Happy Valley Auto Repair

A History of Service Excellence

The Roots of an 85 year-old business.

wilhelm state fair race car 1932

Wilhelm Automotive’s longtime presence in Arizona began in the late 1880s when the original settlers arrived from Peoria, llinois. Tuck Blackwell set up a blacksmith shop to serve the hardy souls making the desert their new home. He eventually sold his shop, and it became the Jennings Brother’s Garage.

In 1928, young Joe Wilhelm who was only in his early 20s partnered up with his uncle John Ansel to buy the Jennings Brother’s Garage, and they opened Wilhelm Garage. The farmers of the early West Valley depended on Wilhelm Garage to keep their machinery in running order —often accepting crates of vegetables as payment.


wilhelm 1950 garage

In 1979, the Wilhelms sold the garage to Charley and Mary Jane Gyder, who continued the tradition of the family business with their sons, Thomas and Doug. They were tapped as the next generation of business owners in 1996, and Wilhelm Automotive expanded to occupy five locations, with the Peoria operation remaining as the company headquarters. Today Chris Garman, grandson of Charley and Mary Jane Gyder, is the 3rd generation to run the family business.


water tower falling

The philosophy that Joe Wilhelm established was very simple – perform quality service, do everything you can to accommodate your customers and always give back to your community.

Interested in learning more about “the good old days”? Visit these historical websites:

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