Harry & Sons Radiator Shop ~ 9344 Valley Blvd. ~ (626) 288-0644 ~ Rosemead
Harry & Sons specialize in vintage, classic and antique radiator repair. In 1938, Harry Trepanier of Luddington, Michigan, opened Harry’s Garage in Santa Monica, CA. In Michigan, he’d flown and sold old airplanes out of Trepanier Airfield, until an aggravated asthma condition sent him and his two sons packing for sea breeze and California sun. One mechanic at Harry’s, Joe, 71 years old, has worked here since he arrived from Mexico at the age of eighteen. Mrs. Trepanier, who drives a 1913 Cadillac and staffs the front office, has been married to Harry for at least 27 years. There’s no website, “but plenty cobwebs.” The family has participated in a traveling antique roadshow and loaned their collection to movie shoots, which explains the incredible car collection in the yard. A fire engine, buses, cars, and antique bicycles were paraded around with well dressed mannequins behind the wheels and seated in the vintage paddy wagon from Sing Sing Prison. Years ago, Harry & Sons refurnished cars for Disneyland. One time, Robert (Bob) Jani, legendary event producer and L.A. native, asked Harry & Sons to build a custom bicycle for Liberace to ride on the opening day of Walt Disney World in FL. Three 5′ wheels carried a piano which Liberace played and steered from a unicycle seat. It’s on permanent display at the Pepsi Cola Saloon.
Eventually, Harry’s brother took over the business. Because of strict environmental controls on the use of hazardous materials, and the specialized skills required, few young kids have wanted to learn the trade. It seems the money isn’t in it. They’ve had to import parts from England and Australia where craftsmen still carry the tradition of antique radiator repair. When their kids were younger, the Trepaniers sponsored local sports teams. Harvey was know to carry a pocket full of silver dollars to baseball games, where he dished out a coin for every home run.
What’s the favorite taco spot of Harvey & Sons? “Bob loves to eat- so he has every favorite place! He likes to eat out period! He likes people.” Mr. Trepanier recently completed work on a Mercedes-Benz 540K, which has the hardest radiator ever made, for the world famous Nethercutt Collection in Sylmar. Jay Leno is another friend and customer of Harry & Sons. Check out Harry & Sons car collection at the Horseless Carriage Club of America‘s meet up, Sunday after Christmass at the the Irwindale Speedway.