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Dad's First Car

The included picture shows Reg McGee, my father, sitting in his first car: a 1917 used Gray-Dort.

The car company name came from Bill Gray of Chatham and Dallas Dort from Flint, MI., both carriage builders who went together to build a car to compete against the Ford Model T and Chevy offerings. It was quite successful in Canada. Gray-Dort’s were built from 1915-1925.


An interesting story: My brother Alvin had befriended an old harness maker in Ripley Ontario many years ago who knew about everything in that area that was going on.  He would tell Alvin, for a few bucks of course, about anybody he knew that was looking for a car or truck and in those days you went to the farmer if you wanted to sell a vehicle

The harness maker told Alvin that a Mr. Wilson Woods, farming near Belfast (outside Lucknow) was looking for a good used car so Alvin took  a real nice late model  (1950) Chevrolet car that had just been traded in, up to see him.  Upon arrival at his farm and introducing himself, Mr. Woods said, "see that old car chassis sitting over there, now used as a bucksaw?"  He then walked over to the chassis, turned off one of the hub caps which just happened to read Gray-Dort, handed it to Alvin and said "this is off of your father's car."  Alvin still has that hub cap (grease cap to the old-timers) to this day.

It seems that Reg. had traded the 1917 Gray-Dort off for a 1922 model but the car proved most unreliable.  He traded it to Mr. Woods for a horse and buggy.  Shortly after that a fellow who had experienced a mishap while driving his Ford Model T that had scared him badly wanted rid of it and Reg. traded him the recently acquired horse and buggy for the Model T as he felt he was now going to have a reliable car.

We feel these dealings sowed the seed that took our father from farming near Kintail to wanting to be in the car business which did happen in 1929 by acquiring the little garage that’s still standing on Hamilton Street to this day.

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