Chariotz, Part II: The beginning of an addiction and the idea of a lifetime

Martis’ passion for cars started in Kuwait at a young age. Surrounded by those with oil-money and a father who was a mechanic at Kuwait Air Base (his mother a teacher), young Martis grew up motor-headed.

“My dad being a mechanic, I was really into mechanical stuff – in fact I became a big fan of planes and cars – and just seeing all those cars, I fell in love with a few brands,” Martis said.

With the likes of BMW 635CSi, Buick Riviera, and Datsun 240’s driving around his neighborhoods, how can one not begin to feel a little something. The correct answer is: they can’t. They will inevitably become infatuated.

“I grew up just admiring those cars, loving them, staring at them,” said Martis. “That’s really how I got addicted to cars in general.” 

With Martis’ addiction firmly in place, he obtained a undergrad degree in Engineering, a master’s in electrical engineering, and a master’s in business. After working for the likes of Intel and other technological companies, Martis needed a change that aligned with the happinesses in his life.

“When I left [my last company], I realized that life was too short and I wanted to do something that bridged what I had the background in, the experience in, as well as the knowledge I had with something I had a passion about, which happened to be cars.”

Along with his trusted friend and business partner, Wilfred Martis and Murgesh Navar polished Chariotz to a shine and then started marketing to local area (Californian and Arizonan) shops.

And the reception was extremely welcome.

These wheels were a customer request for a boat trailer! Anything to make the enthusiast in us all happy. Credit: Wheel Specialists, Inc.

One of the launch partners, Wheel Specialists, Inc., saw the potential right off the starting line, that Chariotz was a great idea. As Martis pitched Chariotz to the VP of Sales and Marketing at Wheel Specialists, Darren Young could see what an invaluable resource this could be.

“If the end user sees what we can do, they’ll be able to contact us and we’ll be able to steer them to the many shops the many shops across the country that can provide them with the products and stuff that we sell,” said Young. “It’s vital to have the end user be able to go through and pick specific vehicles and get ideas of what they can do for their own vehicles. And, if we’re doing them here and the end user sees it, it will be a win-win for end user, the retailer, and us wholesaler.”

The idea that people will be inspired to create their own unique automotive experience is what drives many people to enter the kingdom of car enthusiasm.

That’s the same hope of Gina Shimada of Hamann, one of Chariotz launch partners. Introduced to Martis’ and his idea via email, she was quickly impressed with the concept, believing it’s something that the industry needs in order to bring together the enthusiasts of the community with the industries that support them.

“My hope is that it creates a new community where enthusiasts can come together and share their ideas and projects,” said Shimada. “Right now, that type of a format is all on a message board. So it’s very old school style, this is a lot more interactive, a lot more visual – so I’m hoping it’s the new generation of the online community. Where people can come together and share ideas.”

Remember, these aren’t just companies who want to keep their bottom line in the black, these are car enthusiasts who desire to change their section of sub-culture for the better – whether that is through performance upgrades, a bumpin’ bass, or a killer body and paint job.

Both Gina at Hamann and Darren at Wheel Specialists were gearheads well before they were businesspeople. They have gear-modified hearts that beat with the love of oil-inspired driving machines.

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