About Philip Thearle’s Autowerks Collision Center


Hello . . . I’m Phil Thearle and I’ve been in and around the collision repair industry since I was a young boy.  After several jobs, I eventually landed one with a local Mercedes-Benz dealer as a painter.  I was fortunate to benefit from exposure to the factory MBNA training program as well as to the very best equipment available.  Within a few years I decided to strike out on my own and started this company in early 1983, specializing in restoring Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing’s, roadsters and other post-war classics to a Pebble Beach level.  As we grew, we began to see more and more late-models suffering from clear coat failure.  The German’s had yet to come up with a solution for cars exposed to Southern California’s UV-intense climate and finishes were failing within just a few years of purchase.  We did dozens of restorations on these spectacular vehicles but began to accept collision repair as part and parcel to the process. Thus began a new chapter in our book.

I had wondered if there was a market for superior quality in this arena and came up with a model we called “Collision Restoration” to test our theory.  I have always felt that what our clients really deserved, after all was said and done, was virtually undetectable repairs.  We raised the bar in this industry at least a dozen notches by applying the principles and techniques perfected in our restoration model to collision repair and have never looked back.  We must have hit it just right because we began to grow exponentially, year after year, as the county apparently “beat a path to our door”.  We purchased our first building in an industrial park in “Deep Santee” in 1987 and then over New Year’s in 2005, moved into our present 50,000 sq. ft., purpose-built facility here on Mission Gorge Rd and Highway 52.  The trials and tribulations of under-capitalization, rapid growth, long hours, a cyclical economic climate and a dozen other challenges have made this no pony ride but thru the Grace of God, the love and support of my family, our many mentors, the best staff in the industry and the loyalty of over 60,000 satisfied customers, we are very proud to be able to say with confidence that we have provided San Diego County with the very finest in collision repair since 1983!

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