Bear's Custom Body Shop

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A Bear's Custom Body Shop sticker from after Don moved his business to Inglewood. Photo courtesy of Chris Savaglio.
Don Roberts on the left, and Bob Dofflow working on Bob's 1949 Ford.
Bob Dofflow's 1949 Ford was restyled by Don at Bear Custom. Don and Bob were friends and neighbours.
Charles McDonald's 1955 Ford Thunderbird was restyled by Don after he moved his shop to Inglewood.
The Bear's Custom Body Shop sticker on the backside of the rear view mirror on Charles McDonald's 1955 Ford Thunderbird. Photo courtesy of Chris Savaglio.
Al Peirish's 1954 Ford Skyliner of Inglewood, California was restyled by Don in 1962. Al's Skyliner was one of the last customs to come out of Don's shop.

Bear's Custom Body Shop of Downey, California was owned and operated by Don Roberts of Whittier, California.

In the late 1950s Don moved his shop to Inglewood, California. It was located at the corner of 104 th St. and Hawthorne Blvd. Al Peirish, a 19 years old college kid, used to hang out at the shop watching cars come in and out. Al remembers that the shop was not a large operation, and he recalled in 2012 at least one other employee and a possible part time helper working for Don. Don's son, who was a little younger then Al, did also work there occasionally when he was not in high school. In the spring of 1962 Al took his 1954 Ford Skyliner to Don for some body repair and customizing. Al remembers that the Skyliner was one of the last customs Don built at his shop before he turned it over to his son. The son ran the body shop for about a year before he closed it down and enlisted himself in the US Air Force. About a year later, around 1964, Al did some mild damage to one of the fenders on the Skyliner. He located Don, who was working in a small body shop in El Segundo, and he repaired the car for Al in his off hours.[1]

According to rumors, Don went through a nasty divorce that set him back financially, so he had to start over. Something that could have been a reason for the move of the shop. As Al Peirish didn't know Don before he moved to Inglewood, he couldn't confirm this rumor. Al remember seing a 1955 Ford Thunderbird in Don's shop, and according to another rumor, Don customized more first generation Thunderbirds than anyone else in the Los Angeles area.

Cars Restyled by Bear's Custom Body Shop

Bob Dofflow's 1949 Ford
Steve Berg's 1952 Mercury
Al Peirish's 1954 Ford Skyliner
Charles McDonald's 1955 Ford Thunderbird


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