Skip to content

Auto shop finds good luck in Midwest City

City donates land for Hard Luck Automotive Services’ new garage

By Jeff Harrison
Midwest City Beacon

Hard Luck Automotive Services has been helping those in need with no-cost auto repairs.

Adam Ely, owner of Hard Luck Automotive Services, speaks about his non-profit organization that provides low cost auto repairs during a city council meeting on Sept. 22. (Photo by Jeff Harrison)

And when the non-profit organization needed a helping hand, they found one in Midwest City.

City officials last week agreed to donate land for the non-profit to build a permanent home. The one-acre lot is located in Midwest City’s Soldier Creek Industrial Park, 7450 NE 23rd St.

The city approved a letter of intent with Hard Luck for the land donation at the Sept. 22 meeting. Under the agreement, Hard Luck must pay for construction of the building through donations of cash and in-kind contributions.

Adam Ely, owner of Hard Luck, estimates the new shop will cost about $250,000 to build. He believes the support of Midwest City could spark fundraising efforts.

“With your vote today, we can take that to possible donors and show them that if you want to be treated like a big deal you have to look like one,” Ely said.

Mayor Matt Dukes said he can relate to those customers Ely helps and pledged his support for their effort.

“Your ministry is admirable,” Dukes said. “I can remember growing up and my mom had an old beater car and we had no money and no way to fix it. So that touches a string to my heart. I can see no reason we shouldn’t approve this.”

Hard Luck Automotive Services is a non-profit organization whose mission since 2017 is repairing cars and trucks for those who do not have the means to fix them on their own. The auto shop offers free labor and the customer is responsible for the cost of all parts.

“We try to help those economically challenged with auto repairs for as cheap as possible,” Ely said.

The non-profit is owned and operated by veterans. Ely is a U.S. Army veteran who served in Iraq and Afghanistan. He works alongside two retired military officers Monte Huffman and his wife Toni who served in the U.S. Air Guard.

Hard Luck has gained national media attention for its one-of-a-kind services and inspired similar efforts across the country. Among those fans was TV personality Mike Rowe. The host of Dirty Jobs featured Hard Luck Auto on his web series “Returning the Favor” and donated a shop for two years and supplies for the effort. The lease was valued at $52,000 plus $4,000 for utilities.

Hard Luck has been operating out of that building at 616 SW 29th St., just south of downtown Oklahoma City.  The two-year lease expires in April and Ely said they can’t afford the rent while still charging customers nothing.

“We are frantically looking for our forever home,” Ely said.

Ely was looking to move the business closer to his home in Choctaw and believed the Soldier Creek Industrial Park would be a good fit for his crew. He thanked Robert Coleman, economic development director, for his support in the process.

“Mr. Coleman has absolutely spearheaded this entire process and made us look like rock stars,” Ely said.

The Hard Luck crew is currently raising money for the new facility. Ely said they are hosting a poker and corn hole tournament, selling raffle tickets for a motorcycle and selling t-shirts and hats.

“Having the city behind us means so much more when we go to donors in a pandemic and during an election year,” he said.

Ely said they hope to have the “ball rolling” on the new place before their current lease expires. He said other auto shops have offered to provide space to store their tools and equipment until the new location is open.

“We usually work outside now anyway,” he said.


  1. Brigitte Seymour on December 3, 2020 at 5:37 pm

    How do you get possible help now? My 2012 Fiat pop lights do not work anymore …changed the lights and they went out again… I’m 60 years old and need my car to reach my clients…I’m a home health aide…loose money because I can’t drive after dark! Help? Please!!???

  2. Crystal Bustamante on December 15, 2020 at 6:26 pm

    When I got my 5 year old son’s back pay I went and bought a 2012 Chevy suburban LTZ paid 13,034 cash and 20 days later I started having transmission problems and come to find out I had two different transmission places diagnosed it and the motor mount and the transmission mount is broke well I called the place where I got it from to see if they can help me fix it and when my car broke down on the side of the highway with five children myself and my nephew I called the place and they told me they didn’t know what to do other than for me to get a mechanic and tow truck and they hung up on me after paying all this money they don’t want to help and I had the parts I just don’t have no way of getting them put on and the reason I bought the vehicle is cuz it fit all my son’s medical assessments his wheelchair I didn’t have to break it down it just fits right in there and it’s more than enough room for him and my two other children and nobody wants to help me get it fixed and I can’t keep driving it so it’s just sitting and I bought it and September and ain’t been able to drive it since September 25th

    • Kenda Chadborn on April 25, 2022 at 4:56 pm

      I’m 64 and disabled. I have 2003 Nissan Maxima. My Healthcare worker took my car without me knowing and 3 days later she brought it back. Sometimes no crank no start and if I jump it it starts. When I drive it and stop sometimes it starts sometimes it won’t. It has 3 codes VIAS, ECM and 2 others. It’s runs fine but a little rough and it’s leaking oil somewhere. After full charge on charger overnight the battery goes dead. I think she jumped it and put cables on wrong. Maybe short in ground wire. Radio doesn’t work sunroof closes only part way, door locks work sometimes and wiper come on by themselves. Can’t find blown fuse. Radio works through steering wheel but not console. Trunk won’t open gas mileage sucks. I don’t know what she did to it. I never had problems before. New alternator battery and belts. Doesn’t get hot. Can you help me. I can’t afford to put it in shop. I can get needed parts. I live outside of city and can’t get to Dr’s or store. I’m scared yo drive it anymore. Starter is good. Please let me know if you can hep. I’ve tried to call but goes to full mailbox. Please email and let me know I live on 840.00 a month. 4058319877. Thank you

  3. Debra Sims on January 29, 2021 at 3:55 pm

    I am having car problems and need the phone number for Hardluck Auto. I had my nephew work on it but he could not fix it. He thinks it’s the fuel pump but he is inexperierienced

  4. Deanna Zaragoza on February 5, 2021 at 9:30 pm

    Last year in August 2020 i purchased a 2003 Chevy TrailBlazer that i desperately need help with PLEASE!!!!! Since last year of August 2020 when i purchased it i haven’t been able to drive it but 1 month before it ran out of gas on the highway on me 3 times and then third time it never started again. I’ve checked the fuel pump it’s not that, alternator, replaced the alternator but didn’t need it, the starter replaced,didn’t need that either, VVT solenoid was bad causing it to miss replaced that still won’t start, gave it a full tune up, during this time I lost my key so I had to buy an ignition switch and cylinder. Then i purchased a new battery. I’ve checked the fuses and replaced all the ones that were out. I reprogramed the ignition switch to go with the anti-theft alarm and doors, still won’t start. I’ve had very little help with all this because i have no family or friends that know anything about mechanic work. So I basically been doing everything myself. But I’m tired of buying parts i don’t really need much less having the money to buy them, but I’ve lost three jobs since my truck has been broke down and i can’t get anyone to help me figure out what is wrong with it. I’m homeless so therefore I also stay in my truck as well i really need your help please. I’m at a loss right now i feel like giving up because i just don’t know what else there is to check. I am taking off the throttle body position sensor right now to clean it and hopefully not have to buy another one of those. I was also told that it could be my piston, or my fuel modular or it’s wiring, i can’t afford a mechanic so I’m trying to look everything up on youtube to fix it but there’s days where i break down and cry because i just don’t know what is wrong with my truck but it’s the only thing that i have left of this world basically and I’ve already put well over another thousand dollars in to it since it broke down and can you help me please?

    • Deanna Zaragoza on February 5, 2021 at 9:58 pm

      Continuing from comment 1- I’ve gone thru 6 batteries since my truck has broke down either because people have either given me a bad battery that wasn’t no good or it’s been stolen from right under my hood. I’ve had to replace the ignition key switch four times because I’ve either lost the switch during the process of trying to find someone to help me out it on how to put it on. or I’ve lost the keys to it. I’ve had guys try and help but then turn around and just leave during the process and make it even worse they will of had stripped a bolt broke a screw off in something or burnt something else out or the worse thing they’ve done was taken back the items they were going to put on for me leaving me to go and have to either purchase another one and put it on myself in the long run. I can’t get anyone to really actually help me and stay till it’s done. I am screaming for help.

      • Tracy Marcum on January 9, 2023 at 6:47 pm

        I would like to say thank you not only for your service to our country but to our county as well! What a generous act of kindness to give your time helping people who need it. The world is a better place because of people like you sir. Very commendable! You have my respect for sure.

  5. Malvern Drewa on June 10, 2021 at 2:05 pm

    How can someone donate to Hard Luck Automotive Services?

Leave a Comment