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Oldest Buick Dealership Still Operating?


davenc
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The company has had a couple of ownership transitions over the years, but The Baker Garage of Baker City, Oregon has been a Buick dealer since 1913 and has operated continuously out of the same building throughout its entire history.<P>When the ownership transitions occurred, the new owner always began as an employee and gradually purchased an ownership stake over a period of years.<P>I wish I had been more savvy back in the 1970's when the long-term parts manager -- Mike Melowaukie -- retired. The guy had old stuff stashed everywhere! I shudder to think what might have happened to a lot of that old parts inventory.

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It is generally acknowledged by Buick and the Bennett family that the Bennett dealership in Wayland, NY (Finger Lakes Region) is the oldest Buick dealership in continuous operation by the same family since 1922. That is 80 years of continuous ownership by the same family and last name this year.<P>Guy Bennett, Sr. and his brother Homer started the Buick agency in Wayland, NY in 1922 in a building they built in 1921. The building is still used today for the dealership and states Bennett Brothers - 1921 above the showroom window. Over the years the Bennett agency assumed the Chevrolet and Oldsmobile franchises in Wayland.<P>Guy, Sr. passed away at age 103 in May 1999. The Guy Bennett, Sr. annual award sponsored by the Finger Lakes Chapter is given to the highest scoring pre-war Buick at the BCA National Meet each year.<P>Guy Jr. joined his father and uncle in 1953. The first new Buick he sold was a 1953 Roadmaster Model 72R. The oldest car he sold new in his car collection is a 1955 Century Model 63. <P>Guy Jr. continues to operate the dealership today with his wife Anita and sons Jim and Guy Brooks. Jim works in sales and Guy Brooks works in service.<P>How do I know all of this? I have been priviledged to have had two tours of the Bennett car collection over the past three years. The first was on my return from the 1999 BCA National Meet in Columbus, OH and the second was last year when I led a Minuteman Chapter tour through Central and Western NY to the 2001 BCA National Meet in Buffalo.<p>[ 03-18-2002: Message edited by: Marc Brouillette ]

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I have a photo of my July 1999 visit to the Bennett dealership and collection in Wayland, NY.<P>I think I finally figured out how to load a photo here.<P>Click on URL below:<BR> <A HREF="http://hometown.aol.com/marcbrou/myhomepage/photo.html" TARGET=_blank>http://hometown.aol.com/marcbrou/myhomepage/photo.html</A> <P>IMG<p>[ 03-19-2002: Message edited by: Marc Brouillette ]

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Guest James Conkwright

Roberts Brothers Buick, Pontiac, GMC in Owensboro, KY opened about 1912 I believe. They are still in business today and still family owned.<P>James Conkright<BR>1950 Buick 46-S<BR>1958 Cadillac Series 62 Conv<BR>1971 Chevrolet Monte Carlo<BR>2002 Chevrolet Avalanche Z71

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The Magna Automobile Company in Holyoke, Massachusetts was a single marque Buick dealership from 1908 to 1998, ninety years!<P>Mr. Magna the founder sold the dealership to some of his employees in the late fifties or early sixties. While the name of the dealership never changed, I am uncertain how many owners Magna had over the years.<P>The original Magna dealership was in the center of Holyoke. In 1922 the dealership moved to Route 5 (the major North/South Route in Western MA) before I-91. The dealership was at the corner of Northampton Street and Dwight Street until it was torn down in 1999. The dealership was closed down by Buick August 1, 1998. The owners sold the land and building to developers who built a new Walgreens store on the site!<P>My maternal grandfather bought five of the seven Buicks he purchased during his lifetime from Magna (1930, 1934, 1950, 1956, and 1963).<P>In September 1984, several months after my grandfather passed away, I came across a low mileage 1939 Special Sport Coupe originally sold at Magna on January 26, 1939. The car came with the original Bill of Sale. I purchased the car and still have it today. <P>During the late eighties I attended a BCA Regional Meet in Connecticut. On my way home I took a photo of my 39 in front of Magna's. The photo can be viewed at the link below:<BR> <A HREF="http://hometown.aol.com/marcbrou/myhomepage/photo.html" TARGET=_blank>http://hometown.aol.com/marcbrou/myhomepage/photo.html</A><p>[ 03-19-2002: Message edited by: Marc Brouillette ]

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  • 9 years later...

Another old Buick dealer might have been the Drennen Motor Company of Birmingham,Al. The original Drennen company was started by Hubert Drennen and was a distributor for General Motors products in Alabama starting in 1908. The company ended up being the Don Drennen Buick in Hoover,AL. Don Drennen who I believe was the grandson of the original owner just recently passed. The store has recently been sold. Here is a link to some history starting on page 3.

http://www.birminghamhistorycenter.org/uploadedFiles/File/Newsletter_format_2Vol3.pdf

Edited by Larry Schramm (see edit history)
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I always like showing the picture of Bennett Buick with my car in front. The day I took this picture I was across the street with my camera and Guy JR. was walking up from the south with his camera in hand.

He was excited to see the '60 Electra in front. When their son Jim was born in 1960 Guy picked him and Anita up at the hospital in a '60 Buick.

2%20001.jpg

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