Bendix Stop Shop Operator Profile:
Owner: Vince Bunting
If you get tired of routine jobs on nothing but Tauruses, Accords and the like, you might want to work in a shop like C.H. Topping and Company. Owner/operator Vince Bunting admits the bread-and-butter of his business is "everyday" brake work. But solving the occasional, unusual braking problem, he adds, makes the job worthwhile. Fortunately, some pretty out-of-the-ordinary, "only in California" vehicle comes in now and then.
"We see them all - from the '32 Ford street rod where the owners spend thousands on his engine and on chrome, but the brakes have come up short - to the grey-market import where whoever equipped the car for federal requirements made a foolish mistake, like mounting the calipers with the bleeders down!" says Vince. "The beauty of this job is that sometimes we get paid to test-drive, troubleshoot and work on cars we'd love to own but could never afford!"
It takes years to build a reputation so other shops and owners of unique vehicles send their trickiest problems to you. The business goes back to 1931, when old "C.H." himself began selling parts. Vince bought the operation in 1981 and changed its focus to brakes. That's only natural. Vince and his former employer, Mel Hamer, used to buy Bendix brake parts from C.H. Topping.
Hamer became famous for brake work in racing. In the 1950s, he began drilling drums at Bonneville, allowing heat to escape and cut brake fade. He also modified brakes for Bill Stroppe, legendary for the "Road Race Lincolns" that sped into the books competing in the "Carrera Panamericana" series in Mexico in the early '50s.
Even though other shops send Vince their toughest problems figure out, he doesn't believe and his crew have all the answers. "I look forward to the Bendix braking clinics, where everyone in the room gets to share their experiences and we all learn from each other," he adds.