exist, mostly because they are recognized as "signage" to local municipalities, and rarely get permitting.

Much of the history of the "Big Mechanic" statues can be found on various websites. They are a landmark for our locations, and a pop-icon of sorts for travelers to come and see, often times taking family photos with them. They are also referred to as the Muffler Man Giant, Paul Bunyon, or The Big Guy. Owner, Steve Torregiante says: "When I first learned they were initially designed for muffler shops, I thought, Wow I have to have one. But I wouldn't really get out of a car and have my picture taken with them like some people do, but hey, it works for me."

Ironically, the first one Steve was able to find for sale, was just 90 miles away in Ocala, proudly standing in front of a lawn mower shop. There were two variations of these statues made, 14-1/2' tall and 22' tall. The rarer being the shorter version. And that's what was in Ocala, so moving it was no big deal. That first one was quickly painted and put on top of the roof at the Fletcher Avenue location. It wasn’t long after that the local ordinance laws were outlined to him & had to be placed in a safer location in the parking lot.

The second statue was found by doing alot research on the internet. There were reports of one in front of a building on an old county road in eastern Texas. But there was no way to confirm it or reach the owners. So during a family vacation in 2004, Steve drove down that road & found it. Nobody was there though. So he went knocking on neighbor's doors and learned that the owners of the statue lived in a small house behind the building. An old man yelled at him "It ain't for sale"!! But Steve left his phone number with the man's wife and she called a month later. They settled on a price. So Steve and his Uncle Joe headed to Texas with a 20' trailer. Having not much more than some rope and a couple of saws, the statue came down…in pieces. "500lbs of fiberglass makes one heck of a noise", says Steve. It smashed the old man’s fence and cost us another $100.00 in fence repair. That statue now sits in front of the Dade City shop on Hwy 52.

The third statue was listed for sale on Ebay. It sat in front of a carpeting business in Osage, Missouri. It was found with angle-iron in the legs and concrete poured around everything. That one came back to Florida in about 30 different pieces. After repairing every piece and putting it back together like a jigsaw puzzle and being repainted, it now sits in front of the Zephyrhills location on Hwy 301.

The fourth statue was found for sale in Albany, GA. This was by far the easiest move yet. It was at an old sign shop, laying in a field between a Domino’s Pizza sign & a car wash billboard. They loaded it with a huge forklift. The Auburn University Logo on his cap was painted over and it was erected at the US 41 location in Tampa.

Since then, no others have been found for sale. About 20 of them are in California & Steve says if he has to go that far to get one, he will. Because of Florida's possibility for Hurricanes, each of them have been heavily reinforced with steel structures lining the inside of the statues & can be easily taken down and/or moved in the event of a coming storm.