Precision Auto Parts opened its doors in 1954 as Precision Auto Service and began pumping gas as a filling station and auto mechanical repair facility. We were the first repair facility in Arizona to acquire the Dynamometer, used to diagnose problems while the vehicle wheels were rotating 35 miles per hour. As an adjunct to our gas and repair facility, we added a body shop repair division, servicing insurance companies and individual customers. Our body shop division encompassed auto body repair, a frame machine, and auto painting. To enhance our customer service, we began steam-cleaning vehicles, which then sparked the idea of expanding to a mobile 24-foot trailer for mobile steam and high pressure cleaning of industrial equipment, large storage tanks, restaurants, airports, and numerous other businesses.
We later purchased a tow truck to recover our customer’s disabled vehicles for repair and began observing the increasing traffic and accidents in the Phoenix area. We proceeded to purchase additional used tow trucks, refurbished them, and began accident recovery of vehicles for the Phoenix Police Department. Within a year, we had five class C tow trucks and were towing wrecked vehicles off the city streets and winching them from the deep canyons of South Mountain Park. As an off shoot of recovering wrecked vehicles, insurance companies began requesting repair estimates and salvage bids on wrecked vehicles in our storage lot that were deemed a total loss. This fostered the beginning of Precision Auto Parts.
Born and raised in Phoenix, Arizona, we had a vision of the dynamic growth and potential of the Phoenix market and made a decision to redirect our capabilities and resources to focus on the sale of recycled auto parts. Since Bob and John grew up repairing, painting, and dismantling cars, the shift of emphasis was successful. Our transition was gradual and steady, always maintaining a good reputation for honesty, customer service, and dependability. Many of our long-term customers and their family members from the 1960s continue to patronize our company.
We have been a family owned business since 1954. Our parents, Juan and Mary de la Torre, were the founders of the company. Mary handled the administrative duties and Juan performed the physical and mechanical tasks. Juan was golden glove champion of the 1st Calvary Division prior to his deployment to the South Pacific in World War II. Juan was a front line infantry scout. During a beach landing on the island of Latie in the Philippines, he was wounded and awarded the Purple Heart. Unfortunately, due to the severity of his wounds, which penetrated both legs, he was unable to continue his boxing career. Via the G.I. Bill, Juan enrolled at Phoenix Technical School and acquired auto repair skills. With Juan and Mary’s belief in the American dream, coupled with their tenacity and natural intuitive business sense, they became successful entrepreneurs.
Bob and John
Bob and John have continued to work in the business since its inception. Bob has a degree from ASU in Industrial Arts, which includes auto mechanics, drafting, and machine shop, and he served in the Air Force as an air traffic controller. John received a wrestling scholarship to Phoenix College, and then in 1971, he served in the 101st Airborne as an infantry 60 machine gunner in I Corp, Vietnam. Via the G.I. Bill, he obtained a degree in Business Administration from ASU and a Master’s degree in Economics from the University of the Americas in Puebla, Mexico.
Other Staff Members
Olivia, John’s wife, began working alongside John’s mother learning all of the duties of a small business while she attended college and raised their two children. She is currently the office manager and supervises all of the administrative functions of the business.
The company has been owned and operated by family members since 1954. During the many years, we have all been working side by side to provide our loyal and new customers with the best quality parts and service available. We currently have 10 family members and several professional long time staff members working on a daily basis to achieve that goal.
Both Juan and Mary believed and instilled in us the work ethic and the belief that anything is possible in the United States of America. In closing, our service to our country was not a sacrifice, it was an honor.