View Full Version : The Last Dealership

08-17-2009, 08:28 PM
Some of you may or may not be aware that the former Mathis Motors dealership building in Atlantic County NJ is For Sale. This building still looks just about the same as it did when built in 1926/27.

In the hopes of saving it from the wrecking ball or something worse a condo developer; I am attempting to form some type of organization to acquire and restore it.

I would like to hear from you the members of SDC if I am tilting at windmils or just off my rocker!? [?] If I can succeed in forming a not for profit "Friends of" or another type of Foundation would any of you be willing to put some money into this project? [?] Feel free to contact me directly if you feel strongly about this. Thank you for your time.

Peter Crisitello


08-17-2009, 11:56 PM
That is an awesome looking building. I would like to own it. Possibilities are endless. Park a couple of nice Studes in there and go from there. Is it for sale? Would someone post a picture of it here in this topic. jimmijim

Stude Junkie+++++++Do it right the f$$$$ Time. Never mind. Just do it right. When youre done your done. You'll know it.

08-18-2009, 06:05 AM
I'm assuming it's this one we discussed a little over a week ago:


Robert (Bob) Andrews- on the IoMT (Island of Misfit Toys)
Parish, central NY 13131

08-18-2009, 08:31 AM
Bob, you are correct that is the building located in Atlantic Cuty NJ

08-18-2009, 09:17 AM
Thank you Ron Smith for giving me a Style to call this type of Building. Having only been to CA a few times in my life, I was not aware of the Mission Revival style.

To answer some of your questions, The original showroom was opened to the roof like a church with a balcony to the back. To the far right side of that balcony was/is the managers office. The current owner added a full second floor over the showroom using reclaimed wood from the Atlantic City Board Walk. It is strong enough to drive a car on if I could get it up that high!?

The Showroom portion of the building is 42' wide by 60' long. The Service area is just about the same, making the building 120' long by 42' wide. The current owner replaced the Service area roof about 15 years ago. The peaked wood roof supports and bracing is all metal on top of brick piers. Most of the windows in the service area have been replaced with modern insulated glass double hungs. While the big picture windows are still glass the upper half circles are plastic.

If any of you dug out that article from the August 2006 Turning Wheels Almanac column, you will know that this is the former Mathis Motors dealership in Egg Harbor Township. The Terra Cotta emblems came from the South Amboy Terra Cotta Works and are all in excellent shape. The points on each of the towers are also terra cotta. The green trim along the roof edge is all copper.

I believe this 82 year old building deserves a chance to make it beyond 100. I would like to give it that chance. If there is someone else out there who has a better chance please step up to the bat.

I have many pictures of this building I took just the other day but have no idea on how to post them in this forum?

Thank you all for your comments.

Peter Crisitello


08-18-2009, 09:20 AM
Clean it up, restore it and make it SASCO East. Interiors and small parts, of course. [8D] Ours isn't nearly as beautiful. Hurry, before some HVAC company gets it.


08-18-2009, 09:22 AM
This is the kind of building that should be on a historic register. I suggest you contact the local or state historic preservation committee about this pronto:
also http://www.senatenj.com/index.php/baroni/baroni-named-to-wagering-tourism-historic-preservation-committee/2094

08-18-2009, 09:29 AM
Would be nice to have a Studebaker Museum or parts depot, like Sasco, here in the east. Forget asking the state for help. Corzine has us in hock up to our wazoo in NJ.


New Jersey & Studes Perfect Together

08-18-2009, 09:46 AM
It never hurts to ask the state. You may think there's nothing there, but it's perfectly possible (probable) that money has to be allocated to preservation programs because of older, set laws or provisions in the state budget. If you don't ask, you know you won't get anything. Also ask area architects about preservation programs or groups.

08-18-2009, 09:57 AM
Peter contact Ed Puritan in Egg Harbor as he may be able to assist you. He is in AOAI Roster or if you need his address and phone # contact me and I'll give it to you.

08-18-2009, 10:34 AM
IIRC the building is 9000 sq ft,pretty decent size. They have it listed at 750K but the assessment is like 280K,while it used to be assessments were not market in many area they have been mandated to be such by law so it may be close to the mark.

08-18-2009, 10:44 PM
Just throwing out another funding source.


You'd be surprised looking over the list of projects qualifying for Transportation Enhancement funds. FHWA especially likes dual use proposals. Historic preservation with bike trails, etc.

Cabrina Dieters

08-18-2009, 10:59 PM
For example if you hit NJ and category 6 then search you can bring up a list of projects and dollar amounts.


Cool site. Glad to see that search includes Roebling's machine shop.


08-18-2009, 11:13 PM
OK, I'm curious - it was built 1926/27 for a Studebaker dealer. How long was it in use a dealership? Russ Farris

Warren Webb
08-18-2009, 11:14 PM
I faintly remember a dealer in Lambertville? (near Toms River?) N.J. that refused to give up his franchise. It was there I remember driving by it around '68 I think that he still had new cars in the showroom. There was an article about him in the Newark Star Ledger if my memory serves me right. Perhaps Peter C. in Rahway remembers or some others in that area "down the shore".

60 Lark convertible
61 Champ
62 Daytona convertible
63 G.T. R-2,4 speed
63 Avanti (2)
66 Daytona Sport Sedan

08-19-2009, 02:43 AM
Be aware that getting this building listed as a 'historic landmark' will limit what can be done with it. For instance, the second storey will have to be removed from the interior. No loss, really, it spoils the appearance of the building. This kind of designation comes with the price that the building must be returned to the original configureation and appearance.

Such a wonderful example of early twentieth-century commercial architecture. You're certainly not off your rocker, Peter. However, such a project isn't going to be a cake-walk. The idea of parking a few restored cars in it (the Museum might, just might, be persuaded to loan a few) and running a parts business would be just the ticket. Ah, to win the lottery, maybe have a rich relative leave me a stash...;)


Richard Quinn mentioned that this building is featured in the Studebaker Almanac in Aug. '06 T.W.

You know, Richard, I looked through my copies of TW and can not find August of 2006! Silly thing is hiding from me. You couldn't by any chance tell us how long the building served as a dealership, could you?

http://i16.photobucket.com/albums/b18/Studeclunker/december%2006/HPIM0234.jpg http://i16.photobucket.com/albums/b18/Studeclunker/56%20Parkview%20Wagon/56wagonleftfrontclipped-1.jpg
Home of the famous Mr. Ed!
K.I.S.S. Keep It Simple Studebaker!
Ron Smith
Where the heck is Lewiston, CA?

08-20-2009, 08:29 PM
Thank you for all your thoughts and the informative information. I am pondering several posibilities and have talked with a number of people in several NJ departments and other organizations dealing with preserving old structures. Of course in the current ecconemy no one has any money to spend, so just maybe that Mega Millions Lottery Ticket in my pocket will be a winner!?

For those of you who can't find that August 2006 issue of TW, Mathis Motors Co. was a leading Studebaker dealership up to the very end and beyond. I believe they were still rummored to be selling and servicing Studebakers as late as 1968. The family owned business had branches in Egg Harbor & Tuckerton along with a sub-dealer in Hammonton. Mathis also had a Used Car store, a large service station, and two warehouses. As per that Almanac article,"The Mathis dealership was a very dynamic one and operated for decades on a very profitable basis."

Peter Crisitello


11-11-2009, 10:10 PM
On November 8, 2009 members of the SDC and AOAI met at the former Mathis Motors Studebaker Dealership in Atlantic County NJ. Sponsored by the South Jersey Chapter of SDC; we had a perfect day, weather wise for this event. The showing brought out vehicles representing Studebaker automobiles sold at this facility from 1941 to 1964; only a portion of the time this dealership was in business. SJC president Tony Lombardi, who brought his 1963 R2 Avanti by Studebaker, was instrumental in getting this event organized. I am thankful for his help in this venture to help promote our cause.

To that end, I have found a local business professional who shares some of my beliefs in this. Brian Tait-Russell & Associates, inc. has been involved in many aspects of the antique car business and has a long standing history in the promotional world. We believe this structure can be a useful showcase for Studebaker , Packard, and the Avanti, as well as many other long forgotten automobiles. While a museum aspect is essential to the basic plan, this showcase would make a great sales office and showroom for restored vehicles. It also has the posibility to be a working parts store for our vehicles here on the East Coast. With its close proximity to Atlantic City (3 miles east), this facility has a thousand uses that could compliment the collector and antique comunity in general as well. We could essentially bring it back as a working dealership in some aspects.
To raise the funds for a deposit and the working capital needed to bringing it back to its former grandgure, the most workable seneraio at present looks to involve selling shares in this as a business venture. We are also working on a 401(c) (3) for donations towards the acquisition and preservation of the building with eventual land mark status to preserve it for future generations. If anyone is interested in this project they can directly contact Tait-Russell & Associates (mailto:BJT-R@MSN.com. ) http://rci.rutgers.edu/~crisitel/SDC/09-OL_081609B.jpg


11-11-2009, 11:34 PM
Like the Engineering building here is south bend, thats defionately worth saving! Best of luck!:)

Chris Dresbach

08-20-2010, 03:41 PM
Do you know the name of this dealership building in Northern Ohio? I am collecting pictures of Studebaker dealership buildings "then and now".

Peter Crisitello