Big-Time Boxes: Mike Pope


Mike Pope

Pope's Precision Automotive

Silver Lake, WI


Mike Pope is a meticulous man. While he took his time to make sure the job got done right, his colleagues smacked out more work and had to deal with the resulting comebacks. Oftentimes, other technicians made more money because of this, but after 25 years in the business, Pope is not going to change.

Pope’s Precision Automotive is an immaculately kept, 5,600-square-foot facility which within resides a 13’ long Mac Macsimizer toolbox. Being a one-man garage (though his son helps out), having a 1/10th of an acre shop with a 33-square-foot box may seem a little excessive. Pope just likes the extra real estate. “I have six drawers to fill, but that won’t take long,” he boasts.

In fact, Pope’s only criteria for his toolbox was size. “I told my wife, who makes all the buying decisions, that I wanted the biggest box they (Mac Tools) had,” he remembers.

When Pope started his own garage in 1997, he had a double-bank Snap-on KLR toolbox with both the top and bottom. He used it in order to trade it in for the Mac in 1999. The Macsimizer initially came in two parts, but 12 years later the toolbox attained its final form.

Finishing touches were made with the addition of the double-bank bottom in 2011 and the matching double-bank top in mid 2012.

Pope does not have an idea what the box cost him. He estimates that the bottom lists for $8,000 and the top $7,000, but only his wife knows for sure. She kept it a secret because it was a “sweet deal.”

Inside the box are tens of thousands of dollars worth of tools, all neatly organized in specific sections. For example, the two-bank top has two lids, one half containing only 1/4” drive tools and the one next to it 3/8” drive. He has a whole section devoted just to his electric power tools. His favorites are the Snap-on cordless impacts, because they give him the versatility of working outside or on the road. So when Pope and his son race motocross, the cordless tools come in handy.

Most of all, this massive toolbox is home of Pope’s absolutely favorite tool: his 7/16" wrench. Having lost it at some time or another six different times, this wayward tool has somehow always found its way back home. He’ll use it in place of his 11mm, because they are nearly identical in size and he has simply grown attached to the tool over the years.

“Once I heard it clanging underneath the car during a test drive. I knew I had to find it,” he remembers.

It took half an hour, but he did.