Monday, 14 September 2020 12:24

Toby Chess: 40-Plus Years of Service to the Industry He Loves

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If you’ve been in the world of body shops for more than a few years, you likely know the name Toby Chess. He’s the smiling bearded guy who brings gifts to people---and no, he’s not Santa Claus.

His story all began in a salvage yard and has turned into a fantastic career of teaching, mentoring and helping the collision repair industry and other people on many levels.


Chess, 75, has given his life to others through several channels and has never slowed down. He’s taught thousands of body technicians skills that are used every day to fix cars the right way---Toby’s way. He’s been to almost every state in the union, teaching and imparting more useful information than most in this industry will ever know.


Chess is well-known as an I-CAR program instructor, training specialist and renowned industry writer, but also for his work with first responders and advocacy for body shops and consumers as well.


Now he has encountered another challenge with his battle against end-stage kidney disease. He has been undergoing dialysis for the past 30 months, but hasn’t slowed down for even a minute, and is still doing everything he can to continue on his path.


Toby’s passion for cars started back in the late 1960s, when he began working on old Porsches. His first project was a 1955 Speedster, and over the years, he became a Porsche expert, restoring several.


In 1972, Toby and his father opened a salvage yard in Culver City, CA, specializing in Volkswagens. It had a good run until the Chess family stepped away from the business 21 years later.


No longer working for his father, Toby took all her had learned about the collision repair industry and was eager to get out there and take on the world.


During the next few decades, Toby worked in several capacities for independent shops and MSOs in the Los Angeles/Orange County area. He built a shop for a Honda dealership, was a regional manager for a chain of nine stores, and even worked for three years as a fraud investigator for an insurance company.

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