When he was 12-years-old, Brian Meeks of Goessel, now 23, started working with his dad on a 1955 Chevrolet car. He worked on several cars since and even fixed up a 1997 Limousine, which he currently drives for customers by request or for special occasions.
“My dad taught me how to work on cars. I’ve just always enjoyed doing that,” Meeks said.
In October, Meeks began a new job in Hillsboro as the parts and counter person at Hillsboro Ford-Mercury. Though he does not work on cars there, finding parts and helping customers figure out what they need is something he is well-trained to do.
He graduated from Salina Area Technical College with a degree in auto body restoration in 2007, then went back for two more years and graduated in 2009 with a degree in automotive technology. Prior to working at Hillsboro Ford, he worked in Wichita for Davis-Moore, in the paint and parts departments. It was at Davis-Moore that he crossed paths with a black limousine.
“It came in as a trade-in,” Meeks said. “They were just going to take it to auction because it had some problems. I am always on the look-out for something different, and this caught my eye.”
Meeks said he put a bid in on the limo and before he knew it, was the new owner. He made some repairs to the 90-inch stretch car and became the only limousine service in the small town of Goessel.
“I had to replace the bumpers and do some painting,” he said. “I also put in a new sound system, pieced together from things I had. We can play some really loud music now.”
This past year, Meeks hired out as a designated driver on Friday and Saturday nights, often making trips between Newton and Wichita.
“I am available for any special occasions as long as the destination is fairly close,” he said.
He served as a driver for a wedding party from Goessel Mennonite Church in May 2011 and often drives his family to visit relatives in King City, Mo.
“They love it when I drive for family vacations, and my sisters have hired me to take them and friends to the movies,” he said. “Everybody turns and looks when we drive up.”
Meeks said that most people who use his driving services have never been inside a limousine before.
“It has a lot of room,” he said.
Three bench seats in a semi-square are separated from the driver’s seat and front passenger seat by a movable window. There is a wet bar in the back, but Meeks said he only has a limited drink selection.
“If people hire me, they pretty much have to bring their own entertainment and refreshments,” he said.
For the Christmas season, Meeks added colored lights to the car, but he has some work to do on it before going full out in the driving business, or taking reservations this holiday season.
“I am really shooting to have everything ready to roll for prom season,” he said. “I have some painting to do and some other rather extensive work to do on it.”
Meeks said when people see his car rolling around town they will know he is ready for service.
“I have my number on the side of the car,” he said.
Meeks said some things he appreciated about his job in Hillsboro were the people and the hours.
“I enjoy working here from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., and then I have time to go home and work on my cars,” he said.
In addition to the limousine, another notable car he worked on was a 1966 Mustang, owned by his brother, Jake Meeks, currently in the army, stationed at Fort Sill in Lawton, Okla., after two tours of duty in Afghanistan.
“He lets me drive it and work on it, but sooner or later he will want it back,” he said.
Meeks said the 1955 Chevy he started out working on with his dad, has been his own since he was 16. He also has several other cars in various stages of work in his garage.