Specializing in World-Class Automobiles

Author Archives: Allan Yalowitz

25 Years and Counting

In August of1992, a new auto collision repair business opened in a pair of buildings on North Avenue just East of Sheffield on Chicago’s Near North Side. The name, Gold Coast Auto Body, reflected the shop’s close proximity to the fabled lakefront neighborhood of the same name as well as the caliber of automobiles that would be serviced there. Mercedes-Benz. Porsche. Audi. The “gold standard” of automobiles.

Owner and proprietor Lorenzo Martino knew the territory. Since 1963, he had run the body shop for Loeber Motors, one of Chicagoland’s oldest and most successful Mercedes dealerships. His loyalty was rewarded in 1991 when the Loeber family, needing the body shop space for expansion, supported GCAB’s startup and gave Lorenzo the opportunity to turn his dream of owning his own shop into reality.

He certainly made the most of it. Together with sons Dominic and Mario, who joined the business shortly after opening, Lorenzo soon built GCAB into one of the most successful collision repair facilities specializing in luxury cars. By 2000, they had outgrown the original space on North Avenue, and in August of that year, GCAB moved to a new 50,000-square-foot facility at 900 West Division Street.

And that is where Gold Coast Auto Body remains today. While their father retired in 2002, Dominic and Mario Martino continue to carry on the family tradition of providing Chicagoland’s best collision repair service for the finest automobiles on the planet. They’ve been at it for 25 years – and are looking forward to 25 more!

For more about GCAB’s 25th Anniversary, check out Gold Coast Auto Body Blog.

What’s the significance of “I-CAR Gold Class” certification?

I-CAR is one of the most important organizations in the technical certification field, and inarguably one of the most demanding. I-CAR Gold Class is the highest designation an auto collision repair business can attain, one that assures you that the shop is equipped, trained, and prepared to handle repairs on vehicles incorporating the latest materials and technologies. Only 10% of body shops nationwide currently qualify for Gold Class designation, and Gold Coast Auto Body is one of only a handful in the entire Chicagoland area.

What does it take to become Gold Class? To give you an idea, check out I-CAR’s training regimens for each of the following positions: Refinish Technician, Steel Structural Technician, Non-Structural Technician, and Estimator. As a Gold Class shop, we are required to have technicians on staff who have achieved “Platinum” status – I-CAR’s highest individual training level – in each of those areas. That represents an enormous investment of time and money on our part, but one that’s well worth it for any body shop that aspires to be the best in the business.

What Makes Working on Tesla Vehiclas So Much Different From Other Cars?

If you own a Tesla, you already that it’s a very unique automobile in many ways, from its unrivaled range and performance among electric vehicles, to its unprecedented perfect 5-star NHTSA safety rating – the highest in the history of automotive safety testing. Both are made possible in large part by Tesla’s aluminum structure and aluminum panels.

Few auto body shops are equipped to work with aluminum, and very few of those are certified to work on Teslas. When the company launched its certification program in 2013, they literally hand-picked the body shops they wanted to work with in each market. Gold Coast Auto Body was an obvious choice for Chicago, thanks to our experience with Mercedes, Audi, and other high-end luxury vehicles that incorporate aluminum structural components.

Even so, earning Tesla certification was a challenge. We had to invest in new equipment and update our aluminum area, and (two) of our auto body technicians spent several weeks in California undergoing intensive training in Tesla’s facilities. Now, as one of the only Tesla Approved Collision Repair Centers in the entire Chicagoland area, we are the clear choice to fix your Tesla.

Is Your Work Covered By A Warranty?

Yes. In fact, GCAB’s lifetime warranty is as exceptional as the work it covers. It guarantees the integrity of all workmanship associated with your job for as long as you own the vehicle, and also honors the manufacturer’s warranties on all parts and materials utilized.

Our warranty terms are unsurpassed in the Chicago area, which is just one more reason to call Gold Coast first for all your auto body needs. Schedule an appointment for a free estimate today, or just stop by to find out more.

Can you help me with a rental car?

We deal directly with Enterprise Rent-A-Car, whose local office is at 930 W. Division, and encourage our customers to contact them a few days in advance of your scheduled work. Their phone number is 312-475-2000.

We also advise you to check your auto insurance policy for rental car reimbursement coverage when your vehicle is in the shop due to an accident. Even if you have such coverage, keep in mind that it may not cover the cost of a vehicle that is a direct equivalent of your own, nor will it necessarily cover the entire period your car is in the shop. In most policies, the dollar amounts stated are “policy limits,” which may or may not apply to your specific situation.

Our best advice is to talk to your insurance agent before you book a rental car. And again, call our friends at Enterprise for service you can trust.