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Author Topic: Lynn Rosevear and the Auto Haus Stores  (Read 39639 times)
johnl
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« on: December 11, 2008, 17:49:20 pm »

I thought some of you younger guys would enjoy a very brief history of the Auto Haus chain.  Dave Galassi enjoys the stories of those days long ago, so Dave this one is for you. 

What inspired this was a phone call last night from old friend and former employer Lynn Rosevear.  Over the years Lynn has always placed a call to me around the holidays just to say hello.   He and his brother Ron were the owners of Auto Haus, Rosevear Enterprises which along with EMPI was one of the early sources for VW replacement and performance parts.

It was in September of 1971 after being married for three or four weeks we probably had about $200 to our names, two VW’s and a rented house.  I was working at a BAP store and got the word that Auto Haus was looking for a retail counter person.  At that time they had a very small warehouse in Buena Park, California.  I interviewed with Lynn and got the job.  It was a bit scary as I had a good job with a well established company, but the lure of being directly involved with the Volkswagen performance industry was calling me.

I started the next week at the Buena Park store on Beach Blvd. as the number two man.  Within about one month I was offered the Store Manager position at $600.00 per month.  From that point we started opening other locations and I guess the Rosevear’s liked what I did so before to long I was offered the General Manager position of the retails stores.  By this time we had a large wholesale warehouse also located in Buena Park.  I had the reputation with our employees and being somewhat hard nosed and demanding, but I’ve had several state years later that they now appreciate my rules and regulations as it helped them in there future business ventures.  It is good to hear that you were appreciated even maybe not the most popular guy at the time.  To this day I can still hear Lynn saying, “Now John don’t get so tight jawed”!!

I remained with them for 10.5 years and I think I still hold the record for the longest running employee including all of the Rosevear kids that worked there.  In the early 80’s Mark Melbreth, another long time Auto Haus employee and myself left and did our own retail accessory and repair shop.  I felt that the VW thing was going to die and I didn’t want to be there at the end.  Guess I made a bad call on that one although it wasn’t to long after that the company fell on hard times and closed its doors.

The Rosevears were aggressive and the business grew rapidly.  It was like being at Disneyland everyday seeing new products arrive and being able to be the first guy around to have the latest performance item.  I can vividly remember selling Bosch 010 distributors for $14.95, S & S Headers for $29.95 and many other items retail.  Just goes to show you how times and prices have changed.

There are a million stories I could tell regarding those days and the characters that crossed the doors of the Auto Haus locations.  Some that come to mind are Ed (Rat Fink) Roth, Chuck (Shaky Jake) Babbit and countless others.

My personal thanks to the Rosevears for giving me the opportunity to live the life.  Here are a few names of people that worked for the Auto Haus organization during my years there.  Many are still in the business to one degree or another.  If I miss someone, my apologies as it has been a long time.

Not in any order;  Jere Alhadeff, Jeff Kymla (KYMCO), Dyno Don Chamberlin, Ed Craig (Suzuki of America), Jim (Sarge) Edmiston (Commonwealth VW), Mike Olivieri (Don Steves Chevrolet) Stu (Headflow Performance) Thomas, Dave Greiner (Proformance in Orange, a former Auto Haus store), Ron Greiner (SCAT), John Sandoval, Paul Opperman, Stan Davis, Doug Mische (No explanation needed) Mark Rosevear, Larry Rosevear, Doug Nadasdy (Dougbug), Mark Melbreth and myself (Royze Inc.) plus countless others.

Lynn and his wife Tammy now live in Washington State and Ron and his wife Judy are in Utah.  I was bringing Lynn up today with what the VW performance world has evolved to and told him to buy a copy of Keith Seume’s book as I know he will enjoy it.

John Lazenby
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louisb
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« Reply #1 on: December 11, 2008, 18:13:09 pm »

Cool story! Any good stories about some of the characters you mention?  Grin

--louis
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Christoph
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« Reply #2 on: December 11, 2008, 18:34:44 pm »

thanks for the story, would like to here more too!

christoph
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JS
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« Reply #3 on: December 11, 2008, 19:12:11 pm »

Very cool post John, thank you!
So when Lynn closed the doors of Auto Haus, he disappeared from the VW scene and never looked back?
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« Reply #4 on: December 11, 2008, 19:19:51 pm »

Doug Mische (No explanation needed).....

Oh, but I think there is!  Grin

Great story, John. Auto Haus Buena Park was like a candy store for me. All those cool parts on the wall, and in the counters, and your car parked out front... How in hell did you keep that car so clean with all that traffic debris, and keep the idots from crashing into the back? I also recall seeing Ed Craig's car getting the pole parking spot as well. Good times! Deano
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johnl
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« Reply #5 on: December 11, 2008, 19:21:41 pm »

Lynn was also into Model A & T Ford stuff.  At one time he was in the L.A. Roadsters.  After Auto Haus closed he just stayed on his property in Wildamar, CA.  He got into the landscaping business and I think did that until he moved to Washington about 2 or 3 years ago.

The last time I saw him was at his 60th birthday party at his home, but we talk via the phone about once a year.  He will be 68 in June of 2009.  Ron is a couple of years older.

John
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Volkswagens Limited, DKP I
Celebrating 56 years of Volkswagens in my life 1963-2019

Life is a learning experience and then you die but when you do you've lived a good life if you contributed to your fellow man.
johnl
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« Reply #6 on: December 11, 2008, 19:31:05 pm »

Great story, John. Auto Haus Buena Park was like a candy store for me. All those cool parts on the wall, and in the counters, and your car parked out front... How in hell did you keep that car so clean with all that traffic debris, and keep the idots from crashing into the back? I also recall seeing Ed Craig's car getting the pole parking spot as well. Good times! Deano

I just had an obssion to keep the car clean and still do, but with the quantity I now own and advancing age I'm not nearly the perfectionist I once was.

Funny story; there was a guy named Mike (something) who had an old 356 that was a real can.  He parked it in that same spot and the trash truck came down the Blvd. and drove directly over the back of it.

Also remember a car transporter was coming down that same Blvd. in front of the store and had to stop quick.  It launched a new Ford Pinto from the top deck.  See, these kind of stories you just can't make up!!

Someone just posted that they wanted me to build another car.  I'd really like to.  Time and money peritting it might happen.

John
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Volkswagens Limited, DKP I
Celebrating 56 years of Volkswagens in my life 1963-2019

Life is a learning experience and then you die but when you do you've lived a good life if you contributed to your fellow man.
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« Reply #7 on: December 11, 2008, 19:55:11 pm »

John, your story of your tenure at Autohaus reads alot like mine at Buggy House, in Hayward CA. I was also there for a tick over 10-1/2 years, and was promoted to GM about 18 months after starting there. Some of the most vivid and funniest memories of my come from the time of my life. Funny what running a VW speed shop will do to you. So many of my long time friends were met over the counter of that place. And, yeah, how cool was it to be the first in the area to get to "try" some new HP parts. I remember the look of amazement from customers and peers when they first saw the Super Flow 48IDA motor in my '67 in 1991. Now if it only ran as good as it looked....

And again, similar to you, I'm still in the industry.

See ya around
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ESH
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« Reply #8 on: December 11, 2008, 20:12:15 pm »

Not in any order;  Jere Alhadeff, Jeff Kymla (KYMCO), Dyno Don Chamberlin, Ed Craig (Suzuki of America), Jim (Sarge) Edmiston (Commonwealth VW), Mike Olivieri (Don Steves Chevrolet) Stu (Headflow Performance) Thomas, Dave Greiner (Proformance in Orange, a former Auto Haus store), Ron Greiner (SCAT), John Sandoval, Paul Opperman, Stan Davis, Doug Mische (No explanation needed) Mark Rosevear, Larry Rosevear, Doug Nadasdy (Dougbug), Mark Melbreth and myself (Royze Inc.) plus countless others.


Great topic and that's one hell of a list!  Cool

Jere Alhadeff!  Shocked  Cool Cool Cool Cool
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johnl
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« Reply #9 on: December 11, 2008, 20:16:13 pm »

Wish my memory was better as I know I'm leaving many important names, but you are right, It is one hell of a list !!!!

John
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Volkswagens Limited, DKP I
Celebrating 56 years of Volkswagens in my life 1963-2019

Life is a learning experience and then you die but when you do you've lived a good life if you contributed to your fellow man.
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« Reply #10 on: December 11, 2008, 20:55:10 pm »



Someone just posted that they wanted me to build another car. 
John[/color][/b]

THAT'S ME  Grin
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Dave Rosique
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« Reply #11 on: December 11, 2008, 20:58:42 pm »


Great post John!

I bought my first set of Porsche chromies and an S&S header from the Long Beach Auto Haus way back in.... uh... wow... 1974... sheesh!
I was 16 and AH was my FAVORITE place to hang out.

~DR.
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louisb
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« Reply #12 on: December 11, 2008, 21:14:04 pm »


Great post John!

I bought my first set of Porsche chromies and an S&S header from the Long Beach Auto Haus way back in.... uh... wow... 1974... sheesh!
I was 16 and AH was my FAVORITE place to hang out.

~DR.



Lets see, if you were 16 in 1974 that means your, uh, subtract 1974 from 2000, add 8, multiply by the square root of 17, add in the number of days since the last full moon....damn your old.  Grin

--louis
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« Reply #13 on: December 11, 2008, 21:29:45 pm »

mmmm Roll Eyes old advertiser  Wink
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Donny B.
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« Reply #14 on: December 11, 2008, 21:30:18 pm »

Quote
...damn your old.

That's not old just hittin' his prime...
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« Reply #15 on: December 11, 2008, 21:31:51 pm »

another one
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« Reply #16 on: December 11, 2008, 21:35:39 pm »

john, do you remember when vw trends came to auto haus to do the report  Roll Eyes Roll Eyes Roll Eyes
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louisb
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« Reply #17 on: December 11, 2008, 21:37:50 pm »

Damn, if they had chicks like that working behind the counter no wonder they were popular.  Grin

--louis
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« Reply #18 on: December 11, 2008, 21:39:45 pm »

 
Damn, if they had chicks like that working behind the counter no wonder they were popular.  Grin

--louis
Grin Grin Grin
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« Reply #19 on: December 11, 2008, 21:41:34 pm »

 Grin Grin
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Dave Galassi .
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« Reply #20 on: December 11, 2008, 22:07:28 pm »

Great post John.  Everyone here will appreciate the history lesson.

I also believe you will find a lot of support to build another one.

Can you spin a couple more for the crowd?  Tell 'em what Fleming used to drive in high school!
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« Reply #21 on: December 11, 2008, 23:03:50 pm »

Jeez, I ordered parts from Auto Haus in 1977, so it's you I need to ask about that refund I never got!  Cheesy

Somewhere I still have the T-shirt and the stash of decals you guys sent me as a freebie with my order... The colour's got a bit washed out – can I change it for a new one?
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« Reply #22 on: December 12, 2008, 00:10:48 am »

The photo of the guy and gal behind the counter is a very young Ed Craig at the Buena Park store.  He says he is more blond today from the sun.  Trouble is every time I see him he gets more blond.  Geez Ed get out of the bleach!!  The gal could be Aunt Kathy.  I could tell stories, but I'm not going there.

I remember the VW Trends thing.  It was then Tom McMullen's publications.  Tom was in the L. A. Roadsters with Lynn.  He was a little short guy and flew a T38 trainer jet.  I remember one day Lynn and I flew the company plane, Cherokee 6 from Furllerton where it was kept to Long Beach and picked up Tom and his then girl friend Deanna.  Later she became Lynn's secretary.

Tom and Deanna were killed in a plane crash somewhere over the midwest comiing back from Florida.  There were roomers of a "mob hit".  Don't know if anything every came of that, but Tom was a real character and definately had a battery on his shoulder and was always asking for someone to knock it off.  For you old guys that remember the Robert Conrad add with one of the battery commercials you will understand.

There were a few girls that posed for VW Trends and I heard lots of stories, but I was at home happily married, so we will leave it there.  Ron Rosevear did a lot of the phots for that publication.

Now as for the story of Ron Fleming and me in high school.  Well I think some of you have heard it before, but Ron drove a Mustang and I drove my Supercharged VW.  Ron use to laugh at me when I drove into the lot.  Guess he ain't laughin no more!!!!

John
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Volkswagens Limited, DKP I
Celebrating 56 years of Volkswagens in my life 1963-2019

Life is a learning experience and then you die but when you do you've lived a good life if you contributed to your fellow man.
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« Reply #23 on: December 12, 2008, 00:13:58 am »

Yup!...Good days. I remember the day I took Eric to the Buena Park store in "tiny" Levi's. That fabric doesn't work well on 12" legs. Always got help there, not BS.
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« Reply #24 on: December 12, 2008, 00:20:43 am »

Those were the days, I worked for Dave Greiner at the Orange store and remember many trips to the warehouse. We never did have a blonde counter girl unless you count D. Mason.
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« Reply #25 on: December 12, 2008, 00:33:10 am »

... I worked for Dave Greiner at the Orange store and remember many trips to the warehouse. We never did have a blonde counter girl ...

Of that list Dave is one of the guys I've met (briefly) and his Proformance outfit is cool as ****. That said no blonde counter girl ...!
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« Reply #26 on: December 12, 2008, 02:43:16 am »

COOL stories John - Thankyou Grin Speaking of Dave Greiner I spoke with him about a month ago, He's an awsome guy and he also supplied my SPG Roller crank Smiley

Keep the stories coming John Smiley
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« Reply #27 on: December 12, 2008, 05:12:19 am »

John, thank you for posting this thread. VERY cool stories. Like many southern California based Cal Look owners, I spent a lot of money at Auto Haus when I was building my first car (orange '66) in 1979.

Later, I was offered a job at the Long Beach Auto Haus and I managed it until the entire company called it quits. That was Spring of 1984. A shot of me, taken by a customer's Dad which totally caught me off guard... sometime around 1982.


Here are two shots that I took of my roommate's 1960 Indian Red Arizona car and my 1966 Java Green Berlin model. Circa: 1982


Here's a shot of my 1966 orange car, which was pretty much a permanent fixture in front of the store for years, before and during my employment there.


A recent shot of one of my many original Auto Haus t-shirts that I still own. Somewhere, I still have some RaceTrim & Auto Haus stickers of all sizes. I also have a Long Beach A.H. business card in my VW/Porsche card collection.


I was very sad to see A.H. come to an end. Many great memories at that store. It was close to my house and the original building still stands, today. I pass it every morning when I take my boys to school. Those of us that were lucky enough to work for Auto Haus were and are still very proud to have done so. Keep the stories and posts going, John. Good stuff!
« Last Edit: December 12, 2008, 05:20:50 am by DKK_Fred » Logged

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Dave Rosique
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« Reply #28 on: December 12, 2008, 06:30:57 am »


Great post John!

I bought my first set of Porsche chromies and an S&S header from the Long Beach Auto Haus way back in.... uh... wow... 1974... sheesh!
I was 16 and AH was my FAVORITE place to hang out.

~DR.




Lets see, if you were 16 in 1974 that means your, uh, subtract 1974 from 2000, add 8, multiply by the square root of 17, add in the number of days since the last full moon....damn your old.  Grin

--louis

I really hate being the old guy on the list... oh wait a minute... Hi Sarge! Grin Grin Grin

~DR.
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« Reply #29 on: December 12, 2008, 12:16:06 pm »

Thanks to share this story.
 Wink
I found this real AH clear blue tee-shirt few years ago.
Enjoy !
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