Home Dealerships CONNECTICUT Dealerships
CONNECTICUT Dealerships
Written by Double Dragon
Friday, 11 March 2011 16:18

CONNECTICUT Dealerships

oneownercollectorcar.com

Writing and photography copyright D. S. Brown, except brochures copyright Oldsmobile and the business card logo copyright Brown and Thomas Cadillac. Research and photos of Brown & Thomas logo and exterior of James Cadillac courtesy of Paul and John Albino.

Connecticut evokes images of civility and culture, yet street racing flourished in the 1960s and 70s in certain hot spots such as Hartford, on the Merritt Parkway, Berlin Turnpike and Research Parkway. Vacant parking lots provided handy "pits" to prep cars, some of which were actually trailered in.

Brown & Thomas Olds Cadillac, New Haven/ Woodbridge, CT (19-- 197x) became James Cadillac

Crest Ford, Niantic, CT (888)-545-7619

Crest Lincoln, Woodbridge, CT/ (888)-856-3406 (former location of Voloshin Cadillac)

James Cadillac, Woodbridge, CT (1970s) formerly Brown & Thomas, became Voloshin

Loh Ford, Bridgeport, CT (became Park City Ford)

Napoli Pontiac, CT

Park City Ford, Bridgeport, CT (formerly Loh Ford)

T. J. Ryan Inc. (Plymouth-Chrysler), Tarleton, CT (195*-)

Secord Chrysler-Plymouth Inc, Meriden, CT (Super tuners/ Performance clinics/ 7 Road Runner A12 cars at once)

Stephen Pontiac Cadillac Inc, Bristol, CT (Pontiaction 68 GTO RA II, 69 Firebird RA IV, 70 Firebird RA V drag racers sponsor)

Thomas Cadillac Jaguar, Hartford, CT (1989-2009)

Voloshin Cadillac-Pontiac Co, Woodbridge, CT (197x-formerly James Cadillac)

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BROWN & THOMAS OLDSMOBILE CADILLAC, New Haven, CT (became James Cadillac)

Brown and Thomas Olds Cadillac was located at 7 Dixwell Avenue in the late 1950s and later on Whalley Avenue, New Haven, Connecticut.

This showroom brochure produced in 1967 was a miniature version of the full size ones normally found in dealerships. This mini brochure uses the same photos and graphics with excerpted copy from the full size brochure. The dealer has a stamp for the dealership, and then interestingly, a stamp is made for each individual salesman who added his name and picture to the brochure.

Here is the cover of the brochure, followed by a large image of the dealer stamp on the back.

dealer-mini-brochure-cover

The mini folder left a space for the dealer stamp, as seen below.

dealer-olds-new-haven

There are still dealers and car repair shops sprinkled along Whalley Avenue in New Haven to this day, but the Brown & Thomas dealership is no longer in business. Whalley Avenue has become run down over the years and locals are struggling to redefine what sort of businesses they want in the area. Some dealers who were on Whalley Ave: Somers Pontiac, Crest Lincoln-Mercury. McDermott Chevrolet and Hyundai held on into the 1980s but most of the others moved on. A business card from the dealer below shows a prior address; back when the Cadillac Sixty One was still a new model.

dealer-cadillac-new-haven

Paul Albino put us in touch with his 92 year old (in 2013) father John Albino who was Service Manager for Brown and Thomas. John recalls that 'Old Man Brown' wanted to move his dealership from the New Haven-Hamden line towards his more affluent clients in Amity-Woodbridge. Brown had a state of the art Geodesic plastic/plexiglass domed showroom built in his new Amity Road dealership location in Woodbridge, Connecticut. Unfortunately, after construction of this great new showroom was completed Brown was informed by GM that he had invaded the Oldsmobile territory of a nearby dealership. GM stripped him of his Oldsmobile franchise leaving the dealership a Cadillac stand alone.

After his high hopes for an exciting new dealership were compromised Brown lost interest in the whole idea and sold the business to Bill James in approximately 1970-71. The dealership at 189 Amity Road Woodbridge (203-389-5331) was renamed James Cadillac. After that it was sold to (Marvin?) Voloshin in the early 1970s. Voloshin Cadillac soon expanded to become Voloshin Cadillac-Pontiac Company. Currently the address hosts Crest Automall with Lincoln and Jaguar.

As Service Manager of Brown & Thomas Oldsmobile Cadillac, John Albino was privy to the strengths and weaknesses of each new crop of cars. The late 1960s were exciting times for Oldsmobile and Cadillac. Olds had the 4-4-2 and the Toronado. The following year Cadillac got its first 'sporty' personal car with its own version of the front wheel drive Toronado named the Eldorado. A full size domestic car with front wheel drive was quite radical for this era and earned John's respect. John loved the Toronado,

"They would plow thru anything. The dealership only had to tow in one of them. The owner of the tow-in had his driveway plowed in with about 3-4 feet of snow and he tried to drive through it because 'he'd never gotten stuck before". Once the front wheels were off the ground, he was done."

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CREST FORD, Niantic, CT (888)-545-7619

Crest Ford is located at 218 Flanders Road, Niantic, Connecticut. The Crest group also owns Crest Lincoln and Crest Jaguar in Woodbridge, Connecticut. In fall, 2013 the lot had 108 new vehicles in stock, one new 2012 model Mustang, three 2013 Mustangs, one 2013 Performance White Mustang Shelby GT500 with blue stripes (VIN 1ZVBP8JZ4D5270290). They also have a second Performance White Shelby GT500 with Sonic Blue stripe. This one is a 2014 model and like the 2013 is manual shift, VIN 1ZVBP8JZ9E5260548. The Shelby 5.8 L (355 c.i.) intercooled supercharged engine is good for a mindboggling 662 HP and 631 ft/lbs of torque and somehow produces an EPA of 15 City/ 24 Hwy MPG. Cost is $67,690.00.

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CREST LINCOLN, Woodbridge, CT (888)-856-3406 (former location of Voloshin Cadillac)

Crest Lincoln is located at the Crest Auto Mall at 186 Amity Road, Woodbridge, Connecticut which also hosts Crest Jaguar. The address traces back to a building purpose built for Brown & Thomas Oldsmobile Cadillac in 1970 which subsequently housed James Cadillac and Voloshin Cadillac Pontiac Co. Crest Lincoln Mercury Inc used to be located on Whalley Avenue in New Haven, Connecticut which is also where Brown & Thomas Olds Cadillac originated from in the 1960s. Upon moving the dealership was named Crest Lincoln Mercury Isuzu prior to the death of Mercury and substitution of Jaguar for Isuzu. Crest also has another dealership, Crest Ford in Niantic, CT.

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JAMES CADILLAC, Woodbridge, CT/ (1970s) Closed (formerly Brown & Thomas Olds Cad)

James Cadillac was located at 189 Amity Road Woodbridge, Connecticut. The building was purpose built by Brown & Thomas Oldsmobile Cadillac. When Brown lost his Oldsmobile franchise (see story above) he subsequently lost interest in the new venture. Bill James bought the dealership approximately 1970 or 1971 and renamed it James Cadillac. After a few years Bill James sold the business to (Marvin?) Voloshin. Voloshin Cadillac soon expanded to become Voloshin Cadillac-Pontiac Company.

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LOH FORD INC, Bridgeport CT (became Park City Ford)

dealer loh ford bridgeport ct logo

Loh Ford Inc was located at 2475 Fairfield Avenue in Bridgeport during the early 1960s and later moved to 40 North Avenue at Sylvan Avenue in Bridgeport Connecticut.

The Loh brothers had a series of car businesses starting with Loh Brothers Esso in Stamford, CT (1953-1956) and Loh Motors in Stamford, CT (1956-1961) before opening up Loh Ford in 1961.

Frank Loh was born November 11, 1930 in Camden, NJ to Lester and Helen Loh. He was raised in Larchmont, NY and graduated from Storm King School, Cornwall on Hudson, NY in 1948. After serving in the U.S. Army, Tank Battalion from 1951-1953 he immediately got into the car business. Loh Ford, Inc. was in business from 1961-1986. The dealership became Park City Ford. Frank died February 9, 2017 in the Jewish Home for the Elderly.

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NAPOLI PONTIAC,

Napoli Pontiac was established in 1959 and was taken over by second generation son Lenny Napoli who expanded the original dealership into a group of dealerships throughout Connecticut. Napoli also established Napoli Classic Cars to indulge his love of historic Pontiacs. Lenny owns a Thom McAn giveaway 1967 GTO among other significant Pontiacs.

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PARK CITY FORD, Bridgeport, CT (SVT dealer/ formerly Loh Ford)

Park City Ford is located at 60 North Avenue Bridgeport, CT. (formerly Loh Ford) In winter 2017 they had 147 new vehicles in stock. They had 2 Mustang convertibles (an Ecoboost and a GT) and 2 Ecoboost Mustang hardtops (grey and black).

Park City Ford has been an SVT dealership since 1993.

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T. J. RYAN INC. PLYMOUTH CHRYSLER, Tarleton, CT (195*-)

T. J. Ryan Inc. was a Plymouth-Chrysler dealership located on Broad Street in Tarleton, Connecticut during the 1950s.

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SECORD CHRYSLER-PLYMOUTH INC, Meriden, CT (Super tuners/ Performance clinics/ 7 Road Runner A12 cars at once)

Secord Chrysler-Plymouth was located at 316 South Broad Street in Meriden, Connecticut. Bill Secord was the owner, with locations in Meriden, Wallingford, and Chesire. John Rinaldi was appointed service manager in 1968. The service department's staff included a pair of drag racing brothers who helped draw awareness of performance inventory. "Bo" Bernard and Dalton Beaulier were Secord mechanics, while third brother Darrell was an axle and transmission man at Gil Martin's Dodge. All the brothers supertuned customer cars.

Secord hosted Sox & Martin Performance Clinics which chose sites based on performance inventory on hand. With approximately 30 performance Plymouths always on the lot, Secord qualified. New service manager Michael Bolstridge owned a 1968 Road Runner Hemi 4 speed, and later a 1970 Duster which the Beaulier brothers converted to a Pro Stock Hemi racear.

"Bo (Bernard) Beaulier's experience with an early 1969 order for a Cuda 340 4 speed illustrates a common incident from the muscle car era which contributed to high insurance rates: theft. In this case Bo's Cuda never got insured. In fact it never even got delivered! Bo's Cuda was stolen from the Chrysler-Plymouth railroad transfer lot in New York City.

Bo received new of his lost Cuda just as a truckload of 1969 1/2 Road Runner 440 6 barrel "A12" cars were delivered to Secord. Secord had 7 of these great cars in every color! Bo used South Meridian Airport to wring out a white A12 car. He and his wife Barbara bought it May 18, 1969. The Beaulier brothers installed a Hurst Super Shifter with reverse lockout which solved the biggest problem with these cars in factory form (Inland shift linkages were unsuited to hard shifts). Hooker headers, Cragars and 14 inch slicks took the A12 down the quarter at 110+ mph in 12.6 with factory 4.10:1 Sure-Grip. The factory 440 was so good it was never opened up. Bo's Road Runner ran strips as well as hauling trailers during family moves between Texas, Maine, and Connecticut. When Ralph Barbagallo bought and restored the Road Runner he found the engine, trans, and axle were perfect, which is a testament to these cars.

Bill Secord bought Marc Nissan in Berlin, CT in the 1980s. In the late 1980s Bill was running Bradley Automall (Chev Jeep Eagle). In the 1980s the former Secord Plymouth lot became home to Colonial Carpet Shop. In the 1990s the lot became a car dealership again with Robert's Hyundai occupying the old Secord lot. Meridan Hyundai took over the lot.

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STEPHEN PONTIAC CADILLAC INC, Bristol, CT ("Pontiaction" 1968 GTO RA II/ 69 Firebird RA IV/ 1970 Firebird RA V drag sponsor)

Stephen Pontiac Cadillac Inc. was located at 1097 Farmington Ave in Bristol, Connecticut during the 1960s and 1970s.

The dealership sponsored a series of drag cars named "Pontiaction". The service technician at Stephen Pontiac Bill Eckstrom had already been an avid drag racer prior to the dealership involvement in 1968. Bill became their driver and did very well campaigning the Stephen Pontiac cars. The 3 dealer sponsored cars were named Pontiaction I, II and III and competed in NHRA and even Indy.

The first Pontiaction racer was a 1968 Pontiac GTO RA II 4 with a speed steel bumper (Endura delete) that ran in D stock.

Pontiaction II was a yellow 1969 Firebird Ram Air IV 4 speed that ran in C stock at 11.93 E.T. at 118 mph in the quarter mile.

Pontiaction III was a pro stock 1970-73 Firebird RA V that was rebodied according to the year it raced. This car was raced at Indy as well as posting 10.35 second E.T.s in the quarter mile.

The Pontiaction II Yellow 1969 Firebird was raced for the 1969 season as a Stephen Pontiac team car. Bill Eckstrom believed the car was converted for street-legal use and sold after that. In researching the car Jeff Palazzo found no evidence of the car ever being registered during that time period. It is suggested that Pontiaction II  was raced in 1970 now named "Yellow Bird" by the new owner.

Jeff Palazzo of Simsbury bought "Pontiaction II" in 1989 showing only 15,000 miles on the odometer. Palazzo raced Pontiaction II for 12 years. He quit racing it because of it's rarity and difficulty finding parts.

Pontiaction III was retired after 1973. Pontiaction III lives on as the RA V engine from that car is being used in a 1969 Trans Am racer. Howard Block bought the body and is restoring the car.

Stephen Pontiac later became Stephen's World 'O' Wheels and then Stephens Automall and Stephens Toyota.

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THOMAS CADILLAC JAGUAR, Hartford, CT (1989-2009) Closed.

Thomas Cadillac Jaguar was a dealer in Hartford, CT that ran from 1989 until 2009.

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VOLOSHIN CADILLAC-PONTIAC CO, Woodbridge, CT (197x-closed)

Voloshin Cadillac-Pontiac carried forth in the building at at 189 Amity Road Woodbridge, Connecticut purpose built by Brown & Thomas Oldsmobile Cadillac. See the story above for more details. James Cadillac occupied the premises for a couple of years before selling to Voloshin. Voloshin expanded the line to include Pontiac. Upon the closure of Voloshin, Crest Lincoln of Woodbridge took over the location.

 

 

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 15 June 2021 21:48 )