Visitors to Deyan Barrie’s large auto electrical workshop in Hornsby in Sydney are usually astounded at the vast collection of alternators, starter motors and other electrical components, all meticulously and lovingly restored to as-new condition.
Deyan could well be one of the last of the great re-manufacturers of auto electrical components.
The fact that he may indeed be the last fills Deyan with dread.
He is critical of the ‘throw-away’ society, which he feels far too many in the automotive industry have become. He also resents the wastage of components, the very apparent abandonment of diagnostic skills, and the impact this has on the consumer’s wallet. He can tell you so many stories of repair jobs that cost thousands of dollars, and which were, in reality, a very minor fix, if only the technician or mechanic had applied even basic diagnostic skills to the job.
The many workshops who call Deyan for help to fix a problem vehicle, are asked the same question ‘Do you want to repair by replacement or repair by diagnosis.’
Deyan was one of the first high-volume reconditioning technicians in Australia, from the early 1970s and continuing through to very recent times. In the early days, he and his workshop crew worked flat out, often seven days a week, fitting alternators and starters that he had reconditioned.
He built a reputation for being the man to call, for an often obscure part replacement. His workshop has restored many thousands of components over the years.
Deyan is a champion of auto electricians, and he has devoted at least the past quarter of a century helping others in his spare time.
He was the first president of the Australian Association of Automotive Electricians, started at about the same time as VASA in the early 1990s. The association, still with Deyan at the helm, merged with VASA around 2005, and Deyan remained on the VASA board for many years.
As well as running two workshops, Deyan is a founder of the successful TaT network that helps and advises technicians and mechanics from around Australasia. While helping others, Deyan never stops his self education – his presence at many a Wire & Gas training event affirmation of his dedication.
Deyan attributes many of his unique problem-solving skills to his early training in the RAAF, where he worked on aircraft electrics, including the cockpit air conditioning of the Mirage jet fighters.
When he left the service in 1977, he opened his first auto-electrical business at the age of 23.