Flyers Body Shop
Flyers Body Shop of San Jose, California was run and operated by Flyer Tabata. Flyer was Japanese, and he stood about five feet high, all muscle. Joe Crisafulli, that worked for Flyer, remembers that he used to ride his BSA bike down the street fifty mph standing on the seat with one hand on the handle bar. Flyer was a bout five years older than Joe, and Joe met him while he was working on a farm in the country. A friend told Joe that a person in town was looking for help in a body shop. Joe started at Flyer as an apprentice painter. The shop closed down after a year, but Flyer told Joe he would call him when he opened up another shop. In the meantime, Joe went to work for a GMC dealer.
A year later, around 1957, Flyer called Joe and told him he had more money. He had a shop built around the corner from where Joe lived, at 140 San Jose Avenue, so Joe could walk to work. When Flyer opened the new shop he went to all the trucking companies and started to repair and rebuild truck bodies. This was big trucks, so most of the bodies were made of aluminum, so Flyer buys a welder that would do anything. Joe recalls that the thing was as big as a VW. It sat on the floor, and you couldn't move it. It was just Joe and Flyer in the shop, and Flyer asked Joe if he knew how to use it. Joe replied no, and Flyer told him they would learn together. As the shop didn't have a lot of work, Joe began to bring his friend's cars in for customizing. Joe did a lot of cars while working for Flyer. He got paid by the hour.
Show must go on
Roger Rennie worked for Flyers from 1979 to 1983. He had just graduated from Willow Glen High School. He was an apprentice painter, doing a lot of sanding. "I sanded garbage trucks, fire engines, and lots of semi-trucks," Roger told Sondre Kvipt of Kustomrama in 2019. Back then, Flyer had two shops. "The one at 140 San Jose Avenue was the original shop," "The other shop was directly across the street on San Jose Avenue, that was the commercial truck shop." Roger remembers that Flyer had a short temper, "I remember him walking around the shop collecting used sandpaper off the floor and putting them in a box. Then he would show us that the sandpaper still had grit on it and we were being wasteful."
Cars Restyled by Flyers Body Shop
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