So Cal Speed Shops (the early tuners)

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HealeyBN7
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So Cal Speed Shops (the early tuners)

Post by HealeyBN7 » Tue Aug 28, 2007 9:39 pm

I was doing a little garage cleaning last weekend and came across a stash of old receipts and a couple magazines. What struck me was you didn't have to look too far to find a wealth of go fast sports car talent, expertise and parts, right here in Southern California.

The older receipts show that I have been faithful in distributing my earnings from shop to shop, only limited by the amount of week-day time available, and the distance from home. Now with Internet, I can make money evaporate faster than a mouse click.

Back on the subject, this is my initial attempt to list the great shops and suppliers that made us go faster or just kept us in the seat a little longer. A little help would be appreciated (but don't point me to a comprehensive internet site, at least not for a few days).

So, long before we had tuners, we had (and in some cases still have)...

Moss Motors - Goleta (by the Airport, now downtown)
The Austin Healey Store - Reseda
Dave Bean - Santa Barbara (by the zoo, now in San Andreas)
ISKY Cams - Inglewood
Speedwell - Van Nuys?
Import Car Parts - Thousand Oaks
Sports Car Graphic - Hollywood
Crowler - Chula Vista
Robins Tops - Santa Monica
MG Mitten - Pasadena
American Racing Equipment - SF (ok a little far north, but I have an original set of silverstone magnesiums)
Accessories Unlimited - Van Nuys
Hollywood Sports Cars - Hollywood
Motor Trend - Los Angeles
Bill Corley - Pasadena (Judson Distributor)
British Pacific - Pasadena, now by Magic Mountain (Land Rover)


From Advertisements in R&T (1954 ande 1957) and Sports Car Graphic 1965)

Pico Wheel Company - Los Angeles (from the ad: "specializing in nipple type only")
Astro Fiberglass - El Monte (fastback hardtops)
Le Grand Race Cars - San Fernando
Delvin Enterprises - Fontana
Kellison Car Co - Lincoln CA (not sure where this is)
Joe Moss - Los Angeles (Racing Wind Wings, Moss??)
Peter Satori - Glendale (Aston Martin Dealer/Healey racer)
Shelby American - Venice
English Speed Equipment - Los Angeles (English Ford heads, flywheels)
Stevens Engineering - Los Angeles (rally equipment/clocks etc)
Al Pernett - Riverside (LBC dealer)
Americam Metal Products - Culver City (competition rod ends)
Hornburg - Los Angeles (Jag dealer)
Maximoff Research - Van Nuys (1954 saftey (seat) belt maker)
Autobooks - Burbank

Ok who have I missed?

Dean

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Post by Steve » Tue Aug 28, 2007 11:09 pm

Wow, great list! I'll have to think about this for a while, but off hand I can add...

Bud Hand - Los Angeles
Mike Goodman's Sports Car Service - Van Nuys

Also, I think Speedwell is in Sun Valley, is it not?

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Post by Larry Kluss » Wed Aug 29, 2007 10:05 am

Add -
Hollywood Spring and Axle - Sunset near Vine (de-arc leaf springs)
Caldwell Racing Tires - Pasadena

I'm feeling old!

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Post by HealeyBN7 » Wed Aug 29, 2007 10:12 am

Great additions.
I would have to add Wilwood Engineering in Camarillo, seeing that Larry didn't.

I have more Wilwood parts in my Europa then I can afford :)

Dean

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Post by HealeyBN7 » Wed Aug 29, 2007 10:18 am

Steve Simmons wrote:
Also, I think Speedwell is in Sun Valley, is it not?
Turns out Speedwell is in San Fernando:

Speedwell Engineering
508 B Glenoaks Blvd
San Fernando, CA 91340

http://www.speedwellengineering.com/

Dean

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Post by Steve » Wed Aug 29, 2007 12:59 pm

I sent the list to a friend who replied with the following:
Ed's Hardware, Ventura Blvd, Woodland Hills (source for baling wire,
duct tape, various incorrect bolts, screws and washers. Also
carried various sizes of adjustable Whitworth wrenches.)

Gemco, Ventura Blvd., Woodland Hills (canned spray paint, motor oil,
wheel bearing grease (still on my shelf), and misc.
colors/guages of electrical wire)

Radio Shack, 50 yards east of Ed's Hardware (CB radio required for
breakdown info and smartass remarks while touring)

Jim Sullivan's Liquor Store, next to Ed's Hardware (various
refreshment items and lubricants for annual Conclave)

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Post by Larry Kluss » Wed Aug 29, 2007 1:40 pm

...all of the essential necessities! :D

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Post by HealeyBN7 » Wed Aug 29, 2007 2:45 pm

Ed's Hardware, Ventura Blvd, .....
Gemco, Ventura Blvd., Woodland Hills .....
Radio Shack, 50 yards east of Ed's Hardware ....
Jim Sullivan's Liquor Store, next to Ed's Hardware
That is just too funny. What about all the great British junk yards in the valley. One I recall had a terribly obese (Jabba the Hut) counter worker who would scream obscenities in a CB like communication network, then look at you as if you understood. When you didn't move he would yell directly in your face and either point down the block to the next yard, or in the back which indicated they had your ()*&^& tail light or whatever part was needed to clear your fix-it ticket. Of course this was that dark period after the last Spitfire/TR7 was sold off a dealer lot (likely one is still awaiting delivery) and before the first independent parts dealer opened.

Not sure I can remember them by name, some things I blocked out...

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Post by Steve » Wed Aug 29, 2007 10:06 pm

I used to get a lot of stuff from the place on Parthenia in Northridge. It had that weird old car up on a pole. It's still there but the yard is nothing but modern cars now.

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Post by Steve » Mon Sep 03, 2007 11:32 pm

Thought of another one, and found a bunch in an old magazine...

Vilem Haan - West Los Angeles (Santa Monica Bl)
British Car Accessories, similar to MG Mitten only bigger

From Road & track 1962:

Huffman Sales, Inc. - Los Angeles
Maker of the "Sway Master"

Colgan upholstery - Burbank
Custom head rests and upholstery

Beesley Enterprises - North Hollywood
Sold Mogano gear shift knobs

California Intermountain Mailing - North Hollywood
Advertising hard tops for MGA, TR2/3, Sprite, Midget. Only $119.95.

C&H Sales Co. - Pasadena, CA
Surplus aircraft clocks to help you win that rallye! "Cost the government $185.00, only $39.95"

Amco - North Hollywood
Advertising "Contour rubber floor mats"

Floyd Clymer Publications - Los Angeles
Advertising owner's handbooks and a $3.00 rallye computer!

Continental Equipment Co. - Monterey Park
Various accessories, parts and tools for British Cars.

Products d'Elegance Mfg. Co. - Los Angeles
Various accessories

Auto Europe - Beverly Hills
Information on planning European driving trips

Acme Fabricating Co. - San Francisco
Advertising a fastback-style hard top for Austin Healey

Robbins Tonneau Covers - Santa Monica

La Dawri - Long Beach
Car bodies from $195!

James Auto Specialties - Pasadena
Auto top lift for hard tops and "everything for sports cars"

Auto Slides - Hollywood
Color movies and slides of local races. Advertising Riverside Grand Prix Cars and Dolls

Gardner / Reynolds - Los Angeles
Dunlop tire dealer, advertising the new R-5 model

Varsity Imports
Selling genuine leather motoring caps for $6.95

Denner Products - Pasadena
Fiberglass hood conversion for Sprites for $195. Aluminum grill for $10.95.

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Post by HealeyBN7 » Tue Sep 04, 2007 8:38 am

Steve - Excellent additions.

I'll give it a few weeks, then consolidate the list. When I do, I'll try to indicate if they are still an ongoing concern, and/or the years they were in business.

I like the idea of capturing some of their catchy product names/ideas.

The Sway Master reminded me of an old magazine, where there was a swap bar contraption that swung a 40 lb weight from the outside rear to the inside rear as you turned. I'll see if I can find it. It was pretty funny.

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Re: So Cal Speed Shops (the early tuners)

Post by Lloyd Hendrickson » Sat Jan 10, 2015 7:12 pm

Bigler Sports cars in Fullerton, Ca. Did restorations etc.


Lloyd

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Re: So Cal Speed Shops (the early tuners)

Post by Steve » Sat Jan 10, 2015 11:37 pm

Lloyd! Great to hear from you. I bet you visited all the great speed shops back in the day.

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Re: So Cal Speed Shops (the early tuners)

Post by healeyfan » Mon Sep 26, 2016 8:35 am

[quote][/quote]Regarding Robbins Auto Tops on your list: the shop is now in Oxnard. Unfortunately they will not sell direct to customers, only to "selected" retailers, such as Moss Motors. They won't even sell to my upholstery shop.

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Re: So Cal Speed Shops (the early tuners)

Post by VWNate1 » Fri Oct 14, 2016 7:19 am

Thanx for the fun trip down memory road .

I'm not aware of any Import Parts Shops in the Pasadena area any more :cry: .

Good to hear the American Bantam is still gracing the pole on Parthenia, I used to work at the City yard right behind it .

I still have a couple things I bought at MG Mitten and CH Surplus ~ they closed up shop and moved to a tiny building in North Monrovia ten + years ago .
-Nate

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Re: So Cal Speed Shops (the early tuners)

Post by Wraddad » Mon Nov 07, 2016 12:42 pm

I haven't been on here in a while, and taking a few minutes to get caught up.

Reading through this post reminded me of my high-school days in Inglewood. There was a little speed shop on Manchester, not far from where they were building the Forum. I had a '53 Chevy club coupe, and I used to go in there and wander around looking at all the awesome stuff that I couldn't afford, and wouldn't have worked on the old stovebolt six anyway!

Thanks for bringing that memory back!

Barry

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Re: So Cal Speed Shops (the early tuners)

Post by malcolmr18zoy » Mon Nov 07, 2016 2:40 pm

I don'the think anyone mentioned Blair's Speed Shop in Pasadena.
Malcolm

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Re: So Cal Speed Shops (the early tuners)

Post by Chris Hayes » Thu Nov 17, 2016 5:30 pm

Dave Wellwood in Ventura, has an interesting collection of cars in his shop at all times. Mostly English. Very helpful.

Chris

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