•Local Porsche specialists bring home gold•

Three Baker Motor Co. technicians recently reached a pinnacle in the diagnostic care and nurture of high-performance Porsches.

The Charleston trio were named “gold certified” Porsche technicians, the highest such ranking. There are just five technicians in South Carolina to attain the gold standard; the others are in Columbia and Greenville.

“It’s a great day for Baker Motor Co.,” said Tommy Baker, chief executive in a brief ceremony Aug. 8.

The top specialists are:

• Michael Shattuck, a registered Porsche technician since July 2000 who has been with Baker Motor for 13 years.

• David Fogle, registered Porsche tech since December 2000 who joined Baker 14 years ago.

• John Buddin, registered Porsche tech since March 2001 and with Baker for nearly five years.

The trio started their Certified Porsche Technician training 30 months ago, according to Baker Motor. In that time, the technicians completed all instructor-led and computer training courses including “hybrid” and “e-vehicle” to achieve the highest certification level, the dealership said.

“It’s an awesome thing,” said Victor Selgado, Porsche service manager. “Our level of experience went up.”

Rolf Seiderfeld, national aftersales manager for Porsche Cars North America; and Stan Amerson, regional aftersales manager, recognized the technicians and presented the certificates.

The technicians each received a limited edition Porsche watch and are treated to lunch.

“These guys have been here a long time,” Baker said. “That’s part of the Baker philosophy.”

•Kahne firesuit goes to Beaufort car buff•

NASCAR drivers wear these for every race.

So it was quite a prize for Tom Thompson when he was randomly chosen to receive one.

Thompson, of Beaufort, was picked from more than 4,000 entries in the Kasey Kahne Hendrickcars.com Firesuit Sweepstakes.

He won a Hendrickcars.com firesuit signed by NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Kasey Kahne. The presentation took place Aug. 6 with Rick Pulcino, general manager of Rick Hendrick Chevrolet; and Chevrolet representative Robert Owusu on hand.

Hendrickcars.com features more than 25,000 new and pre-owned vehicles from the Hendrick Automotive Group inventory online. The Internet site launched the sweepstakes in June at www.Hendrickcars.com.

Charlotte-based Hendrick Automotive operates 12 dealerships and employs close to 1,000 people in the Charleston area, according to communications manager Kendra Jacobs.

•Ladson-based ‘quality’ dealer serves up winning recipe•

Mack Cook didn’t have much to say right off when he learned he had won top honors from the Carolinas Independent Automobile Dealers Association.

The long-time car dealer was plenty appreciative for the 2013 Quality Dealer of the Year award from the two-state trade group representing used car interests. But emotions got the best of him at the awards banquet earlier this month.

“Well, I couldn’t speak for awhile,” he said. “I’ve been wanting to win this thing for a long time.”

Cook started in the car business 35 years ago. He’s owned Cook Motor Co. on U.S. Highway 78 in Ladson since 1999.

According to a company write-up, Cook Motor “has grown by leaps and bounds, from a humble start with three employees and a 20 vehicle inventory.” Today, the “supercenter” employs more than 20 people and displays 140 cars and trucks.

The staff of the family-owned business includes Cook’s wife Phyllis Cook, son Jarrett Cook and daughter Paige Bridge.

“I’m a family man, and we love each other,” Mack Cook said.

Cook Motor spreads over nine acres including an administrative building, showroom and service center with ASE certified technicians. A facility manager oversees the grounds, and a business development center was set up for customer follow-up and online presence.

The dealership, Cook says, specializes in “pickup trucks, SUVs and imports.” The models typically are one-to-eight years old and come with two-to-three year warranties. Models are priced from $10,000 to $30,000.

Meanwhile, the venture is planning to build a 16,000-square-foot facility including showroom “to continue to better serve the community,” the write-up said. There’s no target date.

Cook is a Hemingway native and moved to the Charleston area when he got involved in the used car business. His brother Lamar Cook runs a dealership in Summerville.

Mack Cook’s outside pursuits include professional bass fishing, which he first got involved with in 1985. This weekend he’s in a tournament in Thurmond Lake in Georgia.

Earlier in his career, Cook took up racing at Summerville Speedway. He won the title for the short tracks in 2003.

Cook Motor Co. offers a direct business philosophy. “We provide a no pressure buying experience to the consumers of the tri-county area.”

In winning the Carolinas award, Mack Cook is eligible to take home the U.S. title. He will find out at the independent dealers national convention next spring in Las Vegas.