Don Roberts of Whittier, California. In the early to mid 1950s Don owned and operated a custom body shop in Downey, California named Bear's Custom Shop. Al Peirish hung around Don's shop in the late 1950s and early 1960s. By then he had moved his business to Inglewood, California. It was located at the corner of 104 th St. and Hawthorne Blvd. Al was a teenager at the time, and he remembers Don telling him that he started customizing cars in 1946, after military service. 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 in his shop before he turned it over to his young son. The son ran the body shop for about a year before he closed it down and enlisted 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.
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 Don Roberts
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