Crowell’s EuroTechnik specializes in German cars

By Pete Zamplas –

EuroTechnik has plenty of young technician power in its energetic owner and his brother, among others, in specializing in servicing German and other European vehicles.

Joe Crowell, 30, for two and a half years has owned the shop at 237 Davis Street off Kanuga Road, near Downtown Hendersonville. EuroTechnik started seven years ago.

Joe and his youngest brother Case Crowell, 21, both race in Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) amateur spec classes for sports cars of the same make and performance setup. There are mostly 2.5-mile road courses in half-hour sprint races, with some three-hour endurance runs. Last year, Joe won and Case was runner-up in the Porsche 944 Cup national race and seasonal standings. Joe drove a 1987, and Case a 1988 model.

This year they moved up to the more established and competitive class for Mazda MX4 Miata sports cars. They both drive 1999 models. There are more Miata than Porsche racers, because the car is more affordable, Joe explained. The SCCA estimate is $10,000 to buy and set up the Miata, though he put more into it. Joe shrugs off the expense, for an invigorating hobby.

“I love the competition, and need for speed in a legal and safe way,” Joe said. In his youth he “had pent-up aggression,” easy-going Joe said with a grin. He piloted a battery-powered Bigfoot monster toy truck full-tilt, “cutting donuts.” At 16, he drove a 1986 F250 Inline 6 (cylinder) pickup truck. “I needed something bulletproof, and not too fast.” Now he drives a 2001 Audi S4 station wagon.

His father Joe Crowell, the noted construction contractor, also has raced sports cars in the showroom stock class, a category for unmodified vehicles. He was behind the wheel of a Nissan 300 ZX Turbo, Fiat X19 and VW Rabbit. The younger Joe, when a mere week old, was taken by his mother to the tracks to watch his father. When he was 12, his father “put a wrench in my hands, and had me do brake jobs on his Chevy truck.”

Case Crowell is studying motor sports engineering at UNC-Charlotte, and works when he can at the shop. Joe said, “I joke that I want him to see how difficult some of these assemblies are to service, before he designs them.” The brothers played in Hendersonville High band a decade apart, with Joe on sax and Case on trumpet. Middle brother Brent Crowell is a brewmaster in Gatlinburg, Tenn.

The younger Joe explains that at the shop, “we try to focus on German cars” and his is among a handful of shops in Henderson County with such specialty. “The benefit of my specialty is I’m aligned with parts suppliers that specialize in these niche European parts. We get original factory parts, at a fraction of the cost they’d be from a parts house.”

Crowell is an English name, but Joe’s maternal grandmother is German. He painted the shop bay doors in German flag colors of black, red and yellow. He said he likes German cars’ performance, design and craftsmanship. “German engineering” is a sales slogan. “I like the way the assemblies are put together,” Crowell said. “The majority of the time, it’s as if they had the technician in mind. Parts are logically assembled, and durable.” He added, “They are extremely sturdy. I wouldn’t say German cars are over-engineered, but they are certainly engineered for longevity. Whereas Asian and domestic cars have more (automaker) value in the engineering.”

Of German makes, Crowell gives the nod to Porsche for performance and Mercedes Benz for “luxury and comfort. BMW and Audi have good common ground, between performance and comfort. Audi is a luxury version of Volkswagen.”

As a technician, Crowell has realized how German cars vary in brand, model and even year in “which components are more likely to fail.” He said these include “BMW cooling system components, and Mercedes Benz suspension ball joints.”

EuroTechnik services other European makes such as hardy Swedish Volvo, British Land Rover and also domestics. A regular client drives a Ferrari. Friday, their shop had a 1958 Alfa Romeo Giulietta Spider Veloce classic speedster, and a 2008 Vantage of Aston Martin of James Bond fame.

Call Joe Crowell at 698-0698, for more about EuroTechnik.

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