Old Houston Car Dealers

“take the wheel…make a deal…on a beautiful Rocket Oldsmobile”

Most to all of the Houston car dealers that I shall mention here are long gone. I’m presuming they all are, but with the caveat that one or two may still exist on a low-advertising budget during an era in my life which finds me less involved with car dealers than I ever was as a kid and young man.

I grew up with cars and car dealers because cars were my my dad;s business. Dad had a Dodge-Plymouth dealership in Beeville, Texas back in the 1930s. In fact, when Dad opened his doors there in 1936, he was briefly recognized as the youngest car dealer in the United States at age 25.

World War II ended our family-run dealership and we moved to Houston on my fifth birthday, December 31, 1942, spending our first Houston night at the old Big Chief Motel on South Main and celebrating New Year’s Eve with burgers at the Prince’s Drive Inn at the South Main/OST “Y” connection of those two old city roads.

Dad spent World War II working as a welder at the Brown’s Shipyard and then went to work as manager of the parts department for the Jess Allen Chrysler-Plymouth dealership near the Broadway/Harrisburg “L” link in 1946. He later held the same job for Bill Lee Motors, a Studebaker dealership on Lawndale, east of 75th, from 1950 to 1958. 1958 is also the year that my parents and siblings moved back to Beeville so Dad could go back into business for himself. I stayed here because I was already into my junior year at the University of Houston by then – and because I had been raised as a Houstonian. I didn’t have to leave town to go home. Home was here.

An off-the-top-of-my-head list of Houston car dealers that are no more includes Jack Roach Ford, Sam Montgomery Oldsmobile, Earl McMillan Ford, Jess Allen Plymouth-Chrysler, Bill Lee (Studebaker) Motors, Art Grindle Motors (I forget what he sold), and so many more that now escape easy memory, and they all sold American cars: Ford, Lincoln, Mercury, Chevrolet, Oldsmobile, Pontiac, Buick, GMC, Cadillac, Hudson, Nash, Kaiser, Fraser, Chrysler, Plymouth, and Dodge.

There were other American cars and far more now-lost dealerships in Houston that I can no longer quickly recall, but they were once here. And they were real. And they basically drove Houston and fired the horsepower of our mid-20th century American economy. Then along came VW, Renault, Fiat, and Toyota – like so many soldiers from the Trojan Horse belly of our new Post WWII world economy – and it was all but over soon for the dominance of Detroit in the American new car world.

Because of my partiality to Oldsmobile, or maybe “just anyway,” I do still easily remember the jingle that Sam Montgomery used to attract new customers by radio. Sung a cappella by a men’s barbershop quartet, the Sam Montgomery Oldsmobile pitch went like this:

“Go to Sam Montgomery, and climb behind a Rocket!

You will find what’s right for you!

A car to fit your pocket!

Take the wheel, make a deal, of a beautiful Rocket Oldsmobile!

Better talk to Sam! – Sam the Rocket Man!

Talk to Sam Montgomery today!

(He’s in the Village!)

Talk to Sam Montgomery – TODAY!”

… Have a nice Thursday, everybody! If you remember the names of the many other now vanished Houston car dealerships that I have so easily forgotten, please post them below as additions to this piece.

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119 Responses to “Old Houston Car Dealers”

  1. David Munger Says:

    Bill-Art Grindle sold Dodge-Cal Worthington Dodge-Mike Persia Pontiac-Bill McDavid Olds-Chuck Davis Chevrolet-DeMontrand Buick-Frizzel Pontiac-and Bland Willis Cadilac are a few I rember.

  2. Vito Schlabra Says:

    My Dad bought a Oldsmobile at Sam White in 1953. I sold Ford Mustangs in 1964 for Joe Meyers on Westhiemer. It was his 1 st. dealership in Houston. I then went to Marcus Jones Buick and later to Ray Jensen Buick. Bob Robertson on the Gulf Freeway was one of the oldest Chevy dealers in Houston. Frizzell Pontiac on Harrisburg had a big sign in front” Whale Of A Deal”. After losing my Chemical operators job at Petro Texas Chemical on Old Galveston road after 20 years and went to Frank Gillman Pontiac on Bellaire before moving to Central Texas.Thats all folks for now.
    Vito

  3. Jack Murphy Says:

    Bill, Lets not forget truck dealerships which were so important to the oil patch,freeway and housing construction and Houston,s phenomenal growth…I mention this because my dad was the parts Mgr. at International Harvester ( Lockwood at Navigation) where thet “tricked out” all the duce and a half Schlumberge rigs. Jefferson Jack

  4. Anthony Cavender Says:

    Bill: Does anyone remember “Aubrey, Orval and Mac”?

    • Bill McCurdy Says:

      Tony:

      Absolutely! Aubrey, Orval & Mac” advertised on Houston Buff scorecards in 1951 and probably earlier. Their ads featured a cartoon of three bald men, looking the other way so that we can see their bald pates. Under the cartoon, the boys left their major marketing slogan: “Aubrey, Orval, & Mac have less overhead in LaPorte.”

      Bill

    • Bobby Krieger Says:

      I thought was Jay Marks Chevy and later Mazda in LaPorte?

  5. James Randal Says:

    Art Grindle was a Dodge dealership. He sponsered the Saturday morning movies and jumped up and down on the hoods of the used cars and he used wild animals, buy yer Chevrolet from Davis, Chuck Davis Chevrolet. I once rode an elephant at the Ford Dealership at the Gulf Freeway and Wayside. Courtesy Chevrolet, Richardson Chevrolet and Frizzel Pontiac where u got a “Whale of a Deal”, and they drug a banner behind a plane frequently. Margery McCurdy, I was yer neighbor on Japonica 1956-1958, love to hear from u. randal@austin.rr.com

  6. Wayne Williams Says:

    Bill: Great column, especially that 1951 two-door. I had one just like it when I was in law school in the late 50’s, then I went on to a 1956 Olds convertible, black and white, then a 1959 Olds convertible which had the biggest trunk in the world. When I was at KU with the 56 convertible, Wilt Chamberlain had one just like it. I used to get a lot of looks until the people determined I wasn’t Wilt.

  7. Frank M Says:

    Being from the Pasadena area, A.C. Collins was there for years, and who could forget fromer Rocket owner, Charlie Thomas-worst rug ever.

  8. Patrick Callahan Says:

    BILL:
    My parents purchased a house on Addison Road (between the Shamrock Hotel and Rice Stadium) from one of the oldest salesmen at either Al Parker Buick or Earl North Buick; the man’s name was Dan Ford. The house still stands today. My favorite Used Car dealer was Cliff Marshall Auto Sales on the SW corner of Milam & W. Gray. Cliff and I (and his family) became close friends over the years and I must have purchased over a dozen various cars from Cliff. [I have owned -maybe 60 cars since I started buying automobiles; – the majority of them “used” – can only recall 5 new ones! Cliff moved to New Waverly on some acreage and raised miniature horses as a hobby, and still dealt in cars as a Wholesaler. Sadly, Cliff was killed in a head-on accident one night while returning to New Waverly on old Hwy 75. The driver that hit Cliff’s car was drunk and had several prior counts of drunk driving.

  9. mike Says:

    Not to nitpick, but Mike Persia sold Chevys, and the jingle quoted was his, not Chuck Davis’. It featured an animated guy in a fez playing drums with: “Buy your Chevrolet from persia. Mike Persia Chevrolet.” It was on the southern edge of downtown, as was Gillman Pontiac before they moved to Sharpstown and Jacoby-Pearson Ford Mercury. Mike Persia himself was from New Orleans and had a dealership there that used the same jingle. The GM was a guy named Joe Conte who later had the Chevy dealership under his own name. As a baseball related sidenote, Rusty Staub sold Chevys for Mike Persia during the off season. I got my first little league glove and a baseball authogrpahed by him on the showroom floor when I was seven years old.

    • Bill McCurdy Says:

      Mike:

      You’re right. As I recall the two separate jingles, the Mike Persia bit went as you described it. The Chuck Davis jingle simple went: “Davis! … Chuck Davis! … Chuck Davis Chevrolet! … Can and will make you a better deal … on America’s number one automobile! … Davis! … Chuck Davis! … Chuck Davis Chevrolet!”

      Bill

    • jim clemens Says:

      do you happen to remeber gthe street address of mike persia chevrolet in houseton in 1966? thanks, jim

      • John C (automotive historian) Says:

        Mike Persia Chevrolet (Houston – Downtown) was located on the corner of McKinney at LaBranch St.

  10. Bob Dendy Says:

    Bill:
    It seems to me Joe Lombardo had a ’51 Olds when we were at Saint Thomas. He was proud of that car and with good reason. How about Ivy Russell Ford?

  11. Patrick Callahan Says:

    Speaking of cars at STHS in the class of ’56; as recalled>
    Peter O’Hare had an all black ’54 Ford w/ the famous Police Interceptor engine – and I think Jimmy Exley had the first ’55 Chevy of all that Class – orange & white with the small V8 (might have been a convertible – and Don McLarty had a ’54 Ford hardtop – blue & white w/ a V8. Jim Greenwood has an old Studebaker green 2- door coupe; that car was a stick shift on the column, but had a small piece on the clutch pedal that was known as a “Hill Holder” and when properly depressed it locked the car in a “park” position so when on an incline you did not have to keep pressure on the brake pedal!

  12. Ronald Vaughan Says:

    I remember Art Grindle. Think he later moved to Florida.

  13. Mark Wernick Says:

    Who had the Chevrolet dealership on the Katy Freeway with the commercial that ended with the jingle, “7777 Katy Freeway – just west of Post Oak!” No Post Oak there anymore, of course.

    • Bill McCurdy Says:

      “7777 Katy Freeway” ….

      Mark:

      Was it Chuck Davis, as in, “Davis … Chuck Davis …. Chuck Davis Chevrolet… 7777 Katy Freeway?”

    • materene Says:

      I worked there at Courtesy Chevrolet in 72, the remodeling made the work area I had almost centered in the Service managers Office area in later years. In 05 I talked with the service manager there and remembering old times even though he hadn’t been there in those early years, he told me then that they planned on building a new place after the new freeway completion, if I remember I heard on the news that he had died sometime before I once again left Houston. Of course I saw the dealership finally close for good with all the disruption in the freeway and the economy. Houston is on a path like those that were living in the early 1900’s saw, it just keeps getting bigger and bigger and old is torn down and new goes up. I don’t know it this is a good thing or not, what I do know is it won’t make a bit of difference for us old guys, I just wish I had some photos of the old places I worked. I’ve looked and looked and never found any photos of the old Al Parker building and Dealership, sure wish I could.

    • Dennis bedingfield Says:

      Courtesy chev

      • materene Says:

        Was it Tom Peacock? I worked there in 74 but later moved from Houston for many years and when I returned in 05 it was a different owner. I forgot all those old guys I worked for got old just like me and dealers were sold and passed on to others. Courtesy was another Katy Freeway dealer and I also worked there in 72, it closed down due to freeway expansion. That wasn’t the plan according to the service manager I talked with in 05 while home, he died after that talk, but I do know he told me that they planned on just moving down the street a little further back off the feeder, it never materialized. I don’t think the City wanted business to build back up after being forced to shut down like they were. That’s the price you pay to be in the big city. I miss home but I don’t miss living there, if that makes any sense.

  14. Oscar S. Says:

    Art Grindle sold Chrysler/Plymouth
    There was also Frizzell Pontiac, Sam White(Buick or Olds)
    Lester Goodson Pontiac, Frank Gillman Pontiac
    Jacobe-Pearson Ford/Lincoln Mercury, Hub Buick, Luke Johnson Ford
    and Bland-Willis Cadillac.
    New car dealerships were either downtown or on Harrisburg between Wayside & where it becomes Broadway by the Old Harrisburg Bank Building

  15. Oscar S. Says:

    Courtesy Chevrolet, 7777 Katy Freeway
    There was also Norm Livermore’s Gulf Coast Dodge across from Gulfgate and there was a Dodge Dealership downtown right across the street from the old Federal Reserve Bank Building.
    But I can’t remember the name.

  16. Gil Goddard Says:

    Art Grindle sold Chrysler’s. I worked for him for one day in his used car lot as a summer job after my freshman year at college. No way I was going to stand around in that good old Houston heat in a suit on an concrete parking lot. Grindle as I recall started out in Fort Worth/Dallas and got run out of town because of some shenanigans. I grew up in Pecan Park on Linden

  17. Bernd Martens Says:

    Hello from Calgary, Canada. Does anybody remember Alfonse Edwin Ortega (1896-1982) who worked many years for Gillman Pontiac in Houston until 1962? We are doing family genealogy project and know very little about my uncle Alfonse except basic information in an obituary. His wife was Ruth V. Ortega, stepson was Lawrence J. Baker of Houston and grandson was David M. Baker, all of Houston. We want to make sure he is not forgotten. Any help would be appreciated. Bernd

  18. Kami Higginson Says:

    Very interesting details you have remarked, thankyou for posting .

  19. Joel Dawes Says:

    Here are a few others from Houston’s past:

    Krieger Dodge-Plymouth, 1918 Louisiana @ Leelend
    Higginbotham Buick, 7001 Harrisburg Blvd
    Turbiville Motors (Lincoln-Mercury) on South Main
    Dow Motor Company (OK by Dow) Chevrolet, Downtown
    Thad Felton Motor Company (Ford) on Milam, Downtown
    J.C. Robison Pontiac on Harrisburg Blvd.
    Lane Oldsmobile, Downtown
    Palm Center Dodge, 5229 Griggs Rd.

    • Bill McCurdy Says:

      Thanks, Joel. Hope I remembered to include the two my dad worked for:

      Jesse Allen Chrysler-Plymouth on Broadway/Harrisburg, and,
      Bill Lee Motors, a Studebaker dealer on Lawndale, two blocks east of 75th.

  20. Sam Montgomery III Says:

    Thanks for the Sam Montgomery Olds jingle. Sam Montgomery Sr. was my grandfather and the one who opened the dealership on Kirby Drive.

  21. Michelle Cole Says:

    Earl McMillan Ford was located downtown Houston at Louisana and Rusk streets. It later moved out to Katy Rd. and was taken over by his son Don McMillan. Burkett Motors (Dodge Plymouth), Rosenstock Motors (DeSoto Plymouth), Mosehart and keller (Studebaker), Knapp Chevrolet, (its a snap to deal with Knapp), Broadway Motor Co. (Hudson) They were located at 402 Broadway and that building used to be Jack Roach Ford, by then Jack Roach had moved to 615 Broadway, then to Bissonnet and Buffalo Speedway about 1953. For a short time while they were waiting to get into the Bissonnet store they were located next door to the tower thearte on Westheimer. South Texas Motor Co. (Kaiser), Vance and sons (Nash), Fly and Harwook (Crosley), Higgenbotham Buick was located on Harrisburg.

  22. matereneTom Materene Says:

    I was surfing trying to find some old photos of the old Al Parker Dealership, all these listed here are familiar but I worked in more than just a few over 30 years. Got my first job after the Army and a place called Vietnam, Florian Meleski the service manager there at Al Parker hired me. It was the nicest friendliest place a person would want to work. Ironically years later I was hired again by Florian when he was service manager at River Oaks Chrysler. Most of the mechanics I worked with in those early years were all much older and near retirement age, I know most are gone now but not forgotten.

  23. John C (automotive historian) Says:

    Naming Houston dealerships sound fun. Remember looking at all of the metal dealer emblem tags and sticker emblazoned on the back bumper and trunk lids of cars? Dealer’s from the 1960s thru early 1980s…….I’m going from memory here.

    Knapp Chevrolet – Washington Ave
    MacRobert Chevrolet – So Post Oak (later AJ Foyt Chevrolet, then Texstar Chevrolet)
    Richardson Chevrolet – SW Freeway at Hillcroft (later Cal Worthington Chevrolet)
    Bob Robertson Chevrolet – Gulf Freeway
    Jimmie Green Chevrolet – Westheimer at Shepherd
    Chuck Davis Chevrolet – OST
    Mike Persia Chevrolet – Downtown (later Joe Conte Chevrolet)
    Joe Conte Chevrolet – Gulf Freeway at Beltway 8
    Tom Peacock Chevrolet – I-10 West
    Courtesy Chevrolet – 7777 Katy Freeway
    Boyd Mullen Chevrolet – Pasadena
    Norman Frede Chevrolet – Clear Lake
    Jay Marks Chevrolet – LaPorte “Less overhead”
    Ford’s Chevrolet – Tomball
    Robbins Chevrolet – Humble
    Marshall Chevrolet – Hempstead
    Lester Goodson Pontiac – Downtown, later I-45 North
    Frizzell Pontiac – Harrisburg, then Woodridge / Gulfgate “Whale of a Deal” (later became Charlie Smith Pontiac)
    Frank Gillman Pontiac – Downtown, later moved to Bellaire Blvd Sharpstown in 1967
    Leo Jarnagin Pontiac – Downtown, later I-10 West “Honey of a Deal”
    Gay Pontiac – Dickinson, TX
    Mahaffey Motors Pontiac – Texas City
    Flowers Pontiac – Galveston
    Al Welling Motors Pontiac – Alvin
    White Pontiac – Rosenberg
    Coon Cole Pontiac – Huntsville
    Sam White Oldsmobile – Beechnut/Sharpstown
    Sam Montgomery Oldsmobile – Main at McGowen/Downtown
    Bill McDavid Oldsmobile – Gulf Freeway / Gulfgate (Later Dan Boone Oldsmobile)
    Mossy Oldsmobile – I-10 Katy Freeway
    Joe Grillo Oldsmobile – Rosenberg
    Earle North Buick – Milam/Downtown
    Marcus Jones Buick – OST, then Bellaire at Hillcroft
    Demontrond Buick – Kirby at Westheimer, later I-45 North
    Hub Buick – Kirby at Westheimer (old Demondtrond showroom)
    Bob Marco Buick – Gulf Freeway (later Enos Cabell Buick?)
    Al Parker Buick – Katy Freeway
    Bland Cadillac – Downtown
    Highams Cadillac – Post Oak at 610 West Loop
    David Taylor Cadillac – SW Freeway
    McGinnis Cadillac – Katy Freeway
    Barton Rambler AMC – OST
    Frizzell AMC – Woodridge / Gulfgate
    Vance & Sons AMC – Bellaire Blvd west of Chimney Rock
    John Short Rambler AMC – Ella Blvd
    Willingham Rambler AMC – Spencer / Pasadena
    Earl McMillian Ford – Downtown Louisiana Street
    Don McMillian Ford – Jensen Dr
    Raymond Pearson Ford – Leeland / Downtown
    Ivy Russell Ford – Heights
    Russell & Smith Ford – 610 South Loop
    Tommie Vaughn Ford – Heights
    Luke Johnson Ford – Southwest Freeway
    Bob Currie Ford – Gulfgate, later Charlie Thomas Ford
    Jack Roach Ford – Bissonnet at Buffalo Speedway
    Joe Myers Ford – North Freeway
    AC Collins Ford – Pasadena
    Raymond Pearson Lincoln Mercury – Downtown
    Jacobe Pearson Lincoln Mercury – Downtown
    Southwest Lincoln Mercury – Southwest Freeway
    Dave Snelling Lincoln Mercury
    River Oaks Chrysler Plymouth
    Wise Chrysler Plymouth – Gulf Freeway
    Katy Freeway Chrysler Plymouth – I-10 Katy Freeway
    Art Grindle Dodge – Westheimer at Chimney Rock
    Southwest Dodge – Southwest Freeway
    Gulfgate Dodge – I-45 South
    Northline Dodge – I-45 North
    Albert Berry VW – Old Katy Rd
    McMahon(sp?) VW – Downtown
    Southwest VW – Hillcroft
    Memorial Motors (Nils Sefeldt Volvo) – Old Katy Rd

    Can’t remember the names of these dealerships, but clearly remember the dealership and location?
    Jaguar Dealer – Kirby near Alabama
    Lincoln Dealership – Kirby near Alabama (River Oaks Lincoln Mercury?)
    Mercedes Dealership – SW Freeway near Westpark (Continental Motors?) I think they sold Porshe as well
    Alfa Romeo Dealership – Chimney Rock near Gulfton
    Ferrari Dealership – SW Freeway near Hillcroft (Southwest Ferrari?)

    • Bill McCurdy Says:

      Thanks for that monumental list, John C. It’s quite impressive. Please add a couple of places where my dad worked as parts department manager: (1) Jess Allen Chrysler Plymouth on Harrisburg (in the 1940s), and (2) Bill Lee Motors (Studebaker) 0n Lawndale in the 1950s.

    • Bobby Krieger Says:

      Dave Snelling Lincoln Mercury on Kirby Drive, Dominion Jaguar/Volvo on Kirby Drive also, was in the old Highams Cadillac store in the 1980’s (I bought a car there) after they moved out to Post Oak at 610, Highams later became McGinnis and moved to the Katy Freeway.. Also Auto Sports Limited sold Posche and Volvo, as I recall, as well as a lot of lower volume exotics. Don’t remember when Star Motor Cars took over some of the exotics. I remember the MB dealership over by the old Common Market on Westpark and I think your memory of the name is correct. Also, do you remember Meador Packard, (I believe on Travis) and OK Bud Moore Chevy on Loop 610 at I-59N?

      Before Al Parker Buick/Opel was at 12111 Katy at Kirkwood it was on the “The Buick BlocK” at 2215 Milam at Webster. There is a motor bank on that site now. Before that, it was Earl North Buick and Al Parker was Earl North’s nephew, I believe. You will never meet finer people than the Parker family,

      My 83 year old aunt was Al Parker’s (Buick) and later son Clay Parker’s secretary for over 50 years, so I grew up around the car biz. She and I live out in Southern California now, but I still love and fondly remember those days when they would soap the windows and put sheets on the new models at model introduction. Used to love getting the plastic promotional replicas of the new models, too.

    • Bobby Krieger Says:

      Also Wendell Hawkins Packard/Rolls Royce, purchased from Meador Packard. Google some great photos under Aek-La-Tex Packards.

    • Dennis Says:

      Awesome memory John c. I worked for gmac in the 50’s, was fleet mgr at bill mcdavids for 18 years. Bill mcdavid was Dan boons uncle the dlrship was never in his name . i knew all those gm dealers in those days.gentlemen all. Al Parker was a country club place to work. People never left. I am amazed you did this from memory.

  24. Keith Michaels Says:

    John C, you really have a good memory! You’ve touched on most of the dealerships that I can remember in Houston. THanks for sharing this information.

  25. materene Says:

    I don’t see Mort Hall Ford anywhere, bought two vehicles from him and actually worked there at one time later. There was also a Datsun Dealer located in that vicinity in 1970, I specifically remember looking at a new 240z until I decided on a new 71 Mach 1 which I bought at Mort Hall. Man so much can disappear in a short 41 years.
    I had written a reply to the long list above but somehow managed to lose it before posting. In the 70’s I worked for a number of dealerships including the Joe Conte old Mike Persia dealership downtown, so I can’t re do the long post I lost but I will ask if anyone knows what is sitting on that block now. I can tell you it was cold as the dickens when the wind was blowing, the building was one of those old 20’s style ones that had the huge wooden sliding doors, and they opened to the street. That winter in 72 we had two snows and I remember working there and leaving early because the weather was getting worse and then placing some old engine blocks into the back of my truck to give me a little traction. To me it’s like living in a foreign city when I come back home because of so many things torn down and the culture also has been completely changed. Now I just look at photos on the internet to remember things. :)

    • John C (automotive historian) Says:

      Here are some photos of old Houston dealerships I put together. Click on below link.

      http://s1187.photobucket.com/albums/z397/automotivehistorian/Houston%20Car%20Dealers/?albumview=slideshow

      • Thomas materene Says:

        Thanks John, great photo set there, I bookmarked it so I can always go back and dream a little, there’s more than just a couple on this photo spread that I actually worked at, also there were close friends who worked for other dealers you have listed.
        Many Thanks again

    • Bobby Krieger Says:

      Was it Yokem Datsun?

    • Fred Says:

      I dated a girl who’s father was a saleman for Mike Persia Chevorlet Downtown ,I believe his last name was Eskew or Askew , do yo remember him ???

      • materene Says:

        Sorry the name don’t ring a bell, usually we had little association with sales people, the shop was away from the front and on the street side, we just didn’t see too many people. I can’t remember for certain the date but I left there and went to McMahon on 45 which made me much closer to home, at the time I lived there at the end of Gears road and Stubner Airline, for some strange reason years later someone decided to rename the damned street to Greens road, obviously some political payback. There was nothing out there in 72, still had cattle fenced and very few houses except for old ranch homes that were there for 70 years or more. Now the exact same spot where I lived there is a small strip mall that has been there for almost 30 years. I was working with a friend later and he was a framer, we built some of the first homes on Gears (Greens Rd) just down the road from where I had lived, now those homes look old and run down , that really gives me a great perspective of just how long ago it was. ;0(

    • Richard Hicks Says:

      Yokum Datsun & Don McMillan Ford were located at the far north end of Jensen Drive. My father had an upholstery shop called Hicks Brothers in the 10,000 block of Jensen. He did a lot of work for both dealers and other used car dealers on that side of town. One of the dealerships was Monkers Motors on Jensen, owned by a Jack Monkers and his brother.

  26. John Says:

    Sam White Oldsmobile was the place to buy a car in the 80’s. I think they were the number 1 Oldsmobile dealer in the nation.

  27. Paula Scheef-McNutt Says:

    My dad retired from Al Parker Buick (formerly Earl North) in Houston. I grew up playing in the cars on the showroom floor & visiting with some awesome people from Mrs. Dietz the PBX operator and Mr. Parkers’ secretary, to the mechanics in the shop. Does anyone keep in contact with anyone? Are there ever any reunions? At one time, it was one big family! I miss reading the “Parker Pen”. Paula Scheef-McNutt

    • Bobby Krieger Says:

      What a small world… My aunt, Mary Krieger was both Mr. Parker’s secretary, (Al and son Clay) for over 50 years, and I remember Mrs. Dietz as well. Mrs. Dietz got my father a job at the railroad through a contact many years ago. The dealership was sold to Bud Adams and my aunt retired around 1997???. My aunt is 83 years old and lives in So Cal with me now, and I remember she would write the Parker Pen with such care, I even used to have to help her mimeograph extra copies. Sadly, so many people are gone, but I remember a lot of the names myself, since I worked there in the new car make-ready for 3 months in the summer of 1970. I’m no spring chicken myself at age 60. Who was your father, because there is a good chance I knew him, or knew of him??…

  28. Thomas materene Says:

    I guess Paula is mentioning the last store on Katy Freeway. I remember watching the I-10 Dealership going up and even stopping by in early 74. It was after 5pm so I saw none of the guys I had worked with downtown. It was several years later I was inside an auto parts store on Jensen Drive and Schmidty, one of the oldest mechanics that worked for Al Parker had finally retired walked in,, he was still well and fit for his age. When I started to work there after leaving the Army in Aug 70 he had already been there 35 years, every mechanic in the shop had been there for at least 20. They were eager to take new younger men and train them for the coming turn over of retirements. He was the last person I knew from that location that I saw or spoke to with the exception of Florian Meleski the Service Manager at the time, I ran into him at a little small ice house on the north side of Houston, and then years later he was the Service Manager at River Oaks Chrysler Plymouth and I worked there for a while. So I would think most of these older people are gone now, I was around 22 and now 63 so we sometimes forget how fast the earth is spinning.
    I said before it was one of the nicest places to work at and the people at every level were just wonderful, and I will always remember them. I miss that little snack area with the little booths that all of us would sit and have our coffee at different times of the day , just great companionship and stories would be passed.

    Old Schmidty once told us about a time when he was driving an old model A to Rosenberg to attend a Saturday night dance. The old car started to loose a rod and started knocking very bad so he had no choice but to pull over. He said he only had a pair of large pliers with him and he removed the oil pan being careful to not spill any oil, he then took off his leather belt and cut a piece to wrap the crankshaft, then put the pan back on and drove to the dance. Now I ask you, where are you going to sit in Houston today and listen to a story like that which happened so many years ago!

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  33. Becky Stonecipher Says:

    Hello all. I love these posts. These dealerships bring back such wonderful memories of my childhood. I am a native Houstonian. My dad worked in the Parts Dept. at Mike Persia, Jimmy Green, Chuck Davis, Bud Moore (later Four Way Chevrolet), and Landmark. My dad-Paul Stonecipher-passed away in 1989 at the young age of 58. My mom passed last June. I am in a nostaglic mood and am googling old places I remember, hoping to find addresses. Thank you for these lovely memories everyone. –Becky

    • Duke Says:

      Becky,
      I knew your dad Paul as I started at Highams Cadillac early 64, Frizzell Pontiac, Goodson Pontiac Downtown and I45 North and while downtown your dad was at Persia, Leo Jarnagin Pontiac downtown in the old Smith Chevrolet Bldg where I became Parts Mgr in 73 and Leo moved to I10 West in 74 and in 86 started selling A.C. Delco to dealers. My dad, Sonny McDaniel was a tech at Frizzell and retired at McDavid Olds in the Gulfgate area. Had a step Mom that was title clerk at Boyd Mullen, McDavid Olds and retired from McDavid Honda. A sister that was at McDavid Honda and Comptroller at Gay Pontiac. My Dad passed August 24th 2013.

  34. materene Says:

    I was a mechanic, in 72 I worked downtown at Mike Persia, also worked for Chuck Davis and Landmark. Most of us moved a lot from Dealer to Dealer, it wasn’t that way in the 60’s and 50’s and beyond those years. All the mechanics at Al Parker Buick in 1970 had been there for 20 and even 35 years. Just about all of them are gone now except us younger ones, and at 64 I’m not exactly young. Lucky for me my memory is still pretty good and I remember so many people from those years. I said it before on this blog, and I say it again, Al Parler Buick was the best place a man could work, it was a joy to get out of the Army and someone just ask you if you wanted a job, that’s what happened to me when I went to Al Parkers to buy a new car.

    • Duke McDaniel Says:

      You mentioned Al Parker Downtown and my uncle owned Houston Auto Glass @ 2310 Louisiana and my Dad worked there in the 50’s and some of the 60’s. Two of his good friends, George Pearson was a tech with Parker for perhaps 40 years and Dad had another friend with a used car lot all within blocks named Jimmy Hicks. Dad raced Stock Cars and Midgets at Playland Park and Arrorhead for many years. Small World!!

      • materene Says:

        Duke, I’m nearing 66 now and got my first job after Vietnam service there at Al Parker Buick. There was Virgil Duke who I was under as a trainee, then the oldest there at that time in aug 70 was Smitty, he was 65 then and could work circles around any young guy. Then there was a deaf fella named Johnny, he had to get someone to listen to noises for him because he was completely deaf. He was so deaf he drove a skylark up on his four post lift and the car was there for a sticking accelerator, poor old Johnny drove right off the end of his rack and into the plywood wall dividing the shop from the service drive, ripped all the air tubing out of the ceiling, everyone was running for their lives with the tremendous noise coming from the air line ripped out, poor old Johnny was just sitting there in the middle of the service drive wondering what had happened. Herb was the brake man then, and another older mechanic named Abe Shehan, and I do remember that fella you mentioned that worked there for 40 years, I think he also went out to the new store on I-10. I stopped by that store in 05 looking for a job but it changed so much none of the older people were around any longer, I saw Smitty one time in the mid 70’s after he retired and that was at a big parts house over on Jensen drive. I think one of the young guys there was named Jeff, he had a couple real nice skylarks. One of the guys there at the same time was named Chuck but I can’t remember his name, last time I saw Chuck was in 73. The service manager was Florian Meleski and the shop foreman was named Frank Bitski. It was a super place to work ;0)

  35. Judy Says:

    Started my “car business” days at Sam Montgomery Olds on I-45 North….Thanks to all the above posts as it brought back so many memories. I ended my days in the car business as F&I Director at Leland Lincoln Mercury/Hyundai about 1994…

  36. Penny Says:

    Hi there, after reading this awesome post i am as well delighted to share my
    experience here with mates.

  37. Jesse Says:

    My dad bought a brand new 2 door, green 1955 studebaker Champion from Bill Lee Motors at the end of the 1955 model year to get a slightly lower price. He got the cheapest one he could get. It had no radio, no blinkers, and no heater. I drove it as a teen in the 60s and sold it to a friend who took it hunting in the woods.. well he ran into a stake that skewered the radiator so he just left it out in the woods.

    • Bill McCurdy Says:

      Jesse –

      Thanks for writing about your dad’s car purchase from Bill Lee Motors, the Studebaker dealer on Lawndale, a couple of long blocks east of 75th. My dad was the parts department manager at Bill Lee from 1949 to 1958 – and I even got my own first paying job there at age 14, helping with the annual parts inventory. – My dad was the same kind of buyers as yours. He bought a beautiful new 1950 Studebaker Commander one time. When I asked him why he left out the radio, his answer was, “What do you need a radio for? We’ve got a radio at home!”

  38. Fred Says:

    I dated a girl back in the late 60’s, Linda Esqew , her father
    was the sales manager at Mike Persia Chevrolet , I’m trying to locate her any info. on her father would be nice.

  39. dfgh4567 Says:

    Wow, what a stroll down memory lane. I grew up in Galveston so..
    Kyle Gillespe Lincoln Mercury
    Flowers Pontiac Caddilac Volvo
    Causeway Ford
    Higgins Lincoln Mercury in Texas City
    Gallaria Area Ford (bought a 91 Escort there)

  40. Mickey Martinez Says:

    I have had a collection of Vintage Dealer (Trunk) Emblems, selling some on eBay, but retaining pictures of them.
    Had a Bob Marco Buick Opel emblem (went to Sweden)

    Bob Marco Buick Opel Houston

    Demontrond Buick emblem went to California collector

    DeMontrond Buick Houston

    STILL have a “Lester Goodson Houston” emblem 1960’s has ‘pins’ on back to hold on deck lid of car.http://www.flickr.com/photos/akamickeynelson/8427507197/in/set-72157631551672532

  41. Jeff Says:

    I’ve got a car that came from Boyd Mullen Chevrolet, Pasadena TX, would anyone happen to have picture of that dealership? Actually, I’d really like a trunk emblem or license frame.
    Thank you, Jeff, tel 401-499-0702

    • materene Says:

      Not a lot out there Jeff, I found this on the net as a thumbnail so I enlarged and ran a couple filters, this is the best I could do with it. Also found one of the old downtown Mike Persia shop I worked at early 70’s. I had completely forgot what it looked like, I do know Texas Eastern had purchased all that property in that area in the mid 70’s, for all these new glass buildings sitting there.

    • dfgh4567 Says:

      I don’t recall that dealership, was it there in the 60’s? Great picture that was just posted!

  42. materene Says:

    I don’t remember if it was still Mullen Chevrolet in late 73, but I certainly remember the property. I made many trips to Pasadena since I knew a girl living there. I might be wrong but I was thinking it could be seen from the freeway, right side leaving Pasadena heading to Houston. It was around 74 when the single owner dealerships of Houston started this great corporate merger and they slowly one by one disappeared. New out of state owners flocked to the Houston area and started buying up all the dealers. I sometimes forget even 25 or 30 years ago those old single owners were already very old and even their children that took control were getting up in years. In a way it was a natural migration to a different era.

  43. John Landeche Says:

    I started working for Frank Gillman Pontiac in April of 1970. I worked there until April of 1980. It , by far was the best ten years of my life. The Gillmans, Frank, Barton, and Ramsay, were great people to work for, and I enjoyed every day I went to work there. Is that a good working enviroment or what ??? I started in the new car make ready, making cars ready for delivery, adding options and state inspections. I stayed in that department for 2 years, Virgel Talley was the sales manager then. I next worked used car service for Bob McCoy, stayed there for another two years. Then I ran the make ready department for about a year, I worked as a service advisor, trim technition, line mechanic, even did a little paint work. In 1980, I left, to be a service manager at another Pontiac dealer, biggest mistake I ever made,,, should have stayed with the Gillmans !!! The service managers I worked under during my stay were , Bob Dorton, Skip Williams, Forrest Vollentine, and Johnny Chadwick was the dispatcher the whole time,, great place, great people !!!

    • Bernd Says:

      John, my grand-uncle Alfonse (Alphonsus) Ortega worked at Gillman Pontiac also, but before you joiined. Do you know of anybody who may remember him? Bernd from Calgary, Canada.

      • John Landeche Says:

        Bernd, Iam sorry I did not know your grand uncle, I wish I had. Longtime employees like Jeff Foshea, Butterball, Whose real name was Corbin Wynn, Buddy Remling, and Willie willianson all probably knew him, I don’t know their whereabouts now. If I hear anything , I will let you know ……………..John Landeche

      • Bernd Says:

        Thanks for your courtesy, John. Your group sure has set up a great network to ensure that nobody is forgotten. Keep up the good work. Bernd

      • John Landeche Says:

        Bernd, I remember one fellow mechanic who would probably remember him, his name is Victor Zacharias, Vick was a front end technition for years before I got there. I noticed his wife is on facebook, and I will be trying to reach him, for his input,I will keep you informed !!!

      • Bernd Says:

        Thanks again, John. Bernd

    • Lloyd Coulson Says:

      Hey John:

      I worked in the Gillman Pontiac / Honda parts dept. back in the late 70’s through early 80’s. Your name rings a bell but I can’t recall your face . . . I too enjoyed my time at Gillman. In fact, I’ve recently been conversing with Bob Dorton’s son, Paul. As you may recall Paul worked at Gillman Pontiac back in that time period as well. He is currently with Reynolds and Reynolds – the dealership software folks.

      Let’s see if I can bring up some other names you’ll remember: John Hill (parts – shop counter), Jerry Fitzgerald (A/C tech), Craig Mueller (worked with Jerry F. and then parts dept.). Craig and myself own Bellaire Auto Center, right next to what used to be Charlie’s HI-LO Auto Parts on Spruce St. in Bellaire. To continue with the Gillman Pontiac name-dropping: Dan Harris (new car sales), Johnny Rajini (body shop mechanic), Steve Stevens (parts mgr), Tommy Moore (asst parts mgr, then Honda parts mgr), Tony John (unsure of Tony’s position @ Gillman – Honda tech I believe, he now owns The Hondacar Shop here in Houston).

      That’s all that comes to mind at the moment. Please fell free to get in touch if you’re so inclined – bell-auto@comcast.net is the best way.

  44. dfgh4567 Says:

    John C, how can I upload a photo of Flowers Pontiac/Cadillac ( and later Volvo ) in Galveston (on Broadway just as you got into town ) ? Thx.

  45. materene Says:

    dfgh4567, you can use an image free hosting site to up your images and put the link they assign here, then people just tick the link and can see your image. I see no media helpers here on the blog so that is about all you could do to add an image. I use this host

    http://tinypic.com

    and you would use the image layout tag they assign after you upload, take that tag and copy and paste it to your address search bar above and you will be able to see the image and tick it for full page. Then just paste it here in your messages. Hope this helps Here is an example

  46. John Landeche Says:

    Lloyd Coulson, All the names you mentioned were friends of mine. I am going to throw a few more names you way to see if they ring a bell. The service department ; Bruce Eshelman, Bobby Ray Talbot, Herbert G. Farnsworth, Victor Zacharias, Bobby Groce, James Knight, Ted Wisnoski, Jeff Foshea, Danny Foshea , Willie Williamson, Billy Prescott, Emede Moralas, George Spencer, Jack McNair, Herbert Gerkin, Craig Ybarguen, Sonny Spencer, Jack Hamilton, Johnny Chadwick, Skipper Williams, Bob Dorton, Forrest Vollentine, Al Hill, Eddie Lewis ,Richard Hermann, ,, The Paint and Body shop,, Clyde Hayes sr., Clyde Hayes jr. Johnny Reihani, Dallas LeBlanc, Murphy Baroque, Willie Paul Locke, Louis Jackson, Murry Velvin, Felix Aguirre sr. Felix Aguirre jr. Bob Pratt. Also remember we had an organization called, The Frank Gillman Employee Association,, in which I was the president of, for the last three years I was there. I organized our Yearly Christmas Ball at Kaphans Resturant. Like I say those were great years with great people, All these folks are not all of them, I hope some will see this and we can get some more reaction to The Frank Gillman Pontiac former Employee association,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,John Landeche

    • Lloyd Coulson Says:

      Hey John . . . good to hear from you. Oh, and Paul Dorton sez “hey” as well.

      Let’s see who I can remember – it’s been a while! Names (and some faces) that I recall are: Bruce Eshelman, Victor Zacharias, Ted Wisnoski, Emede Morales, Jack McNair, Sonny Spencer, Johnny Chadwick, Bob Dorton, Forrest Vollentine.

      The only Paint and Body name that rings a bell is Johnny Reihani.

      Didn’t know that there was a Gillman Employee Association, would have been fun to attend those gatherings!
      Kaphan’s – ah, now THERE’S a restaurant! YUM!

      Like you stated, it’d be great to hear from others. Come on, guys!

      Best regards, Lloyd Coulson

      • John Landeche Says:

        Here is a few more names from the archives, Glenn Riefschneider, David Reifschneider, Doug King, from the parts department. Ralph Allen, Diane Brown, Pricilla McCord Dorton David Dorton, Ilene Hartis, Ray Alvez, Gary Jerome, James Joiner, Pamela Duncan, all from service… The general office personal were as follows, H.B. Nixon, Ivan Schroeder, Emil Duesek, Charles Ortego, Janette Ortego, Joann Brito, Christine Miller, Eugene Bean, Hestel Walker, Linda Woodside, Judith Ann Shaner, Darrell Hobby, Kathy Schultz. Sale dept. Bob Hall, Larry Smith, Charles Phillips, Ernest McIntire, Curtis Franklin, Jessie Howard, Katharine Warren, Gene Green, Gary Dudley, That’s all I can think of so far, feel free to add to them …

  47. Texasborn03 Says:

    Hello to All,
    I am young, but I heard people talking about some of these long gone dealers. This is great Automotive history.

    About a decade or more there was a Dodge or Chrysler store on 225 Deer Park / Pasadena, Texas does anyone remember the name? I remember seeing when I was young ? Thank you in Advance

    • John Landeche Says:

      Texasborn03,
      I might be wrong, I think it was Norm Livermore Chrysler plymouth and Dodge. The first dealer I worked was Jack Roach Ford, The second was Southwest Dodge, while I was employed there it became Southwest Lincoln Mercury, thats when I quit there and went to Frank Gillman Pontiac, and stayed for ten years !!! John Landeche

  48. car valuations free Says:

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  49. Gary Says:

    I grew up in Galena Park, started at AC Collins Ford in 1971 as a tune up mechanic, several of the dealers I worked at over the years were Sharpstown Dodge, Texan Chrysler Plymouth, Timmer’s Chevrolet, Vincent Baytown Dodge, Norman Frede Chevolet, Frizell
    Pontiac, Jeep/ Eagle, Greenspoint Dodge all of these were in the Houston area, Bossier C,P,D,J,E was in Bryan Texas and the last dealer I worked at was Town and Country Dodge in Hopkins Mn. I believe most of them are long gone.

  50. John Landeche Says:

    @ Gary, Did you know a Marty Smith, he worked at a lot of those dealerships ???

    • Jimmy Harris Says:

      Does anyone have a collection of old (pot metal) dealership emblems? I have been collecting pictures of them for years, and was thrilled to recently add Galleria Area Ford, Plaza Lincoln Mercury, and Southwest Lincoln Mercury.

      >

      • John Landeche Says:

        I think I still have some Frank Gillman Pontiac emblems,, I’ll check around the garage !!!

      • Jimmy Says:

        If you could send a picture that would be great. Do you upload here, or I can send an email address. Thx.

    • Duke Says:

      To some of your and one of my earlier post I was at Goodson, Frizzell and Leo Jarnagin Pontiac from 64-86. Bob Dorton was Ser Mgr at Jarnagin for a while and I was parts Mgr. Forrest, last I saw, was Ser Mgr at Beck and Masten on 1960. All of the names of parts folks at Gillman I knew back at 1621 Milam when Springer was Parts Mgr and Steve Stephens was Asst. Later Steve was Mgr and Harry Montgomery was his Asst. Same time frame Willie Williams was Parts Mgr and Buddy Muldoon Asst and I worked the front counter at Goodson early 60’s at 1117 Caroline across from now House of Blues. I had seen one of the Reifschneider Brothers at the Nissan Store on 610 South in 2010. I saw Stacey Gillman at Fitzgeralds Club in the early 90’s. You may want to look at my reply on Becky Stonecipher’s post from about 2012. Spending 50+ years in auto parts business I knew almost all GM Parts and Service Employees from 1963-2012. Knew Bobby King from Jimmie Green days and sons as they worked parts also. Jerry Dudley was Parts Mgr at Sam Montgomery after the gentleman before him went to Galveston. Rudy Jaks at Sam White and Casey Blanchard was his Asst and in 1973 became my first Asst after leaving Mossy. At that time Leo was in the old Smith Chevy Bldg. Casey retired from Robbins Chevy. Netty Gaines was only female Parts Mgr I knew at Bland Cadillac and Joe White took her place. Jim Brooks at Knapp and names from Mac Haik, Al Parker, elude me but will end with Ronnie Wills at David Taylor. Lot of water under those bridges.

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  52. Buddy Caudill Says:

    My dad, Charlie Caudill, Sr. , worked at Abbott & Stancil Motor Company in the 1950’s, a Chrysler/Plymouth/ Dodge/ Desoto Dealer in downtown Houston. He passed away in 1957, when I was 7 yrs. old. Anyone remember this dealership, and possibly the address?

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  54. Dennis Says:

    Bill mcdavid olds and Sam white were fierce competitors . Two brothers, the feagans were the sales managers , Lou at mcdavid and milt at white. Mcdavid became the largest.

  55. Kerry Callaway Says:

    Earl McMillan Ford became Don McMillan Ford when Earl passed they had a large dealership on Jensen Drive…Bud Moore Chevrolet North Loop at East Tex Freeway (Circle) Art Grindle Dodge Jensen Drive at North Loop (His dog Storm) Tommie Vaugh Ford still on North Shepherd

  56. STEVE Says:

    HOW ABOUT BUDD MOORE CHEVROLET….59 AND KELLY. HE WAS INVOLVED WITH NASCAR IN LATER YEARS

  57. Shirley (Berger) Looper Says:

    Hi Everyone! My dad, John Berger worked at Al Parker Buick for many,many, years and we are kin to Florian Meleski (who was just Uncle Florian to me) I grew up with the stories of Al Parker and all the people who worked there! Dad even tried to keep working there even when Al Parker moved on the Katy Freeway, but he was already in his 70’s and just couldn’t make the trip anymore. It broke his heart! He drove his 1950 Ford to work all those years! Dad used to bring Ole’ Blue (the nicest black man that I ever met; us kids called him Uncle Blue) home from work with him and dad would bar-b-que and Ole’ Blue would have dinner with us! I still think of Uncle Blue to this day and tell my son about him and the rest of the Al Parker gang. I remember Ms. Krieger and some of the other names listed here! We used to go up on Sundays when Al Parker was closed and play with the guard dogs through the fence; they knew my dad…we have pictures of us in front of the gate with the dogs behind us! I was shocked to find this post and reading through all of these has really brought back a lot of memories. We have many pictures of Uncle Florian at our house and I remember going to Uncle Florians house, especially during Christmas. Also, I took my mom to visit Uncle Florian when he worked at River Oaks Chrysler Plymouth. Anyway…I could go on and on…wish I had kept all the Al Parker memorabilia!

    Also we lived next door to John (Juan) Luna and he worked for Frank Gillman as many years as my dad worked for Al Parker! They could really share the car dealer stories! Both my family and the Luna’s next door had 2 sets of children. My brother and 2 sisters are 20 years older than me as was John Luna’s kids, so the older kids have more memories. I was in my teens when dad had to give up trying to drive out to Al Parker when they moved on the Katy Freeway. I still run into Johnny Luna’s kids every now and then…

    Hope this helped some of you out there…fantastic post…glad to see that you are keeping these memories alive!!! Keep it going! If anyone wants to talk just let me know!

  58. materene Says:

    Shirley thanks for the wonderful input. Florian was a really good service manager and I will always remember his and Frank Bitski’s kindness to me and probably any other veteran that wanted to work. I went to Al Parker in Aug 70 to buy a car and was hired to work there and sent to the GM training facility, it started me out in a career and was the foundation that has let me work for over 43 years without ever being unable to find a job. It was a wonderful time to be young then. I also worked for Florian much later when he was the service manager at River Oaks. If you might have any photos of the old A; Parker dealership I would really love to have a copy, there are none to be found on the internet and I only found the property on Google Earth which shows the streets even being removed that once separated the main dealer from the parking area across the street. Thanks

  59. John Landeche Says:

    Shirley, I remember Juan Luna at Gillman Pontiac, he worked as a paint and body man the whole time I was there, He never failed to get on my famous football pots, we had a lot of fun doing that, and the Gillmans did not seem to mind, Gillman Pontiac was a great place to work !!!!

  60. Jimmie Says:

    does anyone remember Ivy-Russell Mercury. on miliam street. In 1958 I was stationed in the U S army at Ft.Polk, La. On July 5, l958 I went to Houston and bought a 1955 black 2 door Mercury Custom from Ivy Russell Motor co. l still have the paper work with the dealer ship picture on it. I also still have the 1955 Mercury and take it to car shows. I now live about 12 hours from Houston.

  61. materene Says:

    Jimmie, I’ve been away from Houston for a lot of years now and was shocked the last time home to see the old Al Parker place on Milam gone. Just amazing how much change takes place before we even have a chance to die. I worked there in 70 and 71, but I remember when the new store was built on I-10 and how nice it looked, so once again I was shocked to see it sold, but then I started thinking about how old all of us were, Mr Parker’s son was quite old at that time and I guess we just refuse to believe that all of us got old ;0) I stopped and talked to the service manager in 05 for the new Buick dealer, but it wasn’t the same atmosphere, it will never ever be 1970 again.

  62. Lisa Johnson Says:

    My grandfather, Marcus Jones, passed away yesterday- May 30, 2014 at the age of 92. I googled his name and found this post. He did have a Buick dealership at Hillcroft and Bellaire. Glad to know people remember! I used to be so proud to tell people he was my grandpa! Still am, actually!

    • materene Says:

      Sorry to hear the news about Mr Jones, I had one friend from the early 70’s that did work at the dealership you mentioned, His name was Bob Hooper. The last time I saw Bob was in the late 70s and he was racing an old Buick sedan out at Myers Speedway. I know that Bob worked there for years and he originally started out at Al Parker’s. I have no idea where all these people are any more since I no longer live in Houston and haven’t for decades. To see so many landmarks and pioneers gone some would say it is simply progress, I just find it hard to see it that way. Rest in Peace Mr Jones

    • Don Says:

      I knew your Grandfather and really am in debt to him, he gave me my start when i moved to Texas. God bless him and all of y’all.

  63. John Landeche Says:

    I used to pass by Marcus Jones Buick everyday on my way to Frank Gillman Pontiac, which was just down Bellaire Blvd. across from Sharpstown Center !!! I lived In Bellaire at that time !!!

  64. Troy Bertrand Says:

    My Dad, Ira Bertrand (Big Hearted Bert) worked for several dealers. The two I can remember best were Frank Gillman and Al Parker. On the side he ran a used car lot called Big Hearted Berts, first on Travis & Gray, then South Main across the street from Princes. I hung around them a lot and at Gillman I remember Bill Toro, Fast Eddie, The Beatle, Freddie Haas, Barton, Ramsey, Frank Gillman. Also at Al Parker there was Remmel Moore, Don Puckett, Sandy McKinnon. Way back in the 50’s he worked for Lane Oldsmobile who was a big advertiser and even had an all night telethon on local TV. Big Heart was the MC and they had the comedian Jerry Colona come in to town. Here is a photo of my dad and Colona during the show. http://www.pbase.com/speedyg/image/11881892

  65. materene Says:

    Troy, I recognize a few of those names from Al Parker and of course that’s because all those men were there for so many years, myself I was only 22 and fresh out of the Army then when I started working there at Al Parker in Aug 1970. You wouldn’t happen to have a photo of the old Al Parker dealership, I’ve looked everywhere and haven’t found anything. The site looks so foreign now you would never know a Buick Dealership once sat there.

  66. Troy Bertrand Says:

    materene, I looked and couldn’t find any photos of Al Parker dealership. I redid the photo above (take another look) and here is one of Harlan Lane and my Dad picking up Colonna at Hobby airport. http://www.pbase.com/speedyg/image/11987883

    Oh, and I was mistaken about Puckett and McKinnon, they were at Mossey Olds. Remmel Moore and Charlie Barzilla were at Al Parker.

    I will keep looking for something from AP.

    • materene Says:

      Thank you for taking the time to look Troy, that photo reminds me of Playland Park days, especially when you mentioned the used car place on south main and also Prince’s. I remember seeing the comedian on TV in the fifties. Houston has changed so much in the past 30 years I scarcely remember any landmarks. Take care

  67. JT DRAKE Says:

    There was a real small Chevrolet dealer on the west side of North Shepherd near Pinemont in the 60’s early 70’s named Mac Robert Chevrolet. Also a small Ford dealer in the 50’s on east side of US-59 just north of Little York, named Thad Felton Ford. That was when the Eastex freeway ended at Parker road.

  68. JT DRAKE Says:

    “OH Yeah”, I forgot, have not seen anyone list Jim Sanders Ford corner of Gulf Fwy. @ Wayside, straight across from Bob Robertson Chevrolet.

  69. Car Lots In Houston | autoshope.com Says:

    […] Old Houston Car Dealers | The Pecan Park Eagle – Nov 11, 2010 · Most to all of the Houston car dealers that I shall mention here are long gone. I’m presuming they all are, but with the caveat that one or two may still …… […]

  70. Steve smith Says:

    I was wondering what ever happened to the rocket at rocket city olds , I remember it like it was yesterday and always wondered what happens to it . as a little kid it was larger than life to and I’ve never forget that rocket

    • Jimmy Says:

      Speaking of Rockets, was that Sam Montgomery Olds on I-45 South just inside the Loop? It’s now a Home Depot I believe. I think I drove a Suzuki Sidekick there in 1988, and next door was Enos Cabell Chevrolet around that same time. I do remember the Rocket on the Olds sign there though..

  71. Don Says:

    I started working in Houston in the late 70’s. Walked in to Marcus-Jones Buick and went to work the day i moved there, really miss those days. Worked at Jarnagin Pontiac-GMC off 10 after that.

  72. Car Dealership Commercial Funny | autoshope.com Says:

    […] Old Houston Car Dealers | The Pecan Park Eagle – Nov 11, 2010 · Most to all of the Houston car dealers that I shall mention here are long gone. I’m presuming they all are, but with the caveat that one or two may still …… […]

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