Tuesday, 16 November 2010 17:55

Capital Original Wheels Celebrates 55 Years in Business

It all started in Los Angeles with two hot rod enthusiasts still in high school; Mike Huniu and his cousin “Fast” Eddie Levy. Their shared auto shop class was about the only thing keeping them in school. It was very likely that the only reason they even graduated was that they worked on the Principal’s car.

They did their work in Mike’s father’s garage behind his house. When it began to spill out onto the lawn, they were told to take their hobby elsewhere. By this time they had graduated high school and had saved enough money to go into business together.

It was in the early 1950’s when they bought a service station on the corner of 51st Street and Hoover.  After a few more years of fixing and racing cars, they decided that they liked tearing cars apart better than putting them together.

Mike’s mother-in-law found an existing business for sale listed in the newspaper, called Joe’s Auto Wrecking. She didn’t care for the term “Junkyard”, but knew that this was exactly what Mike and Eddie were looking for. The business was located on South Figueroa, in the small town of Gardena. The year was 1955, Mike and Eddie named their newly acquired business Capital Auto Wrecking & Used Cars, Inc., or simply: Capital.

In 1981, Mike and Eddie decided they needed a hand and it would be great to bring in a family member. Enter Mike’s son Norman. Norman was not your typical college boy, he was also a businessman. While attending business classes at Long Beach State University, he ran a business selling ladies clothing out of four vans. After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in business administration, he went to work at Nordstrom Department Store as the manager of the shoe department.

Norman was not keen on a career at Nordstrom, finding business attire much too uncomfortable. He decided that working long hours, getting his hands dirty and making a little money was worth the risk of changing his career.

Norman spent his first four years at Capital diversifying and expanding the existing business. It was around this time that car manufacturers began using more specialized wheels to “dress up” their vehicles. This new phenomenon, along with the industry shift from rear to front wheel drive vehicles, created a large demand for wheels since the old style wheels would not fit on the new cars. As the years passed Capital began to look more like a wheel business than a used auto parts business.

“Fast” Eddie retired in 1986, and Mike and Norman bought his share of the company. Suddenly, the EPA was breathing down their necks.

“They gave us 30 days to get rid of a two story pile of motors, and clean up the dirt,” Norman said. “I thought it was a great idea. It was something I knew we wanted to do, but we needed the incentive of the EPA to go through with it and that is what we did.” So away went the motor and transmission piles, the contaminated dirt and all else until we met the EPA’s requirements. Next came major organization. Capital installed a computerized inventory and billing system. They got the latest in computerized parts locating systems and  networks  as  well as the traditional  wrecking yard hotlines for locating parts not in stock. They also purchase total loss or wrecked vehicles. They carry suspension and body parts as well as engines and transmissions.

In 1988 Norman’s father Mike, and business partner passed away. This left 29 year old Norman in charge of a growing enterprise. He continually refocused Capital’s goals and objectives, realizing the increasing demand for original equipment wheels. Unable to accomplish this alone, Norman searched for great managers and assembled an energetic sales team. Today Capital has one of the most qualified and knowledgeable sales staff in the industry.

As the years have passed, Capital Auto Wrecking & Used Cars, Inc. has become better known as Capital Original Wheels, or simply Capital Wheels. They now proudly proclaim that most of our business comes from the O.E.M wheel industry. Capital sells new, used and “take off” wheels- that is wheels that are used but are in almost new condition, in addition to reconditioned wheels or remanufactured wheels. They also manufacture and sell OEM reproduction or replicas wheels and center caps.

Capital not only sells wheels but of course buys wheels and wheelcovers, in fact after exhibiting at their first SEMA show over a decade ago it seemed like everyone wanted to sell their take off wheels to Capital. To address this facet Capital has trained personnel who specializes in the buying, brokering and selling of OEM take-off or over stock steel wheels, alloy wheels and wheel covers. Capital is committed to offering fair and competitive pricing for take off wheels. They also have a wheel buyer who can go out and give you a quote for your steel and alloy wheels as well as  hub caps and wheel covers.

Capital has seen their business through expansion into wheel repair and refinishing. To that end, they built a state of the art repair facility utilizing the latest in wheel repair technology. They can straighten wheels from simple, minor bends due to potholes or curb scratches, to welding from more serious damage, specializing in welding cracks. They do in house re-facing of wheels with their digitized C.N.C. lathe which actually re-cuts the face of the wheel to return it to showroom condition. Finally, Capital can color match, paint or powdercoat your wheels for long lasting durability. They also offer free pick up and delivery to Orange County, Los Angeles and the Valley daily.

Capital also offers sandblasting and powder coating of small parts as well as wheels. Because they do this right on their premises, the turn around time is very quick. Once the sandblasting is done, they then powder coat the parts or wheels, chosen from their large selection of colors. Each piece gets power coated, then baked for a long lasting, durable finish.

Capital’s website www.capitalwheels.com is user friendly and can be used as an online reference guide. Capital is constantly adding new wheels, interchanges and update daily. Check them out online and find how their photos and reference numbers will make your wheel identifying easier. They individually inventory each alloy wheel so that at a touch of a button they can tell customers how many wheels are in stock and in what condition. They can also search and locate wheels not in stock using our network of OEM wheel sources, suppliers and auto recyclers.

Capital also chrome plates wheels. Currently stocking hundreds of chrome plated alloy wheels for immediate shipping and exchange. They offer special programs for chroming your aftermarket or OEM alloys and also repairing and rechroming. Capital’s chrome wheel division has now grown to include chrome plating of motorcycle wheels. Their turn around time is the quickest in the business.

Norman has continued the vision of his father: “The importance of customer satisfaction, goal setting, looking to the future, and striving for perfection”. All while providing fair, competitive pricing and superior customer satisfaction.”

It is no wonder that Capital has become one of the leading companies in the O.E.M. wheel and auto dismantling industry today. Call Capital at 1-800-463–RIMS. Celebrating their 55th year in business.

15326 S. FIGUEROA STREET
GARDENA, CA. 90248
323/321-1234
323/321-9192 FAX

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