Wall Custom Cars
Forey started buying and selling cars in 1946 through is own business Forey Wall Used Cars. The lot was located at 10792 Long Beach Boulevard in Lynwood, California. “At the time I was living in South Gate. I had a few custom cars for sale in the lot, but not many,” Forey told Sondre Kvipt of Kustomrama in 2016. Al Sulminoff was Forey’s partner at the lot. Al and Forey hung out together and liked to have a good time. 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.
A Mexican kid named Reuben Vallodlid worked with Glen and Forey at the lot. Reuben, who had worked for Forey before, lowered the cars, while Glen was doing the mechanical work. Reuben and Glen were working together, while Forey took care of the office. “A guy used to come around selling lowering blocks, and we used to buy a case of lowering blocks. 2 inch, 3 inch and 4 inch. We also bought cases of hubcaps. About a dozen at the time,” Glen remembered. They used to take the hubcaps off the cars at nights so kids wouldn’t steal them. The good cars they were afraid off they kept in the showroom.
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.
As pinstriping became an attraction in every used-car dealership on Firestone Boulevard, Glen and Forey began offering pinstriping as a regular option. The Baron and Roth used to pinstripe cars on the lot. According to Forey, the Baron was the best. “He used to work for Ford Motor Company, striping the wooden spokes on Fords. He came with a bottle of whiskey, and by the end of the day the whole bottle was gone. He drank like a fish! They used to do our pinstriping, and they never paid any rent or anything to pinstripe on our lot. We let them do it for free, because on Saturday all the kids would come on over and see them do it. They also pinstriped and flamed cars that kids had bought from us. Sometime I would call them in the week, and they would stop by to do our jobs. They came in Saturday mornings, and striped all day. It was a good deal for both of us!”
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.”
Keith Christensen had the pleasure of meeting Glen and Forey in 1963. "At that time I owned Gene's Tire and Gene's Mufflers," Keith told Sondre Kvipt of Kustomrama in 2019, "so it fit in well as a supply of what they added to the car." Keith remembers that everything they did, they had to do perfectly, as Glen and Forey were very particular. "I met Glen when he brought in a 1956 Chevrolet Bel Air and ordered the complete package of wheels, tires, and exhaust. On the exhaust, it was long, quiet glaspak mufflers and a set of our now famous Bellflower Chrome tips. When Glen, on that first meeting with me, introduced himself, I was taken aback by the friendly, congeniality and manners he put forth. Added to that and always after that, I would see him and he would always be dressed in very modest, best of clothes. The best word is "Impeccable." And that was consistent with both of them. Quite a departure from the average dealers we were doing business with. Not criticizing the other dealers, but they would send lot boys, dressed in all modes and it really made Glenn and Forey stand out."
Moving to Bellflower
“After 11 years in business, we had to move because we lost our lease in 1966,” Glen told Sondre. 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.
Keith Christensen remembers well when Glen and Forey moved to Bellflower, "with it came a group of cars that were above and beyond the normal run of the mill, mass-production cars. They truly were specialists in giving a car identity, as then we didn't have the generic cars coming from Detroit like we do now. They chose the top of the line cars with extras offered back then. No plain Jane models. All the cars gave them the base to work from, as cars of that day offered things like Vinyl seat covers, AM radios, Blackwall tires made of nylon cord, etc. This gave Glen and Forey a decided advantage, which was a wise judgment on their part. In fact, I saw my first 45 rpm record player in one of the cars they brought to my shop." According to Keith Glen and Forey always sold their cars at a premium price, "as there was not, what is called Kelly Blue Book extras for the many add-ons they bought from me. The cars always had a great eye-candy appearance and they used the best detailer in our area of Bellflower. The cars were show perfect. They bought only the top of the line rims tires and exhaust from me."
Keith remembers asking Glenn about their motive in moving the lot from South Gate to Bellflower, "and he said they were trying to reach a whole new audience and the Bellflower area of California had a large group of automotive specialty shops, like Larry Watson the painter and Bill's Body Shop, as well as pinstripers and body shops. In a nut, Glenn stated, they got a new audience and exposure to a group of specialists in customizing cars. He was totally right, as their business prospered and from that, I attained the best relationships of both of them."
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.
Did you enjoy this article?
Kustomrama is an encyclopedia dedicated to preserve, share and protect traditional hot rod and custom car history from all over the world.
- Help us keep history alive. For as little as 2.99 USD a month you can become a monthly supporter. Click here to learn more.
- Subscribe to our free newsletter and receive regular updates and stories from Kustomrama.
- Do you know someone who would enjoy this article? Click here to forward it.
Can you help us make this article better?
Please get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have additional information or photos to share about Wall Custom Cars.
This article was made possible by:
SunTec Auto Glass - Auto Glass Services on Vintage and Classic Cars
Finding a replacement windshield, back or side glass can be a difficult task when restoring your vintage or custom classic car. It doesn't have to be though now with auto glass specialist companies like www.suntecautoglass.com. They can source OEM or OEM-equivalent glass for older makes/models; which will ensure a proper fit every time. Check them out for more details!
Do you want to see your company here? Click here for more info about how you can advertise your business on Kustomrama.