Mechanic pursuing his dream at Perry's Diesel Performance


James and Kathy Perry cut a ribbon celebrating the opening of their new business, Perry's Diesel Performance, in the former Anderson Brothers Yamaha building, Friday. The Perrys opened the business, located off U.S. Highway 17 south of Elizabeth City, in August.


By William F. West
Staff Writer

Monday, October 23, 2017

After years of working on diesel engine pickups out of a home-based shop in his spare time, mechanic James Perry decided it was time to try to make a go of working on them full time.

He and his wife, Kathy, started looking for a location where they could start a business specializing in service for diesel-powered pickup trucks.

They found one at the former Anderson Brothers Yamaha site at 1233 U.S. Highway 17 south of Elizabeth City, and in August they opened Perry’s Diesel Performance.

The Perrys, who live in Merry Hill, in Bertie County, hosted an open house at their new business on Friday. Although only open a few months, Perry’s Diesel Performance is already making a splash. The business has 7,400 followers on Facebook.

James Perry hopes to grow that fan base even more over time. Customer service and quality work are his top priorities, he said.

"We definitely spend a lot of time trying to make sure we do things right and use good parts – and treat people right," he said.

Although he grew up in a farming family and had worked on diesel-engine tractors, Perry says his interest in diesel-powered pickup trucks probably began at Northeast Dragway in Perquimans County.

Perry recalled how his father, Clarence, both a mechanic and racer, bought a 2003 Ford F-350 diesel-powered pickup.

Impressed with the pickup's performance on the drag strip, James Perry decided to buy a diesel pickup himself. He located a 1999 Ford F-250 and, he says, "One thing led to another."

"I had a good running truck," he said. "It stayed together and folks started paying attention to it."

When others learned about Perry’s skills servicing F-250s, they started passing the word to their friends to give him a call when their diesel pickups needed work.

Although only 29, Perry has a lot of experience as a mechanic. He worked for Carolina Automotive Center just outside of Ahoskie before moving on to Adams Garage outside of Edenton, where he worked about five years.

He next worked as a John Deere tractor mechanic at East Coast Equipment’s Edenton location before joining the Edenton-Chowan Public Schools in 2014 as a bus mechanic.

At Perry’s Diesel Performance, both James and Kathy get to work together. James and his staff of one full-time mechanic and one part-time employee service pickups while Kathy, who formerly worked in insurance, keeps the books.

Besides servicing diesel-engine pickups for everyday use, Perry’s business can also soup up diesel-powered pickups for drag racing and sled pulling.

Perry's Diesel Performance is open Mondays through Fridays from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. It also is open most of the day on Saturdays. The business can be reached at 333-1633.