About

Art’s Automotive — Mechanics with experience

This is a yellow page ad from 1982. Allow me to explain for the younger audience. In the olden times, there was no internet, no Google, and no smart phones. If you wanted to make a call, you used a phone attached to a wire in your house. To make a call you had two choices: dial a number that you’d memorized, or look the number up in a phone book. Phone books had two flavors — white and yellow. The telco gave you a free listing in the white pages if you had a phone for personal use. The yellow pages were for businesses. Your number was published for free, but in tiny print that would never be noticed amidst the giant advertisement with exciting pictures. This was our exiting ad from 1982. Note that we work on Datsun, a Japanese brand gone since 1983. History. Art’s Automotive was there.

40 Years. Same spot.

Art’s Automotive has been in business in the same location for over 40 years. We repair select makes of Japanese cars with a specialty in hybrid vehicles. When Art first opened the doors, we had only two bays, but we’ve grown to occupy half the block. Art owns the property so our rent is stable and much of our equipment has been paid off years ago. This gives us more flexibility when it comes to pricing, and we’re able to charge less than much of our competition while still remaining profitable.

Is there still an Art, or is it more like a Colonel Sanders sorta deal?

You may wonder, 40 years later, is Art still part active of Art’s Automotive. He sure is! He’s delegated most of his day to day responsibilities to Lute and Paul, but he’s still offering guidance and helping to steer the ship. He’s taking more time off and enjoying life, but Art’s Automotive is still very much Art’s Automotive, and likely will be forever, even if we need to change the name to Art’s Automotive and flying car repair.

Many of the things that make us who we are haven’t changed since Art opened the doors. Our motto — “Thorough, Competent, and Caring” hasn’t changed to a “mission statement”. I mean, maybe we could change is to “Building automotive repair synergies aligned with shareholder value while creating value added opportunities for customers using best practices”, if you guys think it sound good. But seriously, we set out to be a shop that we could refer friends and family to, and that’s still important to us.

An ariel view of Art's Automotive from 1985 with vintage Japanese cars

Times have changed, and Art’s has changed with them

Many aspects of car repair are the same as they’ve been since the early 1900s. Some things are a very different though. The march of technology stops for no shop. Either you keep up and embrace lifelong learning, or you quickly become obsolete. Our skills and equipment have changed along with the cars.

When cars moved to fuel injection in the early 1990s, Art’s moved along with them. In the 2000s, cars became rolling computer networks and Art’s broke out our laptops and oscilloscopes. When service manuals were replaced with 20,000 page databases behind manufacturer paywalls in the 2010s, Art’s Automotive subscribed to them all and put on our library science hats and got busy.

The original Art's Automotive building
Here’s the original Art’s Automotive. Two bays, and the beginning of Art’s dream: to one day have the best auto repair shop in Berkeley. Arts office was in the loft above the work area.
The original Art's Automotive obscured with newer auto repair buildings
Here you can still see some of the original building. Art built a second work space with two bays in 1994. It was completed a day before the Loma Prieta quake. In late 1996, the office building was completed.

Now in the 2020s, ADAS (Advanced Driver Assistance Systems) are the new hotness. These baby steps toward self-driving cars are being legislated into existence, so like it or not, even your economy car will likely have telematics, sonar, lidar, “AI” reviewing stereo cameras some time this decade, and Art’s will be ready.

We offer just about all automotive services, with the exception of body repair and smog testing. Check out our services page for more information on the services we offer. We may be a little biased, but we have the best team in the East Bay Area, and you can learn a little about the people who make up Art’s Automotive here. We’ve been writing automotive articles and posting them on our website for over 20 years. You’re welcome to read them here.