Men such as Edelbrock, Iskendarian, and Guldstrand transformed a small stretch of South Jefferson Boulevard into “Thunder Alley,” in the process making Culver City synonymous with high performance. It was against this backdrop that Luis Loyola came of age, attending Culver City High at a time when public schools still boasted a wood shop, auto shop, and leather shop...
Sakoda-san took a break from fixing the window winder mechanism on the E-type and invited us into the fully stocked bar he’s constructed, complete with more memorabilia including framed pictures of himself with Stirling Moss and Jean Alesi. As we talked over coffee (served in delicate English tea-cups), Sakoda-san became very animated and retrieved old photo albums, books, and models from behind the counter to show us.
Between founder and co-owner Steve Beck, along with partner Chris Toppenberg, they’re closing in on a collective century of automotive knowledge. While both men have a longstanding relationship with BMW, and with the shop’s focus on that marque, a morning spent by Petrolicious uncovered that Checkpoint Automotive is much, much more than a simple BMW repair shop.
Take, for instance, Mr. Steve Hogue's shop in Torrance, California. Housed in a nondescript industrial area of the city and with space for only a dozen cars, the garage appears at first glance to be one of the many small-scale body shops that populate the local streets. Wander inside, however, and you’ll find yourself standing next to an original Cobra...
Unbelievably, walking into the cavernous garage revealed seven (!) 959s, Canepa's personal McLaren P1, Outlaw 356s, a Maserati Birdcage, and a Porsche 917. The facilities are extensive and include countless jigs for full racecar rebuilds. What was the best part? The car wall. Oh, you don't have a car wall?
Mark and Haven gave us a brief tour, explaining that it is their home. There was actually a loft built in the unit where their bedrooms are and when friends visit, the travel-trailer serves as a guest room. But the most interesting thing about their home, as an American, is that they don’t have a central hearth—a television. Rather, the shop floor serves as living room and the focus is clearly on building things that provide interactive entertainment.
When Bernie Sloan and Jeff Taw first opened British European Auto for business in 1980, everyone advised them against setting up shop in San Pedro, an out-of-the-way harbor enclave tucked at the end of the 110 freeway between Long Beach and Rancho Palos Verdes in the South Bay region of Los Angeles. “To an extent,” says Jeff, smiling as he reminisces, “they were right. Maybe we would’ve done better had we gone to Redondo Beach or Torrance, but hey, all the guys we knew with shops there are gone now and we’re still around.”
In the 1970s, our friend Jürgen Clauss was close to pursuing a professional cycling career. Each day, his training rides took him and his teammates across the German countryside near the Mercedes-Benz and Porsche headquarters, and every once in a while he encountered a strange blue sports car that would change his life and career path.
When Paul first opened up his garage, the majority of the cars in his possession were Jaguars and later, Lotus competition cars. Just three years later business was booming and he had taken over four other buildings on the street. There was, for a time in the 1960s, one of the original Ferrari P4s sitting in the window of the same building, staring out the same windows that BMW’s now occupy.
The first car Bob worked on under his own company name was Tom Wheatcroft’s 1962 Cooper T60 V8 Formula One car. After which motors such as a Ferrari 166 Grand Prix car, a Mercedes 154 GP and the only two Uhlenhaut Mercedes 300 SLR Gullwings to have ever been made continued to roll into Bob’s garage. Currently sitting in his workshop is a near-perfect Ferrari 330 P4 replica for which he and his son, Sam, fabricated every single component.
Everything here is fabricated with respect to the original part, assembly, and technique. Even if the staff uses, when exceptional precision is needed, the most advanced methods and tools, preference is given to traditional craft skills. The men who work here more strongly resemble artisans than mechanics. It is the attention to details and the direct experience that make this place different from a common restoration garage.