Jerry Johnson opened Johnson’s Transmission & Auto Service in April 1993 after a series of life events that led him to a career in auto repair. When he was a child, he and his brother received one bicycle to share for Christmas, so it was ridden a lot (to say the least). They wore out every moving part on that bicycle and replaced several sets of crank bearings and rear ends. They even had to replace the fork bearings a couple times, along with putting boots inside the tires where they dragged them on the highway until they had holes in them.
At the age of 15, a friend of Jerry’s had a 1962 Ford Falcon, which they had to work on to be able to drive it around. He enjoyed working on vehicles so much he took Auto Tech for two years in high school, where he rebuilt engines and worked with different cams, carbs, front ends, and transmissions. Jerry also learned a lot working on his friend’s 1967 Chevy-powered Firebird.
After high school, Jerry went to Wayne Community College for two years, studying Auto and Diesel Technology. His goal was to work on farm equipment, but when he finished school, he got a job at Auburn Pontiac in Raleigh—an adventure for Jerry. In 1977, a friend offered him a job in Goldsboro (happily closer to home) working on Mazdas and Volkswagens. He worked there for a while before taking up farming again and then going to work at Plainview Auto and Truck Center, which was followed by an independent auto repair shop specializing in European cars, Honda in Goldsboro, Ford Place in Smithfield (where he worked one day and got a raise for his go-and-get-it attitude), and Benson Ford where he rebuilt automatic transmissions.