Ed Attanasio

Ed Attanasio is an automotive journalist based in San Francisco. Ed enjoys sports of all kinds and is a part time stand-up comedian.


He can be reached at era39@aol.com.

Tuesday, 16 January 2018 21:49

The Legend of Lavell Chisum, Creator of Chief EZ Liner

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Chisum manufactured the EZ Liner for many years before selling the patent to Chief Automotive in 1972. Chisum manufactured the EZ Liner for many years before selling the patent to Chief Automotive in 1972.


The following year, Chisum opened Leo's Paint, Frame & Body in Alabama, where it was so successful that he started thinking about franchising the business. He eventually sold the shop to his manager, Joe Hudson, who went on to own 85 shops in five states within a 20-year period. In the 1980s, Chisum took part in establishing two MSOs, including Collision Automotive Repair Services with approximately 400 shops and later, Collision Center International with 500-plus shops, both of which lasted 5--6 years. 

Chisum's good friend, Greg Marion, is an industry veteran who believes that Chisum hasn't received enough credit for his role in the history of collision repair. 

"He was way ahead of everyone else in this industry in more ways than most people know, especially the younger people in the industry now,” Marion said. “His early visionary ideas of franchising multiple body shops and uniting collision repair organizations etched the template for today's industry standards. Today, he lives on his social security in McAlester, OK. He would have made a lot more money, but he trusted some of the wrong people, including a patent attorney. If every technician who ever used an EZ Liner gave Lavell $5, he would be a millionaire many times over again.”

Looking back, Chisum is proud of the EZ Liner, even though he isn't a millionaire today. 

"No one understood what I was doing with this machine, but I never gave up, because I believed in it and knew it would work real good," he said. "They still sell well today, and I'm not sure how many of them out there are in use right now, but I'm guessing 15,000 or more. I got royalties on it for 22 years and it was a great run, so I can look back and say, ‘Hey---I made this!’"

Donate to the Lavell Chisum legacy fund

Special thanks for Greg Marion for providing useful information for this article.

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