Can you unlock the architectural secrets of the Auto Chek ten-minute smog centers?

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    The design started with a sketch and a smoggy dream. Soon after California began mandating vehicle inspections in 1982, Auto Chek founder John Wilson drew up his vision of what would become six truncated drive-thru pyramids (much like the buildings in the movies Tron and Blade Runner, which were playing that summer).  Architect Paul Essick realized the design in brick, sailcloth, chain-link fencing, plastic, steel, and Tinkertoy-like frames. “In those days the smog check was a new technology,” Essick says. “So we looked like new technology.”
     
    Photograph courtesy flickr/Nagyman