Our Story Toguchi Body Shop, Inc. has been serving Maui since 1958.
Daniel M. Toguchi
Brent M. Toguchi
In 1958, several years after returning home from the Korean War, Masano “Masa” Toguchi decided to open his own business. He had been working for Mr. Richard Hashi, of Hashi Radiator fame, as a “bodyman” for a few years and felt it was time.
M Toguchi Repair is what he called his new venture.
A lot of his business at the time consisted of restoring or “rewrapping” WWII military surplus Jeep bodies that had rusted out since the war.
He would recreate the needed panels one part at a time, using 16 gauge galvanized sheet metal. Each panel was formed, and fabricated into shape utilizing part templates that he had made.
He also hired himself out as a welder, complete with a portable arc welding machine, to supplement the body repair/restoration business. As an interesting side note, he mounted an arc welding machine and used the power takeoff from the four-wheel-drive transfer case to run the welder.
When did we start doing collision repair?
We need to recall some interesting facts. The population on the island of Maui was approximately 43,000 during the late 1950s. Hawaii was still a U.S. Territory, like Puerto Rico is today. Hawaii would become the 50th state in 1959. There were not many cars on the road, and not many accidents.
The original shop was located on Algoroba Lane in McGerrow Village, in Puunene. McGerrow Village was one of the many “camps” or residential housing projects provided by Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar during its reign. His body shop was a small 500 square foot lean-to garage on the side of his parents home.
The year 1963 was the first of three business relocations.
This new location was on the corner of Central Avenue and Vineyard Street in Wailuku town, known today as Hart’s Corner. It was in a one-bay garage of a gas station, where Mr. “Blackie” Masumoto was the proprietor. M. Toguchi Repair was still a one-man operation.
The big move to Maui’s first industrial park came a few years later in 1965. The building was a former WWII military Quonset hut. The area known as 18th Service had 40 Quonset huts comprising the industrial park. M. Toguchi Repair was in Quonset number 16. Address: #16 Kahului Beach Road. Telephone number 35-339. The 4000-square-foot building had the space needed to accommodate a few employees.
In 1968, Mr. John Fitzgibbons’ Volkswagen Maui entered the new car market as a stand-alone Volkswagen dealership (where Enterprise Rent-a-Car is today, on Hana Hwy.). This was a key time for M. Toguchi Repair to get into the collision repair market. “Herbie The Love Bug” was a Disney Motion Pictures Hollywood hit, and Beetlemania had swept across the United States and the island of Maui. As VW Beetle sales on Maui increased, so too did the need for its repair.
M. Toguchi Body Shop Today
Many of the other body shops on island were NOT enthused to repair this odd unibody car from Germany. And so a business niche was discovered.
Masa and his body shop crew loved the odd little car and got good at repairing the collision damaged Bug and its siblings. Masa was known island-wide as ‘the Volkswagen Guy’. If you needed collision repair on a Volkswagen vehicle, M. Toguchi Body Shop was the recommended repairer. The shop also had a wrecking yard adjacent to the shop, containing at least 20 Volkswagen vehicles at all times for parts.
As the popularity of the Volkswagen brand began to fade during the 1980s, M. Toguchi Body Shop evolved to repair other makes of collision-damaged vehicles.
With the aging of the WWII Quonset huts, the County of Maui decided to demolish the old industrial park and build the Maui Arts & Cultural Center. Keopuolani softball and soccer fields were also on the master plan.
So plans for the third move began. The present facility in Wailuku had ground-breaking in November of 1983, and was completed in September 1984.
Though Masa retired in 1993, he came to his shop every day until his passing in 2013.
The current generation of employees shares Masa’s love of cars… and they are pretty good at repairing them as well.
The process of repairing a collision-damaged vehicle has evolved substantially since 1968, and will continue to evolve into the future. Our employees receive training throughout the year to keep current with the latest repair methods and equipment.
Throughout our collision repair evolution, our mission statement has remained constant.
“M. Toguchi Body Shop Inc. will insure our customers’ peace of mind through trust, empathy, and integrity while delivering outstanding customer service and a world-class repair of their vehicle.”
Thank you for allowing us to repair your vehicle.