Forey Wall was born November 14, 1913, in South Dakota. His mother, Beatrice Johnson, was a Swedish-American. Her parents were born in Sweden, but they immigrated to the US along with 1.3 million other Swedes. Lloyd Wall, Forey’s father, was half English, half Irish.
- 1 Glen
- 2 Forey's First Car
- 3 California
- 4 Fixing Up and Selling Model-T Fords
- 5 Forey's Second Car
- 6 The Long Beach Earthquake
- 7 Borrowed Wheels
- 8 From Parts Manager to Lube Boy
- 9 The Throttle Throbbers
- 10 Dry Lakes Racing
- 11 Working at the Shipyard
- 12 Forey Wall Used Cars
- 13 The Proposal
- 14 Wall Custom Cars
- 15 The World’s Largest Custom Car Dealer
- 16 Work Hard, Play Hard
- 17 Imports
- 18 Moving to Bellflower
- 19 Glen Wall Used Cars
- 20 Brothers in Arms
- 21 Forey Wall's Cars
- 22 References
Forey’s little brother Glen came to the world four years later. He was the third and the youngest of the Wall brothers. At the time, the Wall family lived in Iowa, where their father was running a farm he leased from his parents, who had moved out west to California. Forey, Monte and Glen had three sisters as well, Jean, Violet and Pearl.
Forey's First Car
In 1925 Glen and Forey were living in Minnesota, where their dad ran an ice cream factory. 12 years old Forey worked as a delivery boy for his father, driving around with a Ford Model T panel truck delivering ice cream to restaurants. Forey was working 7 days a week, saving up money for his first set of wheels. In 1927 he had saved up enough money to buy a 1926 Ford Model T touring car. “I paid 25 bucks for that car when I was 14," Forey told Sondre Kvipt of Kustomrama in 2016. "The guy lived 85 miles north of me, and he drove it down to Minnesota where I lived so he could sell it to me. I had side curtains put on it I remember.”
During the great depression, Beatrice and Lloyd were talked into moving out West to California. The year was 1931. Forey was 18 years old at the time. Glen was 14, and the brothers remember they were told that the Los Angeles river was supposed to be a great big river. They were also told they could reach outside their bedroom window and pick an orange. It wasn’t so, both brothers chuckles.
Fixing Up and Selling Model-T Fords
The Wall-family settled down in Huntington Park, a city in the southeast area of Los Angeles County. Glen had started out with bicycles when the family was living in Minnesota. “When we moved to California I began with Model T Fords. You could buy a good Model T for 5 or 10 bucks. I bought my first one when I was about 14 years old.” “When we came to California you didn’t have to have a driver’s license like you do now,” Forey remembered. Glen used to fix his Model T’s up, “If somebody came along and bought it, you could earn 2-3 bucks. That was pretty good money back then,” Glen told Sondre.
Forey's Second Car
Forey’s second car was a 1930 Chevrolet roadster. “I didn’t like Fords. Glen liked Fords. Not me. I always liked Chevrolets. The car was beautiful. Some guy that owned a mechanic shop in South Gate owned the car. He had it all shaped up, and it had a beautiful two-tone black and green paint job. It was light green with black fenders, and it might have been little bit lowered, but not much.”
The Long Beach Earthquake
All three Wall brothers attended Huntington Park High School. March 10, 1933, the Long Beach Earthquake took place south of downtown Los Angeles. The epicenter was offshore, southeast of Long Beach and damage to buildings was widespread throughout Southern California. 120 schools were destroyed or severely damaged, including Huntington Park, so the brothers were sent to South Gate. They didn’t have time for college “Back in our days nobody could afford to go to College,” Forey recalled.
Before the earthquake, Forey worked for Johnny Dixon in a little garage at Florence Avenue. “We used to get different cars in there to work on, and if the customer didn’t take their cars home at night, we used to borrow them and run all over town with them. We never did say anything, and we never got caught.” The earthquake tore the building down, and Dixon opened up another shop on Slauson Avenue in Los Angeles. “It was a two-car garage. I worked for him there for quite a while,” Forey remembered. “He paid 4 dollars a week. I was just a kid, so 4 dollars a week was OK with me. A friend of the owner came over one day. He was a Swede, and he also had a garage. His name was Walt Nelson, and he said “Forey, what about you come and work for me? I’ll pay you 15 bucks a week! I was thinking oh boy, that’s a lot more than 4 dollars a week, so I went on to work for him on big ol’ trucks. I had never worked on trucks before!” Walt’s shop was located at the corner of Downey and Vernon Avenue in Vernon. Forey lived in South Gate at the time.
From Parts Manager to Lube Boy
In 1934 Forey began working for the DeSoto-Plymouth dealer in Glendale. “I was riding a three-wheel motorcycle picking up cars and parts. I did that for two years until I got run into one time. That put me into the hospital for about six weeks. When I got out, I told my boss I wasn’t gonna run that motorcycle anymore. “Well, I’ll put you in the parts department then,” he told me. I learned how to do parts working for him. A year later John Shlifer wanted me to come work for him in Huntington Park. He had a Chrysler-Plymouth dealer on Bellegrave and Pacific Blvd. So I quit and went to work for him as a Parts Manager. I worked there for a year, year and a half, before a friend of mine who worked for Enoch Chevrolet in South Gate, talked me into coming there and work in 1936. While Chrysler parts went alphabetical, Chevrolet went by sheet metal and motor parts, different sections. I didn’t know anything about that, but they told me to come on down and get into it. I worked for Enoch for about four years I guess. I worked as a parts manager for about a year or so until I told the manager that I saw all the money the guys were making out on the lube racks. Saturdays were real busy. Two lube racks and each guy working there would make about 50 bucks a week. I thought boy I need to figure out a way to get a job out there, and get rid of this parts deal, cause I was only making about 100 a month in there. I asked the manager one day, how about letting me have a job at the lube rack? “Forey” he said. “When somebody quits, I’ll let you have the job.” It went a couple of months, and nobody quit. Finally, somebody quit, and I got the job. The first week I earned 50 bucks. From then one I was making 50, 60 or 70 bucks a week. I had a new 1937 Chevy coupe then. I didn’t know anything about customizing back then, so I didn’t do anything to the car”
Glen and Forey had friends that were members of 100 mph clubs. The brothers didn’t have anything that went that fast, so they started their own club, the Throttle Throbbers, around 1935-1936. “We were just a bunch of kids. Somewhere between 5 and 10 members,” Forey recalled. “Any kid that had a car and could keep it clean got into the club.”
Dry Lakes Racing
Around 1938 Forey and Nick Pastor bought a 1928 Ford Model A roadster together for 25 dollars. “We started messing around with it, and found out that it had a Winfield head, a Winfield downdraft carburetor, a camshaft and everything,” Forey remembered. “It also had an overdrive transmission,” Glen added. Glen wanted to try the car at the dry lakes, so he took it up to Muroc with Floyd “Scavidi” Page in 1938. Scavidi, who was also a member of the Throttle Throbbers, drove the car on Muroc May 15, 1938. “He drove 92.7 mph and broke the timing gears going through the trap.” Forey believes Scavidi would have gone 100 something if the timing gears hadn’t broke!
Working at the Shipyard
While Forey was working for Enoch Chevrolet, a couple of friends went to work for a Studebaker dealer in Hollywood. "They finally talked me into come down and work with them. I went down and talked to the boss. He gave me a pretty good deal. So I quit my other job and went down there to work. I worked there until the War started in 1941. Then I went to work in the shipyard at Terminal Island for four years.” Forey became a leadman, running machines that cut steel. “We cut made everything. Glen worked at the shipyard in Terminal Island too before he went into the Service. Glen riveted big plates with big hot rivets."
In 1946 Forey opened up his first used car lot, Forey Wall Used Cars, at 10792 Long Beach Boulevard in Lynwood. “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. Al Sulminoff was Forey’s partner at the lot. Al and Forey hung out together and liked to have a good time. In 1948 they went to Newport Beach to buy a boat. Forey had $8,000 cash in his pocket. They walked into the Chris-Craft Boat store and were basically ignored. Forey looked across the street after he was frustrated because nobody would give them any service, and he saw Garwood boats across the street. "Sully" and Forey walked across the street, picked out a 16 foot Garwood and trailer, paid cash and drove off with their new boat. After that, Forey and Al had plenty of young ladies that wanted to ride their boat.
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.
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.”
Glen and Forey's buddy Nick Pastor ran a new car dealership named “Nick Pastor Imports” on Firestone Blvd. in South Gate. Forey stopped by one day in 1963 and saw to his surprise that all of the cars were gone. “I was thinking where the hell did Nick go? As it turned out he was financing his cars through Bank of America, selling the papers to Crocker National Bank. He didn’t pay off Bank of America, and he got in trouble. They were going to put him jail. I knew the manager at Bank of America pretty good, so he said “Forey if you take the lot over, we’ll give you everything, and we wouldn’t put him in jail.” I said, well, I might do that. They gave me all the parts, all the shop equipment and everything for free. So I thought Hell, I can’t lose. I took it, and then we had all foreign cars like MG’s, Austin Healey’s, Peugot and Vokswagen, Simca and a whole bunch of different ones. I kept that lot for a couple of years until I finally decided that hell I’m not making enough money, I’m gonna get out of this new car business. In 1965 I told one of the guys at the shop, hey why don’t you get a bunch of guys together, form a corporation, and buy me out? Within a couple of weeks he did. They didn’t have enough money to pay me, so they owed me 5000 dollars. I told him to pay me 500 dollar a month. I wouldn’t charge you no interest, but if you don’t pay me on time I’m gonna charge 7% interest. They paid me perfect, and never lost a payment.”
Moving to Bellflower
“After 11 years in business, we had to move because we lost our lease in 1966.” 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.
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.
Brothers in Arms
In 2016 Glen moved down to Downey to live with his brother. At the time Glen was 99 years old. Forey was 102. The two brothers were in a good health, and they still maintained their home, drove around, went shopping, and banking on their own. Forey was still making a buck selling used cars, while Glen still worked on them. A couple of years before Glen moved in with his brother, he drove down to Downey and redid the electrical on a 1956 Chevrolet ½ ton long bed truck.
October 22, 2018 the world woke up to the sad news that Glen had passed away, 101 years old. Living in an assisted living facility, the family reported that Forey was doing ok, turning 105 years old on November 14th!
Forey Wall's Cars
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