After honing his mechanic skills for a few years as an apprentice at Denver Import Motors, Al Andersen opened Foreign Car Service, Ltd., in 1953. The original business concept centered around a mobile repair service – working on customers’ cars in their driveways. Working out of a single-axle Montgomery Ward’s trailer towed behind his 1951 MG TD, Al thought he’d found the perfect business niche changing oil, doing tune-ups, and other repairs in customers’ driveways. After one very long, very cold winter, however, the mobile repair business didn’t seem like such a good idea so he started looking for indoor space.
Al rented his first shop near 4th and Federal with a Dairy Queen-type restaurant in front and a pit and two service bays in the back. From 1954-1957, Al worked on a variety of foreign makes, including MG, Jaguar, Alfa Romeo, Austin-Healey, Triumph, and the Singer that his new wife Ila originally brought in for repairs in 1952.
After a couple years of running his own business, Al had a great job offer to work for Kumpf Motors from 1957 to 1958. He closed his shop before he went to Kumpf, and then was hired as service manager with the Arnold Brothers shop in Boulder. For two years, this meant commuting up the then very-rural Highway 93.
During this time, Al and Ila were both very active in the MG Car Club and local Sports Car Club of America chapter. They successfully raced their 1951 black MG TD in time trials, hill climbs, and rallies from Steamboat Springs to Aspen and places in between.
By this time, Al and Ila were starting a family, so it was time to find a new location for Foreign Car Service, Ltd. They found new rental space at 7011 West Colfax and opened the doors of the business again in 1960. Twelve years later, they bought the property as the business continued to grow.
In 1978, a recently built body shop facility in Golden came on the market. With six bays, a waiting room, ample room for parts, and a separate space for the diesel dynamometer, the property at 16289 West Colfax became the new home for Andersen’s Foreign Car Service, Ltd. Once surrounded by horse pasture, the shop is now flanked by large auto dealerships, making it the perfect location for an independently owned repair facility that specializes in customer service and value.