Phil Smrek

Storyteller & Photographer

Latino Auto Repair

In Williamsburg, Brooklyn, there once was a local family‐owned auto repair garage called Latino Auto Repair. Yielding to the unrelenting pressures of encroaching gentrification, it was sold in the 90’s and turned into a hipster‐hangout bar, which then turned into a gourmet grocery store. This ebbing of an era served as both inspiration and metaphor for Latino Auto Repair.

Photographed in the US and throughout Central and South America as well as Cuba, Latino Auto Repair is a salvage expedition imbued with an emotional and passionate view of a vanishing era before computers served as intermediaries between mechanic and car, and one in which man and his machine formed a personal bond of mutual assistance for survival. It exalts an ordinary trade whose torch has been largely passed on to Hispanics; a trade that by and large still thrives in their native countries. From rustic independent garages, classic cars, and beauty of the model-mechanics themselves, Latino Auto Repair is as much a fetishizing of Latino physical machismo as it is of American automotive muscle.

Man in front of wall
Steering wheel
Leaning back
Man lit from below
Rear of car
Man working on VW Bug
Car sastreria
Man with goggles
Car and Revolution mural
Car and columns
Julio
Car fins
Hatuey
Repair shop wall
Uruguay plates
Man sitting on tire
Careful sign
Man leaning on wall
Man in trunk of car
Steering wheel and dash
Man leaning on truck
Old car radio
Man with hammer
Repair shop
Julio smiling
Guatemala plates
Man next to cables
Man in tight pants
Autoservicio
Old Land Rover
Man in winter cap
Car in the rain
Curazao
Man with motor oil on face
Red car, rear view
Brazil shop
El auto que habla
Taller Beto
Man leaning on car
Work area
PB Campina Grande plates
Main in baseball cap
Wringing wash cloth
Mufflers
Man lifting up shirt
Old blue car
RJ plates
Man leaning on car
Girl calendar
Old lights
Old TVs
Shirtless man holding car lift
Gomeria
Chevrolet fins
Cuba plates
Man working on car
Reddish car cement walls
Desoto car
Man leaning on big tire
Reddish car, rear view
Steering wheel through glass
Man with shirt over shoulder
Car fins at night
Wheel alignment
Have your engine tuned