Steve Beck, owner/mechanic
Steve is known by his friends in the car world as a master mechanic and vintage car expert. If he is not working on cars, he is at a racetrack, car show or swap meet. Born and raised in Santa Monica, he worked mostly on British cars in his youth. He went on to work for GT International Motors, BMW specialists in Santa Monica, then Reuman (now Century) BMW in North Hollywood where he was certified as a BMW technician. Steve and Chris Toppenberg started Check Point Automotive in 1994 and they have been servicing their clients’ BMWs ever since. Called upon for his extensive knowledge, Steve regularly judges classic car shows including the Palos Verdes, Dana Point, and Santa Barbara Concourses. He is a docent at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in Monterey. He is also a founding member of Shelby Club Los Angeles Chapter.
Chris Toppenberg, owner/mechanic
Born in San Bernardino, Chris lived most of his life on the west side of Los Angeles. He was mechanically inclined at an early age and remembers changing the oil in his dad’s car when he was 9. He began his career as a mechanic working at Bagge and Son Brakes & Suspension in Santa Monica. He then attended National Technical School in Los Angeles where he was formally trained in auto repair. He landed a position at Reuman BMW, then at Zipper BMW, Santa Monica BMW, and Beverly Hills BMW where he worked as a certified BMW technician for a combined total of 15 years. In 1994, he and Steve Beck founded Check Point Automotive in the current location to serve local BMW owners’ needs.
Tom Cleave, mechanic
Originally from Chicago, Tom moved to Los Angeles in 1967. He was formally trained as a classical cellist. He regularly plays bass with various Rock & Roll bands in the LA area. His love for cars started in college and he built and raced his F Production Sprite in SCCA from the ’70s through the ’90s. He started his own company, Autobahn BMW, in the early ’80s, Rensport Racing in the early ’90s and was in business for more than 30 years. He is often called upon by vintage racing teams to be their consultant and mechanic. Tom joined Check Point with his skills in repairing BMWs from all periods.
Mario Rubio, office administrator
Mario was born and raised in Santa Monica. In his youth he worked on and enjoyed riding motorcycles. He worked as a facility manager for a major studio in Culver City for more than 10 years. He also worked for GT International Motors before joining Steve and Chris. He helps Check Point using his logistics and organization skills, making sure the customers are well informed and satisfied.
Vicente "Vinnie" Zelaya, mechanic
Originally from Memphis, Tennessee, Vinnie was always interested in fixing anything mechanical since his childhood. He repaired cars for his friends and family in high school. He attended the Los Angeles Trade Technical College where he majored in Auto Repair and Related Technology. Vinnie thinks it is a blessing to be able to work on cars as his profession. If he is not working on cars, he is fixing anything on wheels including skateboards and bicycles.
David Barr, mechanic
David is a native Angelino and remembers working with his dad on his Jaguar XK 150 when he was a toddler. He believes he was born a mechanic. In his youth, he fixed his and his friends’ bicycles. He went on to work as a head mechanic for Off Road Warehouse in San Diego specializing in VW off road race cars. He also worked for GT International Motors in Santa Monica. Then he started his own company, Summit Automotive specializing in BMWs and Italian cars, and successfully operated it for 33 years. David came to join Check Point with his well-established clientele and expertise in modern and classic BMWs.
James Bailey, mechanic
James was born in Texas but has spent most of his life in Los Angeles. He built his first hot rod when he was 13 and never stopped working on cars and motorcycles since. Sharing a passion for cars, James has known Chris and Steve since he was a teenager. He graduated from Los Angeles Trade Technical College with an Associate Degree in Diesel and Related Technology. Since joining Check Point in 2009, James has been repairing and maintaining modern BMWs as well as classics.
Ian Dillard, mechanic
Ian grew up in Santa Clarita. He worked on BMW and Harley motorcycles with his dad since an early age. He then went on to fixing BMX bikes for his friends and family during high school. He also repaired and maintained tractors and farm equipment at a Northern California dairy farm. Ian says cars are more than transportation, they are something you take pride in owning and maintaining.
We are a handful of car fanatics who turned our passion into our profession. We love cars and care about yours.