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The Ford Car Dealers of Goderich (In depth)

Now you might be surprised at me writing such an article but I have always said to anyone who listens, that Ford built the second best vehicles on the market! So there!

I think you will find many surprises and memories here. I enjoyed writing this article for you.

 

W. E. Kelly was the first person selling Ford cars in Goderich. 1914-1916. A Model T Touring car sold for $650.00 in 1914 in Canada. In 1917 he partnered up with P.J. MacEwan but that did not last long as Peter MacEwan became the dealer in 1918. By this time the Model T Touring was down to $495.00

 



 

By 1922 Bill Tebbutt and Geo. MacEwan had purchased the Ford dealership from Peter MacEwan and sold Fords from 1922-1928 at the corner of Kingston & Victoria streets (where Rexall is now. The new Model A car that came out in 1928 was such a huge success that they started to convert some of them as Lorries to pick up passengers from the docks and Hotels as tourism was really flourishing in Goderich. A surprise visit was from Henry Ford who arrived in town with his own caboose attached at the rear of the train. Upon arrival he went to the Ford dealership for a visit and was horrified to find these alterations happening to his beautiful new creation- the Model A, and he immediately terminated their franchise. That did not wreak havoc to MacEwan and Tebbutt as they applied for and became Chevrolet dealers the next year.

 

Frank Wood in April of 1929 became the new Ford dealer and operated from a garage at St. Andrews Street. This is the same man who owned the Pool Hall (now Finchers) and a cabin Rental business on South Street. Not sure how long he stayed with Ford but by 1939 he was selling Studebakers on South Street.

 

Stan. Prevett became the Ford dealer in 1937 at the Livery on South Street. In 1939 he added on the new Mercury.  In 1958-1960 he also had the ill fated Edsel added to his lineup of cars. Bob (Gus) Chisholm and Ed. Sowerby were salespeople plus a Bill Meers who left Gallagher Motors in London to come and sell cars in Goderich. Ron Bushell was in charge of the parts department. Prevett ran the dealership till the 1971 models came out but by this time Mr. Prevett, a fine gentleman, had passed away.

 



 

In 1946 our first cousin Donald Aberhart arrived in Town fresh from working for the Ford Motor Company and he was granted the Mercury, Lincoln and Mercury car franchise. Mercury was then taken from Prevett and the replacement car was called the Monarch. Burns Jerry was on sales and Alf. Hoy was service manager. They were located at 39 St. Andrews Street. The new Meteor was added to his franchise in 1949 but in 1959 Don. Switched to Volkswagen. In 1971 he sold out to McGee Motors who absorbed the building into their present one  located on the corner of Hamilton and St. Andrews St. (soon to become a huge condo complex). Don Aberhart passed away at 100 years of age.

 

In 1962 Harold Cooper became the new Mercury dealer at the 5 points. IAC Finance Company closed him down exactly one year later. Arnold Vint from Town was working for him at the time.

 

Knowing the end was coming to Studebaker, Rex and Irene Duckworth took over the Mercury line up at his building on the Huron Road. They also operated a scrap yard and a school bus service there. They were the dealers till 1975.

 

In 1971 Clayton Amberry who had worked for Stan. Prevett became the new Ford dealer but packed it up within a year.

 

In 1972 along came Ken Hutchins, a local building contractor and he decided to take on the Ford franchise. Working with him was Burns Jerry, Tommy Rompf, Grant Volland and Jack Howarth. This lasted one year- Back to Building homes for Hutchins. This was all still happening in the Livery. One side note, doing renovations Hutchins knocked out a back wall. I remember him calling me to say he had found this huge cache of new and used Model T parts hidden behind this wall,  and was I interested. The answer was no so he got rid of or destroyed them, I don’t know which. (no regrets on my part)

 

1975-1982, Peter Parent and Jim Green landed in town and took over the Ford-Lincoln-Mercury franchise, on the Huron Road. Very soon they were gone. McGee Motors bought out their leasing business.

 

Again- and only from 1983-1985, the new Ford dealers in Town were brothers Peter and Frank Strickland from Toronto. Their relationship with Ford was rocky right from the start so they divested themselves from Ford in short order and took on AMC and Toyota.

 

Believe it or not- the next Ford dealers were a Mr. Hoy and a Mr. Dick operating as Highway Ford, only located on West Street. This lasted just one year. 1985-1986

 

Ford sure was having a tough time keeping successful dealers in Goderich!

 

In 1987- 2004, Dennis Demerling became the Ford dealer on the Huron Road. He was a very nice man but decided to try other things than selling cars.

 

In 1987-2004 the newest Ford dealer was Paul Kechnie, now a Chevrolet dealer in Town. Both franchises failed and the Chevrolet was picked up by McGee Motors.

 

NOTE: AS OF THIS WRITING WE HAVE NOT HAD A FORD FRANCHISE DEALER IN GODERICH FOR 17 YEARS WHICH IS A REAL SHAME. YEARS AGO THE GODERICH DEALERS WERE KNOWN AS THE “MAGNIFICENT SEVEN”.  WITH THIS AND SOME JOINT ADVERTISING AND CAR SHOWS,  IT BROUGHT MANY PEOPLE TO OUR TOWN. People who spent money here, eating out, buying goods at our many stores, and lots of new and used cars to choose from.

 

I have tried to be as accurate as this old memory will allow. If you have any pertinent info about this article please feel free to email me at buigmc@yahoo.ca




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