Glen Wall was born in 1917. He was the third and the youngest of the Wall brothers. At the time, the Wall family lived in Iowa, where their father was running a farm he leased from his parents, who had moved out west to California. Forey and Monte were Glen's older brothers. He had three sisters as well, Jean, Violet and Pearl.
- 1 Minnesota
- 2 California
- 3 Fixing Up and Selling Model T Fords
- 4 The Long Beach Earthquake
- 5 Auto Shop Class
- 6 The Throttle Throbbers
- 7 Dry Lakes Racing
- 8 Working at the Shipyard
- 9 Sharpshooter
- 10 Lot Boy for Emil Dietrich
- 11 Glen's Top Chop Business
- 12 The Winning Formula
- 13 Moving on to Al Sirrot Used Cars
- 14 The Proposal
- 15 Wall Custom Cars
- 16 George Barris
- 17 The World’s Largest Custom Car Dealer
- 18 Work Hard, Play Hard
- 19 Moving to Bellflower
- 20 Glen Wall Used Cars
- 21 Brothers in Arms
- 22 Glen Wall's Cars
- 23 Cars Restyled by Glen Wall
- 24 References
In 1925 Glen and Forey were living in Minnesota, where their dad ran an ice cream factory. 12 years old Forey worked as a delivery boy for his father, driving around with a Ford Model T panel truck delivering ice cream to restaurants. Forey was working 7 days a week, saving up money for his first set of wheels. In 1927 he had saved up enough money to buy a 1926 Ford Model T touring car. “I paid 25 bucks for that car when I was 14," Forey told Sondre Kvipt of Kustomrama in 2016. "The guy lived 85 miles north of me, and he drove it down to Minnesota where I lived so he could sell it to me. I had side curtains put on it I remember.”
During the great depression, Beatrice and Lloyd were talked into moving out West to California. The year was 1931. Forey was 18 years old at the time. Glen was 14, and the brothers remember they were told that the Los Angeles river was supposed to be a great big river. They were also told they could reach outside their bedroom window and pick an orange. It wasn’t so, both brothers chuckles.
Fixing Up and Selling Model T Fords
The Wall-family settled down in Huntington Park, a city in the southeast area of Los Angeles County. Glen had started out with bicycles when the family was living in Minnesota. “When we moved to California I began with Model T Fords. You could buy a good Model T for 5 or 10 bucks. I bought my first one when I was about 14 years old.” “When we came to California you didn’t have to have a driver’s license like you do now,” Forey remembered. Glen used to fix his Model T’s up, “If somebody came along and bought it, you could earn 2-3 bucks. That was pretty good money back then,” Glen told Sondre.
The Long Beach Earthquake
All three Wall brothers attended Huntington Park High School. March 10, 1933, the Long Beach Earthquake took place south of downtown Los Angeles. The epicentre was offshore, southeast of Long Beach and damage to buildings was widespread throughout Southern California. 120 schools were destroyed or severely damaged, including Huntington Park, so the brothers were sent to South Gate. They didn’t have time for college “Back in our days nobody could afford to go to College,” Forey recalled.
Auto Shop Class
Glen took Auto Shop class at school, and he claims that he knew more than the auto shop class teacher did because he had been working on Model T’s, Model A’s and 1932 Fords with V8’s. Their friend Nick Pastor had a 1932 Ford V8 roadster that everyone admired. “At speed shifts sometimes, there was this little thing in the transmission, a pin, that would pop out, and you would lose second gear,” Glen recalled in 2016 “Nick took the roadster to the Ford dealer, and they wanted to pull the transmission out, so I took the top of the transmission off and got the little pin slid back. It took me probably 15 to 20 minutes to fix it. Nick then let me use the car for a whole week after that, and I became the big shot of the high school for a week. The car was so cool. It had two big mufflers on. One on each side.”
Glen and Forey had friends that were members of 100 mph clubs. The brothers didn’t have anything that went that fast, so they started their own club, the Throttle Throbbers, around 1935-1936. “We were just a bunch of kids. Somewhere between 5 and 10 members,” Forey recalled. “Any kid that had a car and could keep it clean got into the club.”
Dry Lakes Racing
Around 1938 Forey and Nick Pastor bought a 1928 Ford Model A roadster together for 25 dollars. “We started messing around with it, and found out that it had a Winfield head, a Winfield downdraft carburetor, a camshaft and everything,” Forey remembered. “It also had an overdrive transmission,” Glen added. Glen wanted to try the car at the dry lakes, so he took it up to Muroc with Floyd “Scavidi” Page in 1938. Scavidi, who was also a member of the Throttle Throbbers, drove the car on Muroc May 15, 1938. “He drove 92.7 mph and broke the timing gears going through the trap.” Forey believes Scavidi would have gone 100 something if the timing gears hadn’t broke!
Working at the Shipyard
When the War started in 1941, Glen and Forey went to work in the shipyard at Terminal Island for four years. Forey became a leadman, running machines that cut steel. “We cut made everything. Glen worked at the shipyard in Terminal Island too before he went into the Service. Glen riveted big plates with big hot rivets."
Glen went into the service in 1943. He was stationed in Texas where he went through 17 weeks of training. “13 weeks to become a sharpshooter and a rifleman. Then they put me in the motor pool. was supposed to go to officer candidates school, but about that time the war was over. It was 200 guys that took the test. But only 19 passed. I was one of them, and I was suppose to go to Officer Candidates school in Fort Wayne, Georgia. We heard over the radio that the war was over, so one guy ended up going. He made a career in the Army. The rest of us backed out. The only reason I wanted to go was the money.”
Lot Boy for Emil Dietrich
When Glen returned from the Army, he started working at a car lot. “I lived in Whittier back then. Around 1944 - 1945 I went to work for Emil Dietrich as a lot boy, dusting off cars and such. There were two guys that had these chopped 1939 Ford convertibles with Carson Tops on. They bought the cars new. One of them was named Art Ironfield, the other guy I can’t remember. Nick Pastor and Emil were partners. Nick was a pilot in the Air Force. Nick had to go into the service, and while he was gone, Emil sells me Art’s 1939 Ford for 850 dollars. I remember it had chromed trim on the sides. Emil ran the lot while Nick was away. They were asking 895 for the car, so when Nick came to work in a couple of days he got mader as hell at Emil for selling me that car 45 dollars cheaper then they were asking for it.” Nick and Emil’s lot was originally a real estate office that they rented from a guy called Lew Worley. They sold mostly plain cars. Emil was into hot rods, and he used to race in the weekends.
Glen's Top Chop Business
“It was the 1939 Ford that got me started customizing cars,” Glen recalled. “Everyone wanted to buy it from me. It was really popular, and I didn’t have it that long before I sold it off.” After that Glen started buying mainly 1939 Ford convertibles that he customized to sell and earn a profit on. “I liked the 1939 Fords, and they were very popular cars with the young guys. I cut the posts using a saw. I always took 2 inches out of the top. My chops were all the same. I welded the posts together with welding rods, laying a small bead as I could around the posts. Then I would take it down to a guy that would lead in the posts. He would also grind it down and put primer on. I always finished it off with a Carson Top. Sometimes we would take the cars to Carson Top Shop before we painted them. Other times after they were painted. Glen Houser usually made a top for me in a day. A day and a half at the most. A lot of the guys had to wait for a week, up to 10 days. I got them real quick. Glen put other cars aside to do mine. Glen was a young guy, and I knew that he liked to take a drink once in a while, so I often brought him a bottle of Whiskey. He was a real nice guy, and him and I got along real good,” Glen remembers.
The Winning Formula
Glen painted the cars at Emil’s lot. “Black was a good seller!” He never channeled any of his customs. “I didn’t think that was a good idea. I sunk the license plates in on some of them, but not on all. I used to cut it out half an inch smaller then it was suppose to be with a saw. Then I split the corners, and bent in the sheet. The lead guy would lead in the corners for me. I also opened up the rumble seat, and put a backing plate in there with a lamp in, so it could lighten up the license plate.” Other modifications included installing fenderskirts and hubcaps, dual exhaust, and two Appleton spotlights. “Some of the cars I would also remove the running boards on and install chromed or painted panels on. The chrome panels you could buy. We also bought a lot of those Buick chrome emblems for the skirts. I used to sell a chopped car for 1195 or 1295. The Carson Top was 125.” Glen would often dye the seats and door panels with shoe dye from Nulife shoe dye company in Los Angeles. Glen bought, restyled and sold cars for about 3 years. He worked on all kinds of cars from 1932 to 1946. He can’t remember how many he did, but he would guess around 20 - 25. “But that’s a conservative number,” Glen chuckled.
Moving on to Al Sirrot Used Cars
Glenn worked for Emil for about 8 years. “I used to polish cars with an electric buffer. Emil owned and ran the lot after the War. It was his lot, even though it said Nick Pastor.” Glen believes Emil had more money than Nick. After that, he went on to work for a car lot owned by Al Sirrot. “Al was a big used car dealer. I was a Service manager and mechanic. I used to get all the complaints, and I couldn’t take it anymore. I got too stressed out, and I told him I had to quit.”
Glen bought his first house in Whittier, California October 1st, 1950. “A brand new track house. The same month I went to Detroit and picked up a brand new Cadillac.” In 1954 Forey expanded his business, and he rented a bigger lot at 3900 E. Firestone Boulevard in South Gate. He kept the Lynwood lot, but he rented it out to a friend. At the time Glen had a pretty good job managing Ben Katzman’s used car dealership. During Christmas of 1954 Forey asked Glen if he wanted to go into business with him. Glen replied “You want to go into business with me? Yeah, I just rented a lot on Firestone. A whole block,” Forey replied.
January 1, 1955 Glen and Forey went into business together. They had seen an opportunity in the market, and decided to form “Wall Custom Cars,” a dealership specialized in selling and buying custom cars. Mike McCarthy, a Lincoln and Mercury dealer had been on the lot before Glen and Forey. They sold nothing, so they had to move.
One of the cars Glen had when they started the lot was a 1950 Mercury club coupe with a Cadillac engine. Glen had bought the Merc from Ben Katzman. Ben didn’t want to take the car as a trade-in, so he sold it to Glen for 500 bucks. They started out small, but it went overboard the first month. “The first month we were in business we sold 40 cars,” Forey and Glen recalled. When other dealers got hot rods and custom cars in on trades, they didn’t know what to do with them, so they would call Glen and Forey. “We would buy them cheap, as they wanted to get rid of them. We would sell them and make pretty good money. 500 or 600 dollars,” according to Forey.
The salesmen that worked for Glen and Forey got a 100 dollar bonus when they had sold 40 cars. “We used to have 80 cars at the lot. 1949 - 1950 Oldsmobiles were good sellers. Slant backs and holiday coupes. They were fast and kids loved them. We used to lower and nose them. We took a lot of cars to paint shops. Vern and Harry had a shop in Lynwood, and they did the paint and metal work on most of our cars. Vern was the metal man, and Harry was the painter. It was a small place and they did paint jobs for 50 bucks. They were good. They did a good job,” Forey recalled. The first year Glen and Forey were in business, Glen also went to Barris Kustoms once to have his 1950 Cadillac restyled. He took it to George Barris, telling him that he wanted to have 1952 taillights installed. “The 1952 Cadillac had a backup light right below the taillight. I went down there one week, and George told me the car would be ready next week. I returned after a week but my car was not around, so I asked George’s brother, where’s my car? Oh, my brother is driving it he said. I got my car back the next day, and George would not get any more work from me.” Glen was not happy due to the fact that George had the car for over a week and never touched the taillights, meanw,hile he was driving it around town.
The World’s Largest Custom Car Dealer
By 1959 Forey and Glen advertised their lot as the “World’s Largest Custom Car Dealer.” According to an ad they ran in Motor Trend magazine, they were paying top prices for custom cars. By then other dealers had seen what the Wall brothers were doing, selling all those custom cars, so they had started doing the same thing.
Work Hard, Play Hard
“All of the cars on the lot were ours, so we took out the ones we wanted and used them before selling them off. In 1959 I told Glen I’m gonna go down and buy us each a new Cadillac. I bought a black one and a silver one. I knew Glen always liked black, so I let him have the black one. Glen put Eldorado sidetrim on his. People thought he was nuts for drilling all the holes in the body of the Cadillac.” Glen also dressed his Cadillac up with dual Appleton spotlights and Continental Kit. “I had a friend who worked at a continental kit place, and he gave me a kit for a Cadillac and a 1955 Thunderbird that I bought new.”
Moving to Bellflower
“After 11 years in business, we had to move because we lost our lease in 1966.” Glen and Forey moved their business to 9665 Alondra Boulevard in Bellflower. At the time Forey was also in the construction business, so he built a 100-foot building where they could work on cars. The building also housed offices and bathrooms. As Forey was busy in the construction business, Glen took over the used car dealership. The location was not as good as the location in South Gate, and the business never did as well as it used to.
In 1966 Forey couldn’t borrow more money to build more houses, so he had to give up the construction business. He sold out to his partner, and went back to the car business. “I rented a lot down at Lakewood Blvd., on the other side of Artesia. I ran that for a few months before I moved up with Glen.” At the time Glen had run the custom car business on his own for 5 years. He sold the lot to Forey, and went on to open up Glen Wall Used Cars on Lakewood and Compton Boulevard. Glen ran the new lot for about 14 years before he in 1982 gave it to Forey and moved up north to Pleasanton, California with his wife Freida. Glen left the car business and went to work for his son in law at Air Factors. His son in law owned the business and they manufactured air distribution systems for commercial buildings. 85 years old he retired. Forey was in the car business for 50 years and kept selling used cars.
Brothers in Arms
In 2016 Glen moved down to Downey to live with his brother. At the time Glen was 99 years old. Forey was 102. The two brothers were in a good health, and they still maintained their home, drove around, went shopping, and banking on their own. Forey was still making a buck selling used cars, while Glen still worked on them. A couple of years before Glen moved in with his brother, he drove down to Downey and redid the electrical on a 1956 Chevrolet ½ ton long bed truck.
October 22, 2018 the world woke up to the sad news that Glen had passed away, 101 years old. Living in an assisted living facility, the family reported that Forey was doing ok, turning 105 years old on November 14th!
Glen Wall's Cars
Cars Restyled by Glen Wall
Jack Runyan's 1939 Ford Convertible
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