Antonis and Manolis Mpekatoros

 

Mastro Antonis Mpekatoros inside “Faneromeni” at the time
of the first maintenance (before reconditioning) of her Kelvin engine.

(Archive of Nikos E. Riginos)

The Mpekatoros brothers played a decisive role during “Faneromeni’s” restoration. They undertook the reconditioning of her engine and its major overhaul a few years later. In addition, they installed the Onan AC generator and performed many mechanical tasks and fabricated various components in their machine shop. The Mpekatoros brothers’ machine shop was established in 1912 by the machinist Gerasimos Mpekatoros, father of Antonis and Manolis. It was one of the first automobile repair shops to operate in Athens.

Gerasimos Mpekatoros.

Archive of Mpekatoros Brothers

The shop was in the center of Athens, at the corner of Academias and Sina streets. Business was good and the customers of upper class-who else owned a car at that time?-among them members of the King’s court. There was hardly any competition, only one other auto shop operated by an Italian. In a few years the shop needed more space and was relocated to a larger building on Amalias Avenue. The number of customers and jobs increased. Consequently the shop was relocated again to a location across from the temple of Olympian Zeus. The shop at that time employed 30 persons.

In 1927 the shop was once again moved to the Stadium area, at the corner of 1 Eratosthenous street and Vasileos Konstantinou. The sign over the shop read: “ΜΕΓΑ ΓΚΑΡΑΖ ΤΟ ΣΤΑΔΙΟΝ GARAGE STADION” (LARGE GARAGE THE STADIUM). In that new location the very capable Mastro Gerasimos enlarged the scope of his business. He began buying army surplus vehicles that had been put in storage. He reconditioned them and then sold them to the newly established Greek airline TAE, the predecessor of Olympic Airlines. 
 

The auto shop “ΜΕΓΑ ΓΚΑΡΑΖ ΤΟ ΣΤΑΔΙΟΝ GARAGE STADION” ("LARGE GARAGE THE STADIUM") in 1945.

Archive of Mpekatoros Brothers

In 1937 young Antonis, at the age of 14, became his father’s assistant. In 1939 his brother Manolis, then 13 years old, became an assistant also, following in his brother’s footsteps.

At the Stadium garage, business was expanded to include servicing marine engines. Many of the shop’s wealthy customers, including Vasilis Rosolimos, the owner of “Χαρτοποιία Αιγίου” (Aigio Paper manufacturing), entrusted their boats to the capable and trustworthy Mastro Gerasimos for service and maintenance of the engines.

See below the yacht belonging to the Rosolimos family:  

Young Manolis Mpekatoros in his father’s shop, 1945.

Archive of Mpekatoros Brothers

 

The yacht Argo.

Archive of Mpekatoros Brothers

 

The engine of the yacht Argo.

Archive of Mpekatoros Brothers

 

 

A painting by the well-known artist Vasilis Germenis of the speed-boat belonging to Nikos Kanelopoulos.

Archive of Mpekatoros Brothers

 Gradually the emphasis of the shop shifted from automobile service to marine work. The Mpekatoros shop specialized paticularly in the fabrication of shafts, shaft pipes, and propellers.

Among the boats regularly maintained by the Mpekatoros shop was the speed-boat of the prominent industrialist Nikos Kanelopoulos, one of the few speed-boats in Greece at that time. The Crown Prince Pavlos of Greece was known to borrow this boat frequently. The painter Vasilis Germenis, a friend of Kanelopoulos and also a customer of the Mpekatoros shop, made a painting of this boat.

Gerasimos Mpekatoros died in 1963. By that time his sons were occupied exclusively with marine work. In 1969 they moved the shop to their own building at 38 Fotomara street in the Neos Kosmos district of Athens.

I have been professionally associated with the Mpekatoros brothers since the 70s. During this long and exemplary association I have grown to respect and trust them completely.

Note: The information and material for the above text was provided by the Mpekatoros brothers in February of 2009.