About Art

Art started out in New York City as an amateur “muscle car” builder in the late 1960’s. After surviving a tour of duty in Vietnam, he traveled around the USA, Mexico and Canada while maintaining a series of Volkswagen Buses. After checking out all of the cool places on this continent to live, Art fell for the SF Bay Area in the mid 70’s. When he found out about the automotive trade program at The College of Alameda, he talked his way to the front of a waiting list of 250! After completing the highly demanding two-and-a-half year course, he was offered a job by one of the instructors who owned a successful shop in Berkeley (Motor City Automotive). Finally, in a professional environment, Art gained much needed experience in performing and selling auto repair.

Two years of six-day work weeks with the now-retired instructor as his private tutor, Art prepared to open Art’s Automotive in June of 1980. Working alone in his back yard for four years, Art fell in love with Japanese-made cars, and vowed never to work on any other kind. In 1984, Art was offered the chance to be a sweat equity partner in a piece of San Pablo Ave. property, where the main building of Art’s Automotive now stands. Employees were hired and equipment was purchased. Within two years, the land-lady was bought out. This led to the first of several expansions including construction of a new workshop in 1989, adding an annex in 1993, a new office building in 1995 and a second annex in 1997! In 2000 the property next to the main shop (formerly Smith’s Garage) was purchased. We installed a third annex for car storage and tire installation, and rented the rest of the space to La Loma 7, the body shop that used to be next door.

In 2007, the lease on the third building was about to expire and the land-lady wanted to triple the rent. We had to ask our tenant, La Loma, to move out. Now the synergy of the two shops was developed. At the end of 2007, the land-lady gave up the fight and sold the last building to us, which became the parking emporium. We can keep cars off the street and safely store equipment.

Art has now hired three full time managers, and seven ASE-certified master technicians, each with advanced level specialist and some with smog licenses. In 2010, Art hired a specific lube technician to allow greater flexibility in our work load to accommodate the “small stuff” allowing the other mechanics to focus their efforts. With help from long-time friend Ann as an excellent bookkeeper, Art’s Automotive has moved into a position that draws envy from many of our competitors. Art’s Automotive has won the East Bay Express’s “Best of the Bay” award for the last fourteen years straight, and the SF Chronicle’s “Best of the Bay” award in 2000! Art’s Automotive now offers bumper-to-bumper service including maintenance, engines, cooling systems, electrical diagnosis, brakes, tires, alignment, transmissions, fuel systems and driveability solutions. We also have added Hybrid specialization through technical training and advanced equipment, which will allow us to prepare for the up-coming Electric Vehicle stage of automotive repair.

By having the luxury of so much work space in a good location and great employees, Art’s Automotive will be able to continue to offer a good blend of high quality service and low prices for years to come.