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BobPalma
07-07-2015, 06:41 PM
...of my Dad's brief stint as a Studebaker dealer.

On June 1, 1955, Dad and Uncle Milt moved from their original Palma Motors (Packard-Nash-Willys-Jeep) location at 141 East Court Street in Paris IL to join Studebaker dealer Harry F. Rhoads in his much larger facility. He needed financial help to stay afloat, and they needed Mr. Rhoads' additional space.

Although the three men had been operating together over a month, the formal agreement wasn't inked with Studebaker Division of Studebaker-Packard Corporation until July 15, 1955:

http://i571.photobucket.com/albums/ss155/BobPalma/palmarhoadsagreement0005_zpsmmdwj9pu.jpg (http://s571.photobucket.com/user/BobPalma/media/palmarhoadsagreement0005_zpsmmdwj9pu.jpg.html)

On August 1, 1956, with the announcement in hand that there would be no "real" 1957 Packards, they held an auction to sell their portion of the assets:

http://i571.photobucket.com/albums/ss155/BobPalma/auctionad_zpsb2eba97b.jpg (http://s571.photobucket.com/user/BobPalma/media/auctionad_zpsb2eba97b.jpg.html)

....so Mr. Rhoads could continue, since they didn't think there would be enough Studebaker (and Nash) business alone to support all three men:

http://i571.photobucket.com/albums/ss155/BobPalma/56nashad_zpse15de78d.jpg (http://s571.photobucket.com/user/BobPalma/media/56nashad_zpse15de78d.jpg.html)

By October 15, 1956, it looks like Studebaker finally figured out the three men were no longer in business!

http://i571.photobucket.com/albums/ss155/BobPalma/palmarhoadsdissolution0001_zpsiwvzx7or.jpg (http://s571.photobucket.com/user/BobPalma/media/palmarhoadsdissolution0001_zpsiwvzx7or.jpg.html)

"We have been advised" must have meant that the Studebaker road man finally called on Harry Rhoads and figured out that things were not what they had been the last time he wandered through little Paris IL! Mr. Rhoads did survive the disastrous 1958 model year and on into the 1960 model year, but IIRC, he closed in June 1960.

"It was fun while it lasted," as Dad would say years later, "...before we ran out of money." :QQ: BP

clonelark
07-08-2015, 07:24 AM
I had to google it to see a fairly new Bank there right?

8E45E
07-08-2015, 07:38 AM
Mr. Rhoads did survive the disastrous 1958 model year and on into the 1960 model year, but IIRC, he closed in June 1960.

I thought being a Rambler dealer would have been a GOOD thing in 1958! They were the only automaker to have increased their sales over 1957.

Craig

BobPalma
07-08-2015, 09:08 AM
I had to google it to see a fairly new Bank there right?

Did they build a new bank at 232 N. Central in the last year or two, Bob?

Otherwise, this is what the 232 N. Central address looked like 2 years ago, as flat as a pancake since I am told the building was leveled about ten years ago:

http://i571.photobucket.com/albums/ss155/BobPalma/DSCF2509.jpg (http://s571.photobucket.com/user/BobPalma/media/DSCF2509.jpg.html)

The building at 141 East Court Street, their original, smaller, location, is an antique shop:

http://i571.photobucket.com/albums/ss155/BobPalma/DSCF2511.jpg (http://s571.photobucket.com/user/BobPalma/media/DSCF2511.jpg.html)

:( BP

BobPalma
07-08-2015, 09:10 AM
I thought being a Rambler dealer would have been a GOOD thing in 1958! They were the only automaker to have increased their sales over 1957. Craig

True, Craig, but Mr. Rhoads didn't keep Nash when Dad and Uncle Milt left. He only had Studebaker from August 1, 1956, until the circa June 1960 closing date. :cool: BP

8E45E
07-08-2015, 09:51 AM
True, Craig, but Mr. Rhoads didn't keep Nash when Dad and Uncle Milt left. He only had Studebaker from August 1, 1956, until the circa June 1960 closing date. :cool: BP

Okay, gotcha! But 1959 Lark sales should have made up for dismal 1958 sales.

Craig

Buzzard
07-08-2015, 11:18 AM
Very interesting insight into the automobile business in the 50's. Thanks for sharing.
Bill

BobPalma
07-08-2015, 11:38 AM
Okay, gotcha! But 1959 Lark sales should have made up for dismal 1958 sales. Craig

You would think so, Craig, but I don't remember him getting that many 1959 Larks out the door, either. He was a nice enough guy but a poor dealer. Mr. Rhoads was a mechanic by trade and somehow took over the Studebaker dealership in town, Paris Sales Co, around 1952. He was a poor salesman in a professional sense.

I do want to stress: He was a nice guy, he just didn't have the skills needed to operate a dealership as pretty much a one-man show in a small town. He could have sold so many more Studebaker trucks, for example, as this was a rural community with almost as many farm trucks and pickups as cars. (Well, OK; that was a bit of an exaggeration, but they still could have sold more trucks than a few 1/2-ton pickups, had they gone after the medium-duty truck market, since every farmer had his own grain / stake bed truck to haul his corn and beans to The Illinois Cereal Mill on the SW corner of Paris by The Big Four railroad tracks...or his livestock to a local market.)

As for sales skill, Mr. Rhoads would regale a prospective customer with intricate mechanical details of why Studebaker was such a good car...but in the 1950s, style sold and people weren't all that interested in such minutia because they were going to trade in a couple years anyway. Looking over the tickets on new-car sales, I'm amazed at how many people traded in cars that were only 2 or 3 years old in the 1950s, unlike today.

As Dad says, "Harry would preach to them about how much babbitt was in Studebaker bearings until their eyes glassed over...then they'd look for an excuse to leave and go down the street and buy a new Ford!"

It was fun while it lasted; I really enjoyed my childhood from ages 7 through 10, when Dad was in the business. Yes, that was only four years, but an impressionable four years for me; times I'll never forget.

And Dad and Milt were able to keep their Illinois Used Car Dealer license through 1957, when they sold cars off the lot at the big new Mobil gasoline station they built and opened just a couple blocks north of the Studebaker dealership, also on Central Avenue. So my "education / enlightenment" continued through that operation. I still have one pair of their 1957 Illinois Dealer License plates:

http://i571.photobucket.com/albums/ss155/BobPalma/1957dlrplate0021_zpsndu38vhe.jpg (http://s571.photobucket.com/user/BobPalma/media/1957dlrplate0021_zpsndu38vhe.jpg.html)

:) BP

Cowtown Commander
07-08-2015, 06:17 PM
Bob do you have the complete dealer ageement? I'm curious about what it might have spelled out regarding Studebaker's obligation to repurchase inventory in the event they discontinued operations and what they offered in the way of "exclusive territory" ect. Sadly they were probably "happy" to see the Packard portion of the business liquidate as that relieved them of any obligations on a product that they did not want to make. Thanks for sharing this info

raprice
07-08-2015, 06:21 PM
Fascinating!!!
Rog

BobPalma
07-08-2015, 06:54 PM
:!: OMG, yes, George, do I have complete dealer agreements out the wazoo:

4 Nash

9 Packard

1 Packard Clipper

1 Studebaker

That's a total of 15 Agreements! They vary in length, but probably average 12 pages each, for a total of at least 180 pages to wade through, mostly legalese, as you can imagine.

Anyway, I can't copy and paste too much of "all the above" because of all the time involved, but here are two items of interest:

1. The part of the Studebaker agreement specifying territory:

http://i571.photobucket.com/albums/ss155/BobPalma/studedlrterritory0006_zpsp4hcf6w0.jpg (http://s571.photobucket.com/user/BobPalma/media/studedlrterritory0006_zpsp4hcf6w0.jpg.html)

2. The two primary pages (18 and 19) of the Studebaker Agreement, about repurchase upon termination. (There are a few sentences on page 20, of no consequence):

http://i571.photobucket.com/albums/ss155/BobPalma/studedlrterm1_zpsqz1wfudy.jpg (http://s571.photobucket.com/user/BobPalma/media/studedlrterm1_zpsqz1wfudy.jpg.html)

http://i571.photobucket.com/albums/ss155/BobPalma/studedlrterm2_zpsvsql7sdz.jpg (http://s571.photobucket.com/user/BobPalma/media/studedlrterm2_zpsvsql7sdz.jpg.html)

:) BP

Cowtown Commander
07-08-2015, 10:08 PM
Thanks Bob it is interesting reading. Of the several dealer stocks I purchased, some did not become dealers untill the Lark, but I found parts from the late 40's and early 50's. I assume that Studebaker used the intial dealer stock as a means of "unloading" on the poor dealer a bunch of obsolete parts from the factory inventory. Thanks again for your efforts.

BobPalma
07-09-2015, 05:11 AM
Thanks Bob it is interesting reading. Of the several dealer stocks I purchased, some did not become dealers untill the Lark, but I found parts from the late 40's and early 50's. I assume that Studebaker used the intial dealer stock as a means of "unloading" on the poor dealer a bunch of obsolete parts from the factory inventory. Thanks again for your efforts.

:) You're welcome, George.

'Too bad you don't live closer; you'd be welcome to come over and read them some time when you are suffering from insomnia. :ohmy: They are a sure cure! ;) :cool: BP

Bill Pressler
07-09-2015, 05:54 AM
Very cool, Bob!

Re.: the '59 Lark--Ed Filer told me they had to hire a salesman (besides Ed and his Dad) when the '59 Lark took off so well, even in our small town. Ed said "Every time we turned around, somebody else was walking in the front door. We'd almost be like 'again??', but not quite!".

studegary
07-09-2015, 01:57 PM
I am surprised, but I shouldn't be, that Studebaker-Packard was listed as a Michagan corporation in 1955.

The buy back of new vehicles in inventory is similar to what I am familiar with in recent years.