Big-Time Boxes: Mark Oliphant, Snap-on Tools

Meet Mark Oliphant's elephant-sized toolbox.


Mr. Big is more than a hair-rock band from the 1980s. "Mr. Big Equipment" is a Snap-on toolbox that is custom-configured to meet its owner’s needs.

Less than a year ago, Mark Oliphant decided that he wanted to have the toolbox of his dreams assembled. It is 17’ long, 8’ tall and 30" wide.

The elephant-sized colossus features Snap-on patented, swivel-chrome casters, a stainless steel top workstation, 40 "outside" drawers, two lockers, an overhead box and LEDs stringed throughout for lighting.

"It is one of a kind," Oliphant boasts. In fact, his Snap-on salesman believes the box might very well be the biggest in North Carolina.

He estimates that he has "$500,000-plus" worth of tools safely locked away in the box, including his favorite (a ball joint press) and a plasma cutter, which comes in handy when he does fabrication work.

This toolbox literally encapsulates a career that has spanned five decades.

"I started wrenching in 1974 when I was 10 years old," Oliphant recalls. "Presently, I’m the third generation of mechanics for the family business my grandfather started in 1946. My wife, mother and father also work in the business.

"I graduated in 1983 from Nashville Auto Diesel College and in 1995 I was nominated for the ‘Technician of the Year’ award by the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE). I placed top 20 in the nation at that time."

Even though Oliphant could not have done all of this without standing on the shoulders of previous generations and the support of his wife, he still works on vehicles and considers himself very dedicated. In fact, his wife chides him for sometimes being too obsessed with his work and the toolbox.

"Due to my long working hours, my wife, Christel, threatens to install a shower in the side locker and mattress in the overhead bin," jokes Oliphant.

 

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