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Carl Gutsch; Gutsch Brothers Auto Works
Carl Gutsch, 1880s-1919; Gutsch Bros. Auto Works, 1919-1950s; Los Angeles, California
Associated Firms

Gutsch Bros. Auto Works was a small Los Angeles auto top and upholstery shop that did occasional custom body work as evidenced by pictures of a 1925 Packard Model 236 boat-tailed roadster seen to the right. The brothers - Edmund P. and  Henry C. Gutsch - were capably trained by their father Carl, who established an early Los Angeles carriage trimming shops during the late 1880s.

Carl Gutsch was born September 1862 in Berlin, Germany, to Frederick & ?? Gutsch. He emigrated to the United States in 1883 via Hamburg, marrying Alma Boldt (b. Oct 1867 in Hamburg, Germany) the daughter of August Boldt and Margretha Dorothea Heidorn of Hamburg, Germany on November 17, 1888.

To the blessed union were born four children: Carl (b. Dec 18, 1889-d.Dec 18, 1889); Alice Emma (b. June 13, 1891-d. Nov. 10, 1962 - married Charles F. Huebsch); Edmund P. (b. April 18 1893, d. Sep. 5, 1955); and Henry C. (b. Aug. 07, 1902-d. Dec. 24, 1999) Gutsch.

The senior Gutsch is listed in the 1890 Los Angeles directory under ‘Carriage Trimmers’ at 130 Requena Street and shortly thereafter - March 2, 1892 - he became a US Citizen.

He’s listed in the 1896 Los Angeles directory under ‘Carriage Trimmers’ at 234 Requena Street, which was located at the corner of 200 N. Los Angeles St. in the heart of Los Angeles ‘Carriage Row’.

The 1901 Los Angeles directory reveals he relocated to a larger facility at 162 N. Los Angeles Street. A small item included in the February 12, 1909 issue of the Los Angeles Herald mentions the shop:

“Negro Held On Suspicion

“The discovery by Patrolman Rowe last night of a hole cut in the show window of the harness shop conducted by Carl Gutsch, 162 North Los Angeles street, led to the arrest of John Gayton, a negro, who it thought, cut the glass with a diamond ring. He was booked at the central police station on a charge of suspicion.”

By 1915 the bulk of his work involved automobile tops and upholstery and his listing in the 1915 Los Angeles Directory lists him under 'Automobile Top Manufacturers' at 162 N. Los Angeles. After a public education in the Los Angeles schools both of his surviving sons, Edmund P. and Henry C., joined the family business, and in 1919 the firm was reorganized as Carl Gutsch & Sons. The firm remained small and were rarely mentioned in theautomotive trades save for being included as an authorized duPont Fabrokoid user in the June 11, 1921 issue of Automobile Topics.

The firm was reorganized as Gutsch Bros. in 1925 upon the senior Gutsch's retirement after which he embarked upon a well-deserved European vacation. His 1925 passport indicates the firm had relocated to 517 W. 22nd St., Los Angeles by that time.

Like many other small firm of its day, Gutsch Bros. took on whaterver work was available, which included the customization of motorcars to meet their owner's taste. One such vehicle was commissioned by Merrill Madsen, a Minneapolis car dealer, who comissioned the firm to create a boat-tailed roadster out of his 1925 Packard Model 236 sport phaeton that he had recently purchased used from Earl C. Anthony. The unusual car featured huge bilateral spotlights mounted on poles emanating from the running boards, smoothed fenders and stylish disc wheels.

The pictures to the right were published in the May / June 1992 issue of Special Interest Autos ( #129) in Kit Foster’s Lost & Found column. Once completed, the car accompanied Madsen to Minneapolis after which it was sold to a third party. It current whereabouts are unknown although it's last knonw owner was Minneapolis CCCA member John Morgan.

It's likely Gutsch Bros. completed more one-off customs, although their main line of work remained automobile tops, upholstery and seat covers as evidenced by the following display advertisement that appeared in the Los Angeles papers in 1948:

“Auto Seat Covers
Tailored to your individual car.
1948 Colors and Designs
Convertible Top Recovering, Upholstering and Relining
We Convert Coupe to Club Coupes
"Ed" - GUTSCH BROS. - "Hank"
Automotive Tailors Since 1919
PR. 7-9957 - 517 W. 22nd St., L.A. 7.

Gutsch’s former N. Los Angeles St. shops were razed in the late 1980s to make way for the construction of the Edward Roybal Federal Building. Their W. 22nd street shop remains and is currently home to a European automobile specialist.

Edmond P. Gutsch's obituary appeared in the September 6, 1955 edition of the Los Angeles Times:

“Edmund P. Gutsch

“Funeral services for Edmund P. Gutsch, 62, of 5375 S. Victoria Ave., will be conducted at 3 pm tomorrow at Grace Chapel, Inglewood. Mr. Gutsch, who died yesterday at home, was a partner with his brother Henry in an automobile paining and upholstery shop at 517 W. 22nd St. Mr. Gutch was a native of Los Angeles. He leaves, in addition to his widow, Caroline, two sons, Edmund B. and Harold L.; a sister, Mrs. Alice Huebsch, and six grandchildren. Interment in Inglewood Park Cemetery will follow the services.”

Gutsch’s former N. Los Angeles St.  shops were razed in the late 1980s to make way for the construction of the Edward Roybal Federal Building.

Edmond's younger brother Henry C. Gutsch passed away on December 24, 1999 at the age of 97.

© 2013 Mark Theobald for






1925 Packard 236 Before

1925 Packard 236 After


Beverly Rae Kimes & Henry Austin Clark - Standard Catalog of American Cars: 1805-1942

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