Gator Auto Customs

Owner Kevin Lynum Sr. operates one-stop shop for restoring, customizing cars

Kevin Lynum Sr., owner of Gator Auto Customs, is seen at his business in northeast Gainesville.

LEE FERINDEN/Special to the Guardian
Published: Wednesday, June 26, 2013 at 1:48 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, June 26, 2013 at 1:48 p.m.

A lifelong love for cars has fueled the passion that Kevin Lynum Sr. has for restoring cars and satisfying customers who want to refurbish their cars so that they will turn heads when they are on the road.

Lynum, who has been in the car restoration industry for 25 years, operates Gator Auto Customs at 3500 NE Waldo Road. The business started out as University Auto Glass off E. University Avenue from 1988-2003 before closing for four years and reopening in 2006 under its current name.

“We specialize in everything that deals with the restoration of cars,” said Lynum, 47, a 1984 graduate of Eastside High School. “We are a one-stop shop that does everything and anything to a car.”

Specifically, the business specializes in auto accessories, body work, customizing, detailing, glass repair, headliners, painting, repair, upholstery and vinyl tops, as well as the sale and installation of new and used rims and tires.

Lynum said the business also handles jobs from insurance companies to do auto body painting and repair work, and next month, the business will begin a 24-hour emergency tire-changing service.

The business also has a contract to do paint and body work for MV Transportation in Gainesville, according to Leon Scott of Gainesville, who works for MV Transportation, which claims to be the largest American-owned passenger transportation contractor providing para transit, fixed-route, shuttle and commuter bus transit services in the U.S. Its services in the Gainesville area primarily involve transporting disabled patients to their appointments.

Scott also said Lynum has done a lot of work for him and others he has recommended.

“He has done a lot of paint and body work for me over the 25 years I have known him,” Scott said. “He does a variety of things at his shop and I personally know a lot of people who have been very satisfied with his work.”

Quinn Kelly of Gainesville also raves about the work done at Gator Auto Customs. He said the business did an immaculate job of painting his 2007 Dodge Charger metallic blue with custom-painted silver racing stripes on the side of the car.

“They did an excellent job on it, as they always do on all of my cars,” Kelly said. “He has a car of mine up their now that he is going to put 24’s (24-inch rims) on and paint for me. I won’t let nobody do any work on my cars but those guys.”

Lynum, who is originally from Leesburg, said he fell in love with working on cars as a young boy.

“I’ve always liked working on cars, ever since I was 10 to 12 years old,” Lynum said. “I would go to different shops, especially when we moved to Gainesville, and just watched and learned from the older guys.”

Lynum said he has always worked hard and has always known that he has to be his own boss,

“I can’t work for anybody because I know they are not going to pay me what I am worth,” he said.

Hours of operation are from 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. The phone number is 352-373-6006.

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