Dave Zamora, owner of Zamora’s Auto Body, credits his father for giving him his knowledge and love of cars.
“I can’t remember a time that I wasn’t dreaming about cars, working on cars or racing cars. I think I was in the third grade when my dad started teaching me how to fix cars. I remember him saying, ‘Get the kid to fix it; he can fix it.’”
Zamora took a few classes in high school and was quickly a teacher’s aide.
By tenth grade, he was working after school each day and summers on vehicles for the city of Pittsburg (CA). “I got hired right out of high school at a shop in town. I was sweepin’ floors and dumping garbage at first, but moved up to body work pretty fast.”
In the 1970s and ’80s, Zamora was steeped in the custom paint industry. During that timeframe, custom painted vans were the hip thing. “Custom painted vans? Oh yeah, I created some pretty amazing art.”
As the industry heated up, he worked for an auto paint shop during the day and “rented a shop around the corner and could paint up to two more per day.” The shop he worked for painted cars for celebrities and show circuit cars.
At 40, he opened his own body shop in Antioch and has been self-employed since.
His parents moved to Calaveras County in the 1970s, so Zamora had spent a lot of time visiting the area. It wasn’t too long before he figured he wanted to make a go of it in the foothills.
In November 1999, Zamora began looking for a location and a home, and, by December, he had moved to Valley Springs and had officially opened his shop at 1390 Country View Lane.
“I do paint, body, glass... nothing I don’t do. You don’t find that too often these days.”
While the majority of his work is insurance work, he still continues to “do custom painting, but not as much as I would like to.”
At times, he said, his work can be frustrating. “I don’t like the insurance part of the industry. They dictate to me – the professional – what can be done. It’s unfortunate; it’s sad.”
So Zamora goes the extra mile for many of his customers. “If I fixed it the way the insurance company dictated, I would never have repeat customers; so I do more and out of my pocket.”
Looking back at all he has accomplished, Zamora said, “I am what I am because of my dad.”
Zamora currently employs an office manager and part-time prepper, but he said he is always open to those with auto body experience and painting experience to apply for work.
We would like to thank Calaveras Enterprise for reprint permission.