Community News

Huntington Beach Area Happenings

by: Chris MacDonald
Published: June 27, 2022


HUNTINGTON BEACH...From Patrick Brenden, Bolsa Chica Conservancy CEO...
4TH OF JULY - PARADE - CHAMPAGNE BRUNCH Time is running out! Tickets are selling fast! Watch the world famous Huntington Beach 4th of July Parade from the elevated second floor perch of Fred's Mexican Cafe right at Main Street and Pacific Coast Highway while enjoying an all-you-can-eat Champagne Brunch. Advance reservations required. Register today: SUMMER CAMP Are you looking for an educational and fun weeklong summer camp program for your aspiring student scientist? For grades K-3, the program runs June 27-July 1. For grades 4-7, the program runs July 11-July 15. Check it out and register today:


Huntington Beach City Historian Jerry Person presents: Remember When -

Theodore Robins Celebrates 100 years in Business


Anyone who has lived in Orange County for any length of time would have heard of Theodore Robins Ford dealership in Costa Mesa. This year, 2022, the dealership is celebrating 100 years in business and its still in the Robins family, a truly remarkable feat.

In 1921 Theodore Robins Sr. started an auto repair business in Balboa and during this time the elder Robins heard about the possibility of getting a franchise from the Ford Motor Company and the money that could be made from it.

Robins knew a good thing when it comes to you and he traveled to Los Angeles and signed the Franchise agreement wit the company. A week later he sold his first Ford car for $637.10, a goodly sum in those early days. The dealership prospered and as time passed his son Theodore Robins Jr. took over running the business and later his two sons, Dave and Jim are running the Costa Mesa dealership today.

So what is all this got to do with Huntington Beach history?

Automobile dealerships have always played an important part in Huntington Beach's auto history and on Saturday, August 24, 1940 none other then that veteran Orange County automobile dealer, Theodore Robins opened a Ford dealership here in our city at 225 5th Street.

The $10,000 building he had constructed at the corner of 5th & Olive was build by pioneer contractors, the Catching Brothers to house Robins modern Ford agency and also a Signal Gas & Oil Company Service Station. It contained a model showroom, office quarters, service and repair department, parts and accessories departments and a used car lot adjoining the building.

Well over 1500 people attended the grand opening ceremonies including Mrs. Robins with music performed by Theodore Robin Jr. on the accordion.

Huntington Beach Mayor Marcus M. McCallen led an impromptu parade through the city streets accompanied by Judge Patton and Chief Les Grant in a 1914 Ford.

Mr. Robins along with his general manager Calvin Nagel, service manager Oliver Hitterdale, Ford specialist Merle Rayne and sales manager Vern Mohn comprised the agency's staff. Signal Gas operator Jack Tinsley Jr. dispensed gasoline from any of its three pumps.

The dealership continued until 1948 here in Huntington Beach when Don Grant Motors opened, Grant remained until June 1951 when Ralph Berry opened his Ford agency there in July.

By 1952 Jim Briggs Ford now occupied the building and by 1956 you could purchase your Ford from Mark Downing Ford. He remained until it was turned into a body repair shop by Cliff Forrester in 1959.

P/M Radiator and Coast Ambulance occupied the site in the mid-1960s and it was in the 1960s that Robins purchased 10 acres of land in Costa Mesa and moved his dealership there.

By the early seventies Fifth Street's Cleaning Division occupied the site and in the late seventies the present tenant Richard Thorpe and his Pristine Porsche would continue the building's automotive history.

Theodore Robins Sr. died in 1978, his son Theodore Robins Jr. passed away in 2016. Dave and Jim are continuing the family tradition and may soon turn over the business to Dave's two daughters, Nicole Boukather and Ashley Farrell.

Maybe within the next hundred years, Huntington Beach may again see a Theodore Robins Ford dealership along the Boulevard of Cars of Beach Blvd. in Surf City USA.


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