The History of Collision Repair In America

There have been plenty of books written about the history of the automotive industry including early gas stations, auto factories, auto executives and classic cars.  But never has a book been published about the history of the collision repair industry – until now.

Effective Wednesday, September 12, 2018, YesterWreck: The History of the Collision Repair Industry in America is ready for sale and immediate delivery.

Written and produced by long-time industry veteran, Gary Ledoux, YesterWreck covers over 100 years of automotive and collision industry history going back before the turn of the 20th century and the natal beginnings of some of the companies that still support the industry.  For all those shops and industry people who contributed photos and other materials to the book, thanks so much.  Your contributions were invaluable.

A portion of the sale of each book will be donated to the Chuck Sulkala NABC Appreciation Scholarship fund to help deserving students continue their education within the collision industry.

To order your copy, click on the “Order Here” tab above and follow the order details.  There are two ways to pay – mail a check or use a credit card via Pay Pal.  Order your copy today!


Order Here


The total page count for YesterWreck is about 850, with about 60 photos and illustrations.   It is available in two versions:

  • Limited edition hardcover, signed and numbered was $89. Now, until inventory is depleted, is on sale for $69.00!  Includes media-rate shipping within the continental U.S…. a $20 savings!
  • The paperback signed but not numbered SOLD OUT. Now, and until inventory is depleted, the paperback edition is SOLD OUT includes media-rate shipping within the continental U.S.

A portion of each book’s purchase will be donated to the Chuck Sulkala NABC Appreciation Scholarship Fund to help deserving students continue their education in the collision repair field.

For teachers, schools or those wanting a large number of copies for commercial use, please contact me directly at


To pay by check, make a check payable to Gary Ledoux and send to:

  • Gary Ledoux
  • PO Box 54702
  • Jacksonville, Florida 32245

Note:  Do not make checks payable to YesterWreck.  Make checks payable only to Gary Ledoux.  Thanks!

Be sure to specify if you want the hardcover or paperback, how many copies you want, a valid mailing address, and the proper remittance for same.  Sorry… no COD’s.  Business checks, personal checks, and money orders accepted.

Please be advised, we are sold out of paperback editions and they will not be reprinted. Harcovers available only.



Please visit our blog periodically for excerpts from the book, and updates on the book’s progress.

The Advent of the Unibody

The Advent of the Unibody Long-time industry veteran Bruce Cooley spent years with paint companies Sherwin Williams and DuPont, retiring in 2013.  Of the collision industry, Cooley noted in March, 2015, “The biggest single change to the collision industry did not happen overnight, but over time starting at around the early 1980’s.  That was the …

Sneak Peek

Here is a sneak-peek at the book’s contents:

Chapter 1: Pre-1900


  • Earliest traffic accidents
  • Early advances in safety
  • Early history of several currently-operating collision industry businesses
  • Profile: The oldest body shop in America

Chapter 2: 1900-1909


  • The age of personal mechanics
  • The birth of metropolitan auto repair
  • Bicycles fade out, automobiles fade in
  • The auto industry begins to take shape

Chapter 3: 1910-1919


  • Wanted: People with mechanical knowledge
  • Bad roads cause wrinkled fenders
  • More automotive service companies are born, others evolve
  • Birth of the towing industry
  • Shop profiles

Chapter 4: 1920-1929


  • Expansion of the automobile in American society
  • Expansion of automotive color
  • Automotive paint technology advances
  • Cars and the repair industry become more sophisticated
  • Technician training
  • Birth of vocational training
  • Standardizing repair costs
  • Shop profiles

Chapter 5: 1930-1939


  • Collision repair begins to emerge as an industry
  • The replacement parts industry emerges
  • Driver training schools emerge
  • State Farm looks at loss costs for the first time
  • DuPont gets some bad press
  • Mitchell manuals get a boost

Chapter 6: 1940-1949


  • Collision industry suppliers contribute to the war effort
  • Refinish technology advances
  • Auto body associations emerge
  • A lack of professionalism
  • Early DRP agreements
  • Sikkens comes under fire
  • State Farm becomes the largest auto insurer in the US
  • Shop profiles

Chapter 7: 1950-1959


  • An emerging collision industry becomes safety-conscious
  • Shops begin discounting labor and parts to insurers
  • Air bags emerge
  • The precursor to the Automotive Service Association (ASA) is founded
  • Plastic body filler is invented
  • OE parts discounts become an issue
  • Shop profiles

Chapter 8: 1960-1969


  • Three key elements of change
  • Collision associations gain strength
  • The $29.95 paint job
  • Some shop owners bail-out
  • Shops begin to look at efficiency
  • The collision industry trade magazine emerges
  • The nation’s vehicle mix change
  • Paint technology changes
  • Insurance companies become insolvent
  • A low public opinion of the industry persists
  • The advent of re-chromed bumpers
  • The technician shortage
  • Technician certification
  • The 1963 Consent Decree

 Chapter 9: 1970-1979


  • Repairing cars in the Wild West
  • Infamous used-car repairs
  • Franchised shops emerge
  • Dukes of Hazzards
  • Auto body associations gain prominence
  • The Age of Certification begins
  • I-CAR is founded
  • The Northeast Trade Show is founded
  • OE’s become their own worst enemy
  • The high cost of auto repair
  • Shop profiles

Chapter 10: 1980-1989


  • The dawn of the unibody
  • Spray booths gain importance
  • Birth of computers
  • Dawn of business management for shops
  • Rolling toolboxes
  • Shop franchising
  • Patch panels and CAPA
  • The advent of ARMS
  • History of the Automotive Management Institute
  • Expansion of the collision industry media
  • SCRS is founded
  • CIC is founded
  • NACE holds its first show
  • PBE jobbers emerge
  • The salvage industry gains prominence
  • The friction begins
  • A major turning point for the industry

Chapter 11: 1990-1999


  • The internet emerges
  • Computerizations
  • Continued dearth of technicians
  • Shop Licensing
  • CIECA emerges
  • Morphing magazines
  • The DRP honeymoon ends
  • State Farm and Service First
  • Paint company shop improvement programs
  • Diminished value emerges
  • NACE – The beginning of the end
  • Early MSO’s
  • The Y2K Armageddon
  • The National Auto Body Council is founded
  • Emergence of aftermarket parts
  • Emergence of Post Repair Inspectors

Chapter 12: 2000-2009


  • OE’s in the 21st century
  • A shrinking, more sophisticated market
  • Standards under fire
  • Dealer shops – from better to worse
  • The birth of the DEG
  • A sputtering economy
  • The industry becomes more engaged with the internet
  • Litigation abounds
  • To DRP or not to DRP – That is the question
  • Diminished value revisited
  • Avery VS State Farm
  • NACE problems come to a head

Chapter 13: 2010 – 2015


  • Smart phones and connectivity
  • Dealer shops fall behind
  • Collision avoidance systems abound
  • Less accidents – more shop shrinkage
  • Aluminum and advanced materials
  • The changing role of the windshield
  • An airbag crisis
  • Safer Cars – Fewer deaths
  • OE certification programs abound
  • The Ford F150 – a game changer
  • The insurance industry in the 21st century
  • NACE and the saga of the collision industry trade shows
  • The new age of parts procurement
  • Autonomous vehicles move closer to reality