LOCAL HAPPENINGS AND MORE IN THE SOUTH ORANGE COUNTY CITY OF SAN CLEMENTE

Category: Locals

Chet Frohlich

Chet Frohlich Photography

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Not only is the OC one of the most scenic places anywhere, it’s also a hub of high-tech industry, gorgeous beaches and beautiful people. The lifestyles here are active, full and diverse. It’s a top vacation destination and an economic force to be reckoned with.

“Orange County is almost impossible to put into words, so why not say it with pictures?” asks Chet Frohlich, owner and creative force behind OC Stock Photos. “I believe there is a real demand for great photography here, for everything from advertisers to calendars, books and brochures… almost anything visual.” Frohlich, a successful commercial photographer and resident of Orange County for over 25 years, began to notice that the larger stock photography agencies lacked good selections of OC images, while the micro-stock agencies didn’t meet quality standards.

The idea behind OC Stock Photos is to build an unequalled visual library that speaks to who and what Orange County is all about. “The library is growing daily,” Frohlich says. “I’ve been blessed to live and work in such a great place, why not share it?” In an effort to promote the work of his colleagues and help fellow artists succeed, Frohlich is partnering with many talented photographers in the area. Recent additions like Steve Taylor, Bill Thompson, Andy Templeton and Rod Foster have greatly enriched the image library.

“It’s a process,” says Frohlich’s wife and asset manager, Michelle. “But we strive for excellence and grow a little bit more every day.”

Stock Photography

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Everyone’s Best Friend

Tony Carbonara

“I offer San Clemente to the lovers of beautiful California, with a firm conviction that there are many who will appreciate what I am doing and who will help to make it The Village Beautiful.” –Ole Hanson

Written by Brad wright

San Clemente is where Tony Carbonara provided sunshine, each day—365 days a year. He made San Clemente into The Village Beautiful, even when he was in Chicago or Vegas.

Tony and San Clemente were synonymous. Boxers have entourages, and golfers have galleries, Tony had an army. An army of friends. Rank was not important in Tony’s army—you had a heart, Tony could hear it beat.

I just found out Tony was everyone’s best friend in San Clemente, where until now I thought it was only myself, Bob Novello and Tony.

“There was no Tony without Bob, and there was no Bob without Tony, even when they were apart,” says fellow comrade Leo Gibbons. “Bob was Tony’s best friend. After that we all were.”

Tony wasn’t just my friend, Tony was my brother. The Wrights will feel Tony and breathe a part of him forever, as will all of San Clemente, and it will be cross-generational.

What will San Clemente become without Tony Carbonara? A dinner without the wine brought, a kiss with your sister or a dance with your brother’s girlfriend… It’s Fred Astaire without Ginger Rogers, a beach without waves, a morning walk across Avenida Del Mar without Tony’s belly in the lead, on the way to Cafe Calypso.

Walt Disney needed to meet this guy—he would have caricaturized Tony, who was always meeting someone across the street, to design and strategize on how to make San Clemente more beautiful, better, safer, friendlier and of course, more generous as a community.

Tony was to San Clemente what Clark Gable was to Gone with the Wind, what Judy Garland was to The Wizard of Oz, what Frank Sinatra was to his famous song, “I’ll do it my Way.”

Tony was the stud poker element of San Clemente. He was certainly typecast as the (good) Godfather of San Clemente. In my eyes, Ole Hanson had nothing on Tony Carbonara. No person and his family—his “la familia”—did more or gave more to San Clemente, at least not since 1925, Dick Arons and Tony played to a tie.

So it all came down to Sudden Death Overtime. Death ran Tony down from behind in the third quarter but declared sudden death. Tony got no overtime, and Death ran over Tony’s family, friends, kids, grand kids and every resident of San Clemente who knew him.

Death got lucky—Tony’s QB called the wrong play and it was sudden death for Tony, who should have traded for Jim Everett before the trading deadline. He would have made a better call than the doctor with Tony’s blood pressure so high.

A stroke for Tony Carbonara—take him down with one hit—are you kidding us? A stroke so sudden, conspired against nature, diabolical at best.

Let San Clemente tell you something, Death: You lose, this overtime period never ends, it’s called a legacy… and it is Tony’s.

Cheaters never win, Death, and you cheated us all. But from now on, when anyone mentions Tony’s name in this seaside village we will all smile, exalting glory. We actually thank you, Death. The glue Tony spread throughout this community is now more adhesive, more bonded and galvanized than ever. You picked the wrong opponents; we rebuke you. Go elsewhere.

Tony once told me, “Brad, go ahead, knock the chip off your enemy’s shoulder but make sure you look over your own shoulder before you do so.” This was Tony.

“Brad, let me tell you something,” he would say to me during one of our life conversations, “This is the bottom line…” He would move his spectacles toward his forehead with his forefinger, a half smile and brown eyes gleaming at my soul. Tony was not right every time but he was right most of the time, specifically when it came to relationships.

Tony was a puppy with kids but a mountain lion when it came to standing up for a friend. Tony understood the truth. He also knew when someone tried to twist it and he would say “Let me tell you something…”

Tony played for everyone’s alma mater, and he played the game for free. He was Rudy for Notre Dame, Marcus Allen for USC, and he was everything for San Clemente.

I feel Jennifer Blake said it best: “Tony was a man’s man who completely understood women. He was definitely one of a kind.”

Tony’s horse will always come in first, the eternal figurehead of San Clemente.

I heard someone ask Bob Novello how old Tony Carbonara was when we let him go. Bob answered that he was “59 X 2” and then he Pictured is Tony carbonara’s birthplace, Bria, Italy added that there was no possible way to do everything Tony did, generated or gave in 59 years on earth. Bob went on to explain that “it wasn’t possible to keep up with this guy, he would not stop and it positively impacted most organizations in this community.” And, obviously by the testimony of his life celebration, it affected more individuals than we’ll ever know.

As my man Bob said, no one other than Tony could do this in 59 short years. Tony lived 59 X 2 giving, generous years. The math is exact. We got two for one with this man.

San Clemente without Tony Carbonara. Now we know how Chicago felt.

If you were not at the Casa Romantica for the celebration of Tony’s life, I probably don’t know you, or you hadn’t heard yet that Tony had gone on to be with his father in heaven. Our Father, the champion of the skies, provided not just a mere sunset in San Clemente that evening, but a spectacular skyline picture with God’s own paintbrush that seemed to stretch almost to eternity. I’m not sure about you, but it will be eternally embedded in my soul.

Hey Tony, let me tell you something this time, you died a billionaire with an army of friends. “La Familia!” Do not cry my friend, hear me and talk to me again, I will love you from heaven as I have loved you on earth. Goodbye Tony, from your brother Brad, sister Rose and our kids Brianna Marquee, Colby Bryant and Tanner McCall, all of whom you and you’re beloved wife Mary helped to raise. Each one of our kids was in your restaurant before they were two months old; we love you and yours. Thank you for your kindness to us, our community and for the memories of laughter. Tony, you lived a purpose-filled life.

“San Clemente is where the sunshine spends its winters.” –Ole Hanson

The Beach Road Story

doheny

A Pocket of Paradise

The Beach Road Story

Capistrano Beach, California

By Joe Dunn

A Little Town Called Serra

Capistrano Beach’s downtown was known as Serra when the California Central Railroad (which was affiliated with the Santa Fe) pushed down from Los Angeles in 1887 and built the area’s first and only train station, on Victoria Boulevard. Soon after, the railroad constructed a spur track on to the beach and created a lot subdivision named San Juan by the Sea. The next year, the line was connected to San Diego by slicing off the base of the palisades of the Boca de la Playa; this enabled prospective buyers to arrive from both the north and the south. Santa Fe’s Pacific Land and Improvement Company developed shops, a dance pavilion, and a bathhouse, which resulted in the construction of the Pioneer Hotel. Lots ranging from $250 to $1,800 went on the market and apparently sold quite well. However, by the mid-1890s, due in part to poor water supply, a lumber shortage, national economic conditions and the Santa Fe’s lack of promotion, the development was a bust. The community’s identity reverted to Serra and remained so until the early 1920s.

The Dohenys

Turn-of-the-century adverse economic conditions, followed by a world war, prohibited further development. But the boom of the Roaring Twenties reached down even to the sleepy farming community of Serra/Capistrano Beach, as well as to Dana Point. The earliest title policy written for lands that included Beach Road was in 1892, in the name of M. A. Forster, and then again in his estate on August 8, 1906. On November 7, 1924, John O. Forster and others deeded our beach property and substantial acreage on the palisades to the First National Bank of Santa Ana, who acted on behalf of famed oil tycoon Edward L. Doheny and his son Edward L. (Ned) Doheny, Jr. On May 9, 1925, a display ad appeared in the Los Angeles Evening Herald that offered three miles of bathing beach and 1,000 acres of home sites for sale. (In those days, developers could advertise and sell prior to recording a tract map.) Prices started at $400 per lot and included such improvements as oiled streets, water and electricity.

The Doheny story is in all the history books and now on the Internet, and it is indeed spectacular. In brief form, it goes something like this: A 36-year-old second-generation Irish prospector with some geology background in 1892 arrives in Los Angeles broke and, with a partner, digs a hole in a vacant lot in the Echo Park neighborhood. They struck oil at 460 feet and never looked back. Thereafter gushers were found in Fullerton and the Kern River valley, followed by control of one million acres fronting the Gulf of Mexico, thereby establishing the Mexican oil industry. By 1925 Edward Doheny’s net worth was estimated to be over $100 million (in 1925 dollars). The Dohenys had money to invest, and the Capistrano Beach development was just the vehicle in which to diversify their investments and give USC graduate and World War I naval officer son Ned something to do.

The Beach Road tract map was recorded in January 1928. There were 194 lots varying in width from 30 feet to 40 feet and in depth from 60-plus feet to more than 200 feet. Two additional lots were created in the 1970s from a small parcel at the south end of the road. At some point, perhaps from the beginning, the first 43 lots as you enter the community were zoned for two-family dwellings (R-2), and the remaining 151 lots for single-family dwellings. The deed restrictions (known as CC&Rs) placed on the development (including race restrictions that were outlawed in the 1950s) were minor compared to today’s subdivision standards, and they all have long expired.

A construction company headed by Luther Eldridge was formed and a lumber mill, yard and hardware store were constructed at the foot of the palisades on what is now Coast Highway. Eldridge and his crew built four houses on the Road, the Capistrano Beach Club, a lovely residence for the family at the top of the stone steps on the face of the palisades, and a few more on palisades lots, primarily to help the marketing campaign get into full swing. A featured attraction of the development was the Capistrano Beach Club—a sprawling Spanish-tiled structure featuring hand-painted beams and ceilings, swimming pool, marine dinning room, ballroom and the Swallows Nest bar. An equally important improvement was the 1,200-foot-long sportfishing Capistrano pier for charter boats as well as shore-based anglers.

The Birth of the Hobie Cat

Wayne Schafer and Phil Edwards both had backgrounds in blue-water sailing—they brought back yachts from the L.A.-to-Acapulco race. And when Phil designed and built two catamarans in Wayne’s yard, they got the attention of local surfboard kings Hobie Alter and Grubby Clark. They figured that with their existing surfing clientele and maybe even the rest of the beach-oriented populace, they had a built-in market for those wanting to be able to sail out and back in through the waves on those days when it was too windy to surf—which is most days, especially in the afternoon. So Grubby came up with the right foam core for the hulls and Hobie and his team built prototypes and tested them in the surf and wind of Poche until they had a lightweight cat that could be handled by one person and could go through the surf without breaking the rudders.

The first Hobie Cat regatta was held with four boats at Poche on the 4th of July 1968 and won by Hobie’s chief test pilot, Dana Point resident Sandy Banks. Wayne’s friend Dick Barrymore of ski-film fame, made a film of the first sleek fourteen-foot Hobie Cat riding the Poche waves. It was shown on a continuous-feed color TV at the Southern California Boat show with such success that it moved on from boat show to boat show across the country. The rest is history. One of the big appeals of the Hobie Cat class of boats was that they could easily be transported and launched anywhere. They were Everyman boats; marinas and yacht clubs were not required.

In the late 1960s, Wayne’s compound became so crowded on weekends, with Hobie’s camper, several of his employees/test sailors and assorted camp followers, that some directors of the CBD lodged complaints citing Wayne’s Tahitian beach structures as nonconforming buildings. A lifelong supporter of the Beach Road way of life, Wayne pointed out other apparent violations on the Road, and the matter was finally settled when Hobie removed his camper and the weekend crowds thinned out. Wayne went on to help promote Hobie Cat regattas nationally and internationally and in fact won several championships along with Hobie’s sons, Hobie, Jr., and Jeff, in both the fourteen- and sixteen-foot classes. These victories were fitting capstones to the creation of the most successful boat of its type in the world, whose birthplace was in Wayne’s yard on the sands of Poche. Today there are 150 Hobie Cat fleets in 30 countries around the world.

Hobie Alter, a longtime Beach Road resident who now resides in the San Juan Islands, Washington, and Palm Desert, California, tells the story of the time he had an après-sail Q&A session with regatta contestants, asking them, “Where are you from and why did you buy a Hobie Cat?” A sailor stood up and said, “I was at home in Chicago in February and couldn’t get my car out of the garage to go to work because there was so much snow. So I sat down, opened the paper and saw a picture of Wayne Schafer sailing his boat out through the surf in the middle of a Southern California winter and immediately decided to change my lifestyle!”

The Poche Surf Club

There are weird things done in the SoCal sun By the men who toil for surf. And the Beach Road trails have their secret tales, That would drive most men to curse. The O.C. lights have seen strange sights, But the strangest they ever did see, Was that night on the sand at Schafer land, The Poche Surf Club came to be.

The above was written by former Beach Road resident, weekly Poche denizen, restaurateur and surfer John Creed, adapted from Robert W. Service’s “The Cremation of Sam McGee.” It was used in a short story John wrote about the Poche Surf Club, the perfect organization for a bunch of beach bums who have turned a sport into a way of life. It wasn’t founded; it just is. There is no charter, no dues, no officers, no agenda and no official membership—it’s a No Club. Nonetheless, it exists, if only in the minds and memories of the countless personalities who have spent time at the Schafer compound or paddled out to the surf break.

The main, outside surf break is over a series of reefs known as “The Garden,” 100 to 200 yards out from shore depending on the size of the swell, with the takeoff spot on a south swell just about straight out from the Disney house at 35827. Generally the left is a better wave, but on a west swell, the right can be very good. The break is very tide-sensitive and can shut down quickly if the swell is not too big. Also, on a big high-tide south swell, the inside break can be very good, especially for the younger shortboard set. Today the stand-up paddle surfers have made Poche one of their favorite haunts.

As surfers are wont to do, they often name beaches after local landmarks, in this case a long-removed sign on the railroad tracks that simply read “POCHE.” Old-timers remember a train-track siding in the general vicinity that it may have identified. There are lots of theories on the genesis and meaning of the sign, but none have been able to be verified. The word poche in French means pocket. It is identified on the Internet as the proper name of a French/ Belgium family of soldiers who immigrated to Louisiana to fight in the War of 1812. One theory is that a descendant of this Poche family was an officer in the Civil War and had been recruited after the war to lead a detachment protecting the Santa Fe railroad and its employees as they pushed the tracks west through hostile Indian territory. Hence the sign was recognition of services past. And when the owner of the long-closed San Gabriel restaurant El Poche Cafe was asked about the origin of his establishment’s name, he said it referred to a Mexican commoner. Whatever!

The Garden is a haven for lobsters, so when the season starts in October, local fishermen set their traps throughout the surf break. An occasional long-lasting major fall swell can deposit lobster-laden traps up on the beach. In years gone by the Garden was loaded with abalone, and the Poche crew made it their pocket of paradise by picking the bounty at will. For a variety of reasons, natural and manmade, the abalone population has all but expired in the area, and if they’re out there now, they’re a protected species.

Dana Point Ocean Institute Local Scene

The Ocean Institute and Maddie James Foundation Celebrate the Grand Opening of the Maddie James Seaside Learning Center at the Third Annual A Mile for Maddie Fundraising Walk

OceanInstitute1 The Ocean Institute and Maddie James Foundation Celebrate the Grand Opening of the Maddie James Seaside Learning Center at the Third Annual A Mile for Maddie Fundraising Walk The Ocean Institute and Maddie James Foundation are proud to announce the third annual A Mile for Maddie fundraising walk on Saturday, May 18, 2013. This year’s walk, presented by Pediatric Dentistry of San Clemente, will be combined with the Grand Opening of the Maddie James Seaside Learning Center. All net proceeds from the walk will benefit the Maddie James Seaside Learning Center at Dana Point’s Ocean Institute. More than 1,600 walkers have participated in A Mile for Maddie over the past two years and have raised $160,000. These funds have been instrumental in helping to achieve the Maddie James Foundation’s initial goal of raising $1 million to secure the naming rights to the Maddie James Seaside Learning Center at the Ocean Institute. “Celebrating the grand opening of the Maddie James Seaside Learning Center on the same morning as A Mile for Maddie could not be more fitting”, said Kajsa James, Maddie’s mother, co-founder of the Maddie James Foundation and VP of Development for the Ocean Institute. “We will be able to share this momentous day with those who have supported us, and show them firsthand what they helped build.” OceanInstitute3 At 10:00 a.m. on the same morning of the walk, all registered participants will take part in the grand opening celebration of the Maddie James Seaside Learning Center. The Center is built on the water and features new educational facilities that will introduce thousands of K-12 students and visitors from Orange County and beyond to current and emerging issues in oceanography, environmental science and maritime history. “Developing this first-class oceanography and marine science educational facility has been a goal of the Ocean Institute for more than 10 years”, said Dan Stetson, President and CEO of the Ocean Institute. “The achievement of this goal brings an added sense of excitement for what the future holds for the Ocean Institute and all those who will visit here. Returning as Celebrity Chair for the event is marine life artist and conservationist Wyland, who will host an exclusive dinner on August 25, 2013 for the top fundraisers from the walk. For every $500 raised, individuals will receive one ticket to this exclusive dinner. The dinner will be held at the Ocean Institute and catered by award-winning, Orange County-based Zov’s Bistro and Peligroso Tequila. Walkers who continue to raise more than $500 in pledges will earn multiple tickets. The individual who raises the most funds will receive special recognition on August 25th, and will become the owner of a one-of-a-kind artwork that Wyland will paint that evening. Additional prizes for top fundraising teams can be found on A Mile for Maddie web site. What: A Mile for Maddie, a 1.2-mile family-friendly fundraising walk around the coastal bluffs of Dana Point and the Grand Opening Celebration of the Maddie James Seaside Learning Center. OceanInstitute2 When: Saturday, May 18, 2013 at 8:00 a.m. / Grand Opening Ceremony at 10:00 a.m. Where: Starting line is at Strand Vista Park (at the end of Selva Road) in Dana Point Registration: $30 for adults; $20 for children. Online registration closes on May 15. visit: http://www.amileformaddie.com/ to register

El Camino Auto

El Camino Auto

San Clemente’s Master Class

By: Stephanie A. Klein

It’s downright impressive—the size, scale and history of the operation at El Camino Automotive Center.  The shop is the size of a small dealership, comprised of 10 bays big enough to fit any car, whether classic, modern or recreational. Located near the Ave Pico off-ramp, it sits on a secure lot of almost 2-acres and houses a team of master mechanics with well over a century’s-worth of collective experience, serving almost four generations of loyal South Coast customers.

El Camino Auto’s “Master Class” (what they call their collection of automotive experts) is led by founder and frontman RJ Blickhan, who has long been known as “the auto guy,” straight back to his days at San Clemente HS when he raced motorcycles. Back then, he was employed at the full-service 76 station on El Camino Real at the south end of town alongside his dad, Roger Blickhan II.

In 1990, Blickhan was fresh out of college from San Diego State where he’d studied public administration and majored in “having a good time,” when he and his dad bought the 76 station and continued serving and acquiring local customers. We’re talking generations of business professionals, parents and their coming-of-age kids who still bring their cars to Blickhan today.

As the business continued to grow throughout the ‘90s, Blickhan continued to do what he loved, splitting his time between the shop during the week and racing professional motocross on the weekends. He ultimately competed freestyle in the ’99 Summer X-Games at the San Francisco Pier.

ElCaminoAuto

From there, he accepted an invitation to serve as head judge for the event and created the consistent criteria for judging freestyle motocross still used to this day. He also formed FBI (Flying Bike Industry), a cohort of 15-20 seasoned riders who, over the next 8 years, judged upwards of 260 freestyle motocross competitions. By the time he opted out in 2007, the game had changed dramatically, as had things back at home.

The station’s neighboring Coco’s restaurant had new developers, which meant big changes for the 76 station. Fortunately, the parties each had different interests: the developers wanted no part of the auto repair shop—the one part of the business lot that Blickhan was determined to hold onto. A spot became available in the historic downtown business district, so Blickhan sold the station and salvaged the shop, moving it eight blocks up the street, and minting it “El Camino Automotive.”

Pictured is frontman RJ Blickhan and Preston Wilson

Over the next few years the shop thrived. All the while, Blickhan kept his eye out for another, more permanent spot. They did a lot of fancy footwork to keep up with the 30-50 cars a day their reputation brought in. Blickhan even hired a guy whose only job was to park the cars on public streets and bring them up when they were ready to be serviced. But despite the challenges, he “loved the location and the feel of downtown.” He bided his time, growing his arsenal of state-of-the-art equipment and assembling his dream team of service writers and mechanics—his Master Class.

It was a Woodie that took the business even further, a fluke really. In 2009, Preston Wilson, a fellow SCHS graduate, vintage car enthusiast and long-time friend brought his fully restored 1950 Ford Country Squire “Woodie” in for some motor work.

Wilson knew that Blickhan’s master mechanic, Larry McCombs, was an ace in the pocket for any car that’s got a little age on it. McCombs knew the motor from one end to the other, and Blickhan wanted to help Wilson out. But the shop was just so busy! Wilson, an avid volleyball player, surfer and surf-rocker, is also a numbers guy—he’s a graduate of Brigham Young University and holds an MBA in Marketing/Management.  Bottom line: He could do the math. And the truth was, RJ needed to add one more person to his team. “He had reached a workload he just couldn’t handle by himself,” Wilson says.

ElCaminoAuto2 Wilson also recognized what a stellar and unique set of skills and equipment Blickhan had assembled and was adamant that people needed to know about it. This recognition birthed an idea, which led to a business dinner, which led to a smile that hasn’t gone away for either one of them since.  And so grew El Camino’s Master Class by a very important addition of one—Preston Wilson.

“Adding Preston to the business end of things was the absolute right thing to do. I knew I needed somebody dedicated to managing the numbers. It leaves me open to take care of the cars.  We couldn’t be more different, more night and day,” Blickhan laughs. “But he had the same exact vision as I did:  Let’s get a bigger shop.”

And that’s just what they did. Sharing a mutual love for cars, their hometown and a commitment to providing the absolute best customer value and experience, when the perfect location presented itself, they were ready. In January of 2011, they opened in a spacious spot on Ave Navarro, right in one of San Clemente’s two automotive districts, complete with a rare city permit for 24/7 operation.  If anyone can put that permit to good use, it’s these guys.

Now, thanks to their incomparable reputation, equipment, and specialized team, they boast the largest independent automotive service center in South OC, and maintain the most extensive corporate account-base in all of Orange County, offering VIP services which keep your business running and your workday undisturbed.

“Car repair is such a small part of life,” Blickhan says. “Or at least it should be. We want to keep it that way for our customers.  We want them to know that nothing’s gonna go wrong at this shop.”

And boy, do they ever mean it.

ElCaminoAuto1 El Camino Auto maintains the vehicles of every plumbing company in San Clemente, from basic pick-ups to large box vans. They take care of all the Chase banks, as well as South Coast Distributing, one of the area’s largest janitorial supply companies, servicing their entire fleet, even diesel vehicles.

Rick Arons of South Coast Distributing, itself a 62-year staple in San Clemente business, has no question as to the value of their services. “I can’t say enough how they’ve saved us thousands of dollars—so much money, even on tires. The honesty, fast work, and courtesy,” he attests. Arons has been relying on RJ since he and Roger first won him over roughly 20 years ago.

“Old school,” is what Julie Ragenovich of Sonny’s Pizza & Pasta calls it—and we know she wouldn’t use that term lightly. As Sonny’s business expands into catering and deliveries, she knows she will be relying on El Camino Auto even more. “They go the extra mile to give you the service. I love going there.”

Eric Johnson of South Coast Fire, another one of EL Camino’s corporate accounts, brings them every one of his vehicles, even his boat trailer, and sends his mother there, too. “They jump right on it, get it back on the road, and send me a bill at the end of the month,” says Johnson. “I’ve been other places in town that have been there a long time, and it seems like they do a good job at first, but after a while it’s apparent they’re just not as skilled.  At El Camino Auto, their level of service hasn’t changed.”

El Camino Auto also has a number of surf industry accounts: O’Neill, Ripcurl, Volcom. Got a motorhome?  Their lifts are big enough to hoist it! They run a completely green shop for all your basic auto repair and maintenance, and they can also custom-build the car of your dreams, classic to modern, or execute a full frame-off renovation.

ElCaminoAuto3 Nicknamed Preston “Will Go,” Wilson spends a portion of his days filling in the holes to keep the business running with well-oiled efficiency. Sometimes that means picking up a part, or running a customer home or back to work.  He is often spotted at the STGE Power Plant servicing their fleet of over 1,100 vehicles, or back and forth from the San Onofre Military Base where they donate time and at least a 15% discount to military families in conjunction with The Wounded Warriors Project and Words of Comfort, Hope and Promise.

“If you’re not bringing your car to us, then you’re paying somebody too much money,” Wilson says. We believe him.