Justin Mancino, left, the owner of Bridgehampton Autosport, with two of his mechanics, Bryan Beyer and Anthony Baker.
By Stephen J. Kotz
Even when he was a little boy living with his grandparents in Noyac, Justin Mancino knew he loved cars. He’d sit in the bay window of their house, sometimes for hours, waiting for the neighbor who owned a souped up 1969 Chevrolet Camaro to take it out for a spin. When he heard the sound of practice at the nearby Bridgehampton Race Circuit, he’d pester his grandfather to bring him there so he could soak up the atmosphere. He has old home movies showing as a two-year-old, sitting in his father’s Mini Cooper at the track.
So, it is no surprise that Mr. Mancino would grow up to be a mechanic. After years of learning the trade and paying his dues in local garages, in 2010 he opened his own business, Bridgehampton Autosport, in an out of the way location in the commercial development off Butter Lane just north of the railroad tracks.
Now he’s expanding to Sag Harbor, where he is renting the two-bay garage space in the Getty station on the southwest corner of Brick Kiln Road and the Bridgehampton-Sag Harbor Turnpike.
“Bridgehampton isn’t big enough for the volume of work I’m doing,” he said on Friday. “Being here will be a little more convenient for local people.”
Mr. Mancino said he will offer a full-service shop that will handle everything from oil changes and other routine maintenance to rebuilding engines.
He said he began thinking about moving into the space as soon as Jim Shelly’s Georgica Getty left a year ago. “I always remember this site as being active,” he said of the garage. “There was always someone here.”
Customers who formerly patronized the shop when it was run by Mr. Shelly will recognize Anthony Baker, who joined Mr. Mancino in Bridgehampton after Mr. Shelly pulled out. “A lot of people are happy he’s back here,” said Mr. Mancino.
Bryan Beyer, a Sag Harbor local, who has worked with Mr. Mancino at his Bridgehampton location will also be on staff.
“My passion is to work on classic cars,” said Mr. Mancino, adding that such work makes up about 40 percent of his business. While his own tastes run to the kind of 1960s and ’70s American cars he grew up with—in fact, a 1967 Pontiac Grand Prix coupe, looking a little worn around the edges, currently occupies one bay in his Sag Harbor shop—he said he appreciates all types of vehicles, including those from the ’20s and ’30s. “The quality of construction . . . those cars are super impressive,” he said.
Mr. Mancino is also an amateur racer who competes in an electric green 1970 Dodge Dart Swinger with a small block V-8, hence the “sport” part of his shop’s name. A Dart doesn’t engender a lot of respect among owners of Mustangs and Camaros at the track, he said, so it is gratifying when his “underdog” does well.
For other racing aficionados, “we can set up cars for the track, with suspension, alignments, we can put in roll cages, you name it,” he said.
Looking back, Mr. Mancino said he owes a lot to Bill Everett, who gave him a job pumping gas at his now closed service station on Noyac and Millstone roads when he was 16. “When I showed him I had some interest, he started to teach me things,” Mr. Mancino said. “It started with how to fix a flat. Then it was change a battery. Pretty soon it was change an alternator or change a water pump.”
Mr. Everett always “emphasized the importance of doing the job right and not to rush it just to get it out the door,” he said.
After leaving Everett’s, Mr. Mancino received an associate’s degree in automotive technology from Rockland Community College. The program was sponsored by Chrysler and he found a job placement with Don McKay’s Chrysler dealership in Southampton.
He later worked at several local shops before he joined the BMW dealership in Southampton, where he worked for nine years. In his spare time, he worked on friends and relatives’ cars out of his grandmother’s two-car garage in Noyac.
When he outgrew that space, he rented an old potato barn in Wainscott, where he’d moonlight, often until 10 and 11 p.m., after finishing his day job.
After he lost that space and found his Bridgehampton location, Mr. Mancino decided it was time to make the break. He quit his job at BMW and relied on a customer base that was built largely on referrals.
“Our mission, if you will, is to provide good quality work at a fair price,” he said.
For more information on Bridgehampton Autosport, visit bhautosport.com or call 899-4956 or 237-1111.