Owner, Kit Johnson was a gear head from early on and landed his first real technician job in 1981, right after he bought his first car, which is a 1970 Buick Grand Sport 455 (he still has it today!).
The GS soon needed a tune-up so Kit visited a local repair shop where they fixed it up well enough for him to break the axle differential out of it. He went back the next day and got a job sweeping floors and learning how to fix cars for a living.
Kit attended Northern Montana College in Havre, Montana and graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Automotive Technology and a minor in Business Administration. During school, Kit spent several years working in a Jeep/AMC dealership in Havre and afterwards, at the Precision Tune chain in Austin, Texas, and as a technician in a fleet truck repair outfit in Helena.
One of the jobs he held during this period was as a salesman for Allen test equipment, they needed a location that was central to his territory so he moved his family to the Helena area in 1988 and has been here ever since.
In 1994 Kit and Viola took out several loans and built J4 Automotive at its current location in East Helena. The business has grown every year and is now a landmark for integrity, customer satisfaction and a strong community supporter.
Kit continues to improve his skills by attending as many on-site classes as possible building his study-at-home library, reading industry magazines to stay abreast of current events, staying current with his ASE Master Mechanic Certification and being a mentor to his excellent crew.
Kit says he owes his success to the past, present and continued development of these skills through involvement with NIAT, CARS, NAPA EXPO (both ’98 and ’05) ASA, ASE Blue Seal of Excellence, AAA Approved Auto Repair and other quality organizations.
Kit recently won the coveted National NAPA/ASE Technician of the Year award – an award that can be won only once in a technicians life time. It’s considered the highest honor in the automotive repair industry.
Kit’s personal achievements include a 25+ year marriage to his wife Viola which has produced two awesome girls, Nikita and Kacy. Kit is a Marine Corps, National Guard and Army Veteran and was deployed in Desert Storm in 1990 for 6 months where he was awarded the Army Commendation medal. Kit is active in the local Marine Corps League and in veterans affairs, Toys for Tots and along with his family, have made and put up hundreds of yellow ribbons that adorn telephone poles in East Helena, commemorating East Helena veterans that are over seas.
Kit was Marine of the Year for the local Marine Corps Detachment in 2004 and 2005.
Kit was named Fireman of the Year for the local volunteer fire department in 2005 and EMT of the Year for the same department in 2004.
Kit received the Legion of Honor award from the Chapel of the Four Chaplains from the Marine Corps League in 2006 for his community service and service to veterans.
Kit currently is in his second term on the East Helena City Council and is just finishing his second term as a Helena Area Chamber of Commerce Board Member. Kit was a two term member of the local school board, has served as Assistant Fire Chief and an EMT with the East Helena Fire Department, has served on several Community planning boards and advisory committees, including the local high school Automotive Advisory Council. Kit has been a field agent for Impartial Services Group, a company that facilitates “lemon” vehicle by-backs between the manufacturer and the consumer. Kit’s hobbies include cars, hunting and outdoor sports, home brewing, cooking, gardening and music (he plays the drums and was in a swing big band with Viola for ten years).