Buddy Isles Sr. started Buddy’s Speed World on Main Street. He took a few years off to serve our country in the Army 82nd Airborne. WIth the support of the community and a $3000 loan from BB&T, he grew his business. When he returned in 1974, he leased a larger shop space just outside of Littleton on 158E and named it Buddy Isles Automotive. In 1982, he built a new shop with one bay behind his home on Main Street. Between 1982 and 1998, he sold and moved his home off Main Street to make room for 9 more bays at that location. He added a bay every couple of years. His two daughters and his son worked over the years in and around the shop, but it was his son, Buddy Jr, that decided to make it a career. Buddy Jr. began apprenticing under Buddy Sr when he was 12. Although he knew from very early on that he wanted to follow his father’s footsteps within the automotive industry, Jr. decided to embark on a once in a lifetime opportunity with NASCAR during 2015. He soon returned home realizing the family business was where he belonged. In December of 2017, Buddy Jr stepped up to take over the family business and expanded it from a 10 bay shop to a 55,000 sq foot facility. The current location, now known as Buddy Isles Tire & Automotive, is a full service mechanic, restoration, towing, tire and body shop serviced by a team of 10.
Buddy Sr stated it best when he said: “I love cars. Fast cars. I learned how to work on cars from my daddy. He was a good farmer and a good mechanic. When my daddy got sick and couldn’t farm anymore, I knew I needed to start working on cars to make money. I was 13. The first car I started working on was a 48 Packer. I bought it, cleaned it up and rebuilt the motor. I knew that one day I wanted to have my own shop that could do it all- customize vehicles, restore, paint, do body work, detail, build race cars, do mechanic work, tow… everything. That’s what I did from day one, I created a business that could do it all and that’s what we are doing now. I’m proud that Buddy Jr. will continue to run our one stop shop for all car service needs. Cars are my passion. Being a mechanic is not just a job. For us, it’s life–24/7! I love working on cars and I think I instilled the same value in my son. We’re just following our passion.” So I guess you can say that working on cars is just something that has been passed down from generation to generation. My dad learned from his dad and I learned from my dad.