I asked John Borek how much he knows about dinosaurs. “I don’t know (doodley),” he said.
Not that it matters. What John Borek does know is yard art. He’s dabbled in various forms. There was the spaceship he built for his front yard that played the theme from “The X-Files” and blew smoke. Then there was the Batmobile he put together.
Now, he’s moved on to dinosaurs. Borek’s Jurassic Car Wash at 4809 S. Congress Ave. is awash with them, with four decorating the place and four more on the way. He’s hoping they’ll bring in the customers.
In this town, it pays to be creative, even if you’re just soaping up somebody’s Chevy.
“There’s car washes at every convenience store and one on every corner, so I’m having something different where people can take pictures and hang out and see dinosaurs move,” John said.
So some of the dinosaurs move, huh? Do they talk?
“They growl,” he said. “The one that’s in front of the automatic? We call him Tommy the T. rex. He’s going to spit a little water on your car, but we haven’t got him hooked up yet. He might even spit out a little blood. Who knows. Or some water with a little red dye in it or something.”
Our dinosaur story starts back when John put two animatronic dinosaurs in front of his swank home for Halloween at the Preserve at Barton Creek off of Texas 71, out past the “Y” at Oak Hill.
The critters weren’t well-received. They might have been a hit in the 78704, but not out there southwest of town in the rarefied air.
The law firm representing the neighborhood association sent John a letter, saying that to keep the dinosaurs he’d need the approval of the Architectural Review Committee. Failure to remove the dinosaurs could lead to fines of $250 a day, the letter said.
“I just put ‘(expletive) you’ in an email and sent it to em,” John said. “Then I thought, what the (heck) am I going to do with two dinosaurs?’”
The answer popped up after John sold his body shop, Autocraft Bodywerks off South Congress Avenue, in November 2014. With no more fenders to pound out, suddenly he was bored. He needed something to do.
“I decided retirement wasn’t so much for me. I mean, you got to do something, even if it’s just one day a week.”
About a year ago, he bought the car wash, which is located just down the road from his old body shop.
“That’s when I thought, well, shoot, I’ll just put the dinosaurs at the car wash. So that’s what I did. That’s how I came up with the Jurassic theme.”
It was only a start. “I thought, two dinosaurs ain’t enough. We need more than two.”
So John bought $30,000 worth of dinosaurs from China.
“That’s where they make everything nowadays. China.” The dinos showed up in a huge shipping crate, and shipping alone set him back another $4,000 or so.
How many cars will he have to wash to cover that bill?
“I don’t know. I don’t look at things thataway. I just look at things: Is it cool?”
These ain’t no downstream dinos either. Throw in a couple of windmills with a magician sawing a woman in half and you’ve got a combination car wash miniature golf course with a sideshow. The two big yellow dinosaurs by the road have seats built in, so you can watch the world go by on South Congress.
So what’s next? John’s thinking maybe a flying saucer car wash.
“Don’t say anything about that, though,” he said. “I don’t want anybody stealing my idea.”