Home Dealerships FLORIDA Dealerships
FLORIDA Dealerships
Written by Double Dragon
Sunday, 30 December 2012 21:28

FLORIDA Dealerships


Writing and photography copyright D. S. Brown

Anthony Abraham Chevrolet, Miami, FL

Joseph Abraham Ford, Miami, FL

Don Allen Chevrolet, Miami, FL (formerly John Jones Dodge Plymouth)

Austin Ford, Miami, FL

AutoNation Chevrolet, Pembroke Pines, FL (877) 320-5557

J.D. Ball Ford Inc, Miami, FL (Shelby dealer)

Bill Cook Ford Co, Bradenton, FL (Thunderbolt drag sponsor)

Cooper Oldsmobile, Coral Gables, FL/ Miami, FL (closed)

Courtesy Ford, Miami, FL

Deel Ford, Coral Gables, FL

Mike Erdman Cadillac, Merritt Island, FL, 321 806-1179 (formerly Sutherlin)

Ferman Chevrolet of TampaTampa, FL (866) 511-9366 (1902 Oldsmobile franchise/ Yenko 427 Camaro distributor)

Ferman Oldsmobile, Tampa Fl (see Ferman Chev of Tampa/ Yenko 427 Camaro distributor)

Dick Fincher Oldsmobile, Miami, FL (became Maroone Oldsmobile)

Garber Automall, Green Cove Springs, Florida

Jon Hall Jeep Hyundai, Daytona Beach, FL (386) 255-9374

Heath Motor Co  (Pontiac Studebaker), Panama City, FL

Hodson Pontiac, Miami, FL

Cecil Holland Ford, North Miami Beach, FL (became Morse-Holland Ford)

Crippen Oldsmobile, North Miami Beach, FL

Hollywood Ford Inc, Hollywood, FL

John Jones Dodge Plymouth, Miami, FL (became Don Allen Chev)

King Oldsmobile, Fort Lauderdale, FL (Smother's Brothers drag team 1969 Cutlass S W-31)

William Lehman Motors (DeSoto- Plymouth), Miami, FL

Luby Chevrolet, Miami, FL (Yenko Super Camaro 427 distributor)

Maroone Oldsmobile, Miami, FL (formerly Dick Fincher Olds)

Miami Lincoln Mercury, Miami, FL

Ed Morse Ford, North Miami Beach, FL (formerly Morse- Holland Ford Inc)

Morse-Holland Ford, North Miami Beach, FL (formerly Cecil Holland/ became Ed Morse Ford)

Claude Nolan Cadillac Inc., Jacksonville, FL (1905) (904) 677-8806

Nolan Brown Cadillac, Miami, FL

Packer Pontiac, Miami, FL/ (formerly Trail Pontiac)- Closed

Paigo Motors (English Ford), Miami, FL

Vic Potamkin Chevrolet, Miami Beach, FL

Powell Motor Company (Ford), Ft. Lauderdale, FL

Jim Rathmann Chevrolet Cadillac, Melbourne, FL (Astronaut Corvette supplier)

Rosner Chevrolet, Melbourne, FL (888) 705-6186 (formerly Jim Rathmann Chev Cad)

Spence Chevrolet, Daytona Beach, (Performance inventory/ Serviced 1969 Camaro Daytona 500 pacecar)

Stephens Pontiac, Daytona Beach. FL (NASCAR racing sponsor including Fireball Roberts)

Stingray Chevrolet, Plant City, Florida 813-704-2092 (see Classic Chevrolet, Grapevine, TX)

Jake Sutherlin Olds-Cadillac-Nissan-Isuzu Inc, Merritt Island, FL (became Mike Erdman)

Terry Ford Company, Pompano Beach, FL

Trail Pontiac, Miami, FL/ (became Packer Pontiac)- Closed

Tropical Chevrolet, Miami Shores, FL

Tutan Motors (Dodge Plymouth), Miami, Fl

Williamson Cadillac, Miami, FL



Anthony Abraham Chevrolet was located 'on the Trail at LeJeune Road' during the 1950s.

Anthony Abraham was born Feb 25, 1911 in Youngstown, Ohio. He graduated from the University of Detroit but dropped out of law school during the Depression to work for the Chicago Evening American. Anthony established "Help Wanted News" and sold it for a small fortune.

Abraham and his wife Genevieve moved to South Florida in 1951 in an attempt to alleviate asthma symptoms for their eldest adopted child George, the eldest of the couple’s five adopted children, was asthmatic. Abraham's early retirement didn't last long before he established a Chevrolet dealership to occupy himself. The first location was on the corner of South West 8th Street and Le Jeune Road. The dealership became the largest Chevrolet dealership in South Florida.

Abraham used his success from both his business ventures for philanthropic causes. He was one of the founders of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn and the Anthony R. Abraham Foundation.

In 1984 Abraham financed treatment for the gravely ill daughter of friends Sam and Bea Joseph. Abraham’s wife Genevieve drove to the Joseph's house to inform them and was murdered along with the Josephs in a home invasion robbery committed by Luis Rodriguez and Manuel Rodriguez.

Abraham carried on past his 100th birthday and died of natural causes Oct, 2011.



Joseph Abraham Ford was located at 2751 North Miami Avenue, Miami, Florida during the 1960s.


DON ALLEN CHEVROLET, Miami, FL (formerly John Jones Dodge Plymouth)

Don Allen Chevrolet was located on North Miami Ave between 20th and 21st Streets, Miami, Florida which was the former location of John Jones Dodge Plymouth in the 1940s. Allen had a used car lot at 3011 N.W. 36th Street, Miami, Florida. Norman Pascarella was the acknowledged Corvette guru in the dealership and was responsible for establishing the first Corvette Club in Miami. During the 1950's Don Allen had another dealership located in the General Motors building on Broadway at 57th Street, New York named Chevrolet by Don Allen. He biilled this as the World's Largest Car Dealer.

After years as a strong dealership during the 1950s and 1960s the surrounding neighborhood deteriorated and hurt sales forcing closure in the early 1982.



Austin Ford Inc was located at 3801 N. W. 27th Ave, Miami, Florida during the 1960s. Austin Ford was corporated September 9, 1954. William Austin was the President of Austin Ford and Joe Tyus was the Treasurer of Bill Austin Ford Inc. The Director of Bill Austin Ford Inc was Wilmeth Austin.


AUTONATION CHEVROLET, Pembroke Pines, FL (877) 320-5557

AutoNation Chevrolet is located at 8600 Pines Boulevard, Pembroke Pines, Florida. The 30 acre automall was created by Michael Maroone who initially acquired the 2 Dick Fincher Oldsmobile franchises in Miami and Hialeah and then set about transferring his activities to a purpose built auto mall in Pembroke Pines.


J.D. BALL FORD INC, Miami, Florida (volume Shelby dealer in the 1960s)

J.D. Ball Ford Inc was located at 9000 N.W. 7th Ave, Miami, Florida. Ball was the 5th ranked highest volume Shelby dealership in USA during the 1960s. The dealership can be glimpsed in the James Bond film GOLDFINGER when Oddjob drives the gangster past it just prior to shooting him.


BILL COOK FORD CO, Bradenton, FL (1964 Thunderbolt drag sponsor)

Bill Cook Ford Co is located at 3400 West 14th Street, Bradenton, Florida in the 1960s and 1970s. Salesman Pete Mount was a long time drag racer who owned a 1964 Thunderbolt drag car.


COOPER OLDSMOBILE INC, Coral Gables, FL/ Miami, FL (closed)

Cooper Motor Sales Inc Oldsmobile was originally located at 1607 Ponce De Leon Blvd, Coral Gables, Florida. Later renamed Cooper Oldsmobile Inc the dealership relocated to 3500 S W 8th Street, Miami, Florida. Cooper was later located at 2440 N E 200 Street, North Miami, Florida in Coral Gables.

The dealership was incorporated under the name Cooper Oldsmobile April 3, 1972. In 1986 owner Cooper retired. By this time long time employee Robert J Horvath had accrued more than 25% stocks in Cooper and set up a deal to take over ownership by 1991.

Horvath was born in Ohio where he was a basketball star. He moved with his wife Evelyn to Miami in 1953 to work for Dick Fincher Olds, then became sales manager at Crippen Olds. Starting in the 1970s Horvath managed Cooper Olds. Horvath's problems began in 1987 when Oldsmobiles were sold at dealerships in adjoining territories of Hialeah and Kendall which eroded Cooper's sales. Lost business forced closure of the dealership Aug 18, 1989. The corporation was involuntarily dissolved May 14, 1990.

Horvath's wife died March 2, 1992 with Horvath mortgaging his house to pay medical. He sued GM for cutting off his medical and for allowing Oldsmobiles to be sold within in his territory but was unable to get legal satisfaction. Horvath continued in his profession as a car salesman and wrote a book about the rise of the Automall and destruction of the 'mom/pop' dealerships titled "Project 2000: The Rise and Fall of Oldsmobile Division of General Motors".



Courtesy Ford was located at 2781 North Miami Ave, Miami, FL



Crippen Oldsmobile was located in North Miami Beach, FL


DEEL FORD, Coral Gables, FL

Deel Ford was located at 4811 LeJeunes Road, Coral Gables, Florida during the 1950s and 1960s.



Edelen Buick was located at 7200 N. W. 2nd Ave, Miami, Florida in the 1950s.


MIKE ERDMAN CADILLAC, Merritt Island, FL, 321 806-1179 (formerly Sutherlin)

Mike Erdman Cadillac is located at 445 E. Merritt Island Causeway, Merritt Island, Florida. Mike Erdman was president of Jake Sutherlin Olds Cadillac and states that he has owned the location for 24 years. The name change was made fairly recently most likely to maintain continuity with the already established Sutherlin name. In winter, 2015 Erdman had 56 new vehicles in stock.


FERMAN CHEVROLET OF TAMPA, Tampa, FL (866) 511-9366 (1902 Oldsmobile franchise/ Yenko 427 Camaro distributor)

Ferman Chevrolet of Tampa is located at 9751 Adamo Drive, Tampa, Florida. The dealership traces back to a bike shop established July 5, 1895. In 1902 Fred Fernman (born 1874) expanded out from bikes by opening an Oldsmobile dealership in Tampa which was the first car dealership in the city. In 1903 he added Cadillac to his roster at the Jackson Street/ Florida Avenue dealership.

Fred's first son William Frederick Ferman, Jr was born in 1904. Second son James (Jim) Laurens Ferman was born April 14, 1915. In 1925 Fred Ferman, Jr. graduated Stetson University. He joined the Ferman Dodge and Graham Brothers dealership at 407-411 Jackson Street. Fred was still working for this dealership when Plymouth was added to the lineup.

Fred Ferman Jr opened a branch of the family business as Fred Ferman Company (selling Packards and DeSotos). In 1930 this company became a Chevrolet dealership. Fred, Jr moved his dealership to 307 Florida Ave in 1931 and made a name change in 1933 to Ferman Chevrolet. Shortly after completing a successful war career Jim Ferman found himself in charge of the family Chev Olds dealerships when Fred Sr died Sep, 1949 and Fred jr died in 1951.

In 1958 responding to consumer movement to suburbs, the Oldsmobile location on 401 Washington Street was converted to a Chevrolet Truck dealership and the Olds dealership moved closer to the customers.

On Aug 10, 1968 Ferman Chevrolet was located at 407 Jackson, Tampa, FL and took out a large ad in the Tampa Tribune promoting the Ferman Sports Department. They had a new 1968 Yenko Super Camaro on display and were the area exclusive distributor for Yenko cars. The ad included a photo of the Super Camaro with a Corvette style fiberglass hood with scoops. The Sports Dept also had a good stock of Corvettes.

The current owner of Fernman Chevrolet is a fifth generation family member named Jim Fernman.

As of winter 2014 Fernman had 578 new vehicles in stock, 351 of which are cars. They had a whopping 124 new Camaros, including 3 new 2014 ZL1 Camaros.


FERNMAN OLDSMOBILE (1902 Oldsmobile franchise), Tampa Fl (see Ferman Chev of Tampa)

Ferman Oldsmobile was located in Tampa Florida. Established in 1902 Fernman was the first car dealership in the city. For the full story see the story of Ferman Chevfolet of Tampa above.


DICK FINCHER OLDSMOBILE, Miami, FL/ Hialeah, FL (became Maroone Oldsmobile)

Dick Fincher Oldsmobile was located at 1740 NE 2nd Avenue at 16th Street, Miami, Florida. Dick Fincher became a senator in Florida while maintaining his dealership. From 1957 until 1963 he was married to movie star Gloria DeHaven. They remarried 1965-69. In 1987 Michael Marroone bought up the 2 Fincher Olds locations in Miami and Hialeah, Florida.


GARBER AUTOMALL, Green Cove Springs, FL

dealer garber automall green cove springs fl gm ford

Garber Automall is located at 3340 Highway 17 in Green Cove Springs, Florida. This giant location carries all USA brands in one spot. They have Chevrolet, Buick, GMC, Ford, Dodge, Chrysler and Jeep. The Garber Auto group traces back to the 1907 founding of Garber Buick Company in Saginaw, Michigan by Guy S. Garber. Guy was born March 5, 1884 in Eaton County, Michigan. Guy S. Garber expanded his dealerships, but died fairly young at age 55, Dec 5, 1965.

Guy S. 'Ike' Garber, Jr. took over the dealerships. Guy, Jr. was born April 3, 1920 in Saginaw, Michigan. Guy, Jr was president of the Garber Pontiac Cadillac dealership in Saginaw. He also owned most of Michigan's 7-11 stores for a period of time. His background as a tennis champion led him to develop the Bay Valley Golf and Tennis Resort. He died at age 92, Aug 24, 2012.

The dealership network is still all family owned and operated with Richard J. Garber, Jr. in charge. Garber Buick is the oldest operational Buick dealership in USA.


JON HALL JEEP HYUNDAI, Daytona Beach, FL (386) 255-9374

dealer jon hall jeep daytona beach florida logo

Jon Hall Jeep Hyundai is located at 998 N Nova Rd in Daytona Beach, Florida.


HEATH MOTOR CO (Pontiac Studebaker), Panama City, FL

Heath Motor Co was a Pontiac and Studebaker dealership located at 918 Harrison, Panama City, Florida in the 1950s and 1960s.

The Red 1965 Pontiac GTO convertible shown below was bought new from Heath Motor Company. It was on display at the March, 2014 Abbotsford Tradex show.

65 gto conv red tri power heath motor co florida frt

The window sticker tells us that this was ordered as one super hot set up. In 1965 the GTO wasn't yet a separate series so this car is listed as a LeMans with the GTO option. Piled atop the GTO is optional Tri-Power, transistorized ignition, engine fan clutch, 4 speed manual, metallic brake linings, Saf-T-Track differential, quick steering, Rally gauge cluster with tachometer, custom cushion sports steering wheel, console, and wire wheel discs. Also on this car are power top, AM/FM radio, soft ray glass all around, lamp group, dash pad, 2 speed wiper, and custom retractable seat belts.

65 gto conv red tri power heath motor co florida window sticker



Hodson Pontiac was located 1825 N. E. 2nd Ave, Miami, Florida during the 1950s.


CECIL HOLLAND FORD, North Miami Beach, FL (became Morse-Holland Ford)

Cecil Holland Ford was located in Miami, Florida. Holland opened up a new dealership location at NE 163rd Street and West Dixie Highway, North Miami Beach, Florida in summer, 1958.



Hollywood Ford Inc was located at 1350 North Federal Highway, Hollywood, Florida during the 1960s.


JOHN JONES DODGE PLYMOUTH, Miami, FL (became Don Allen Chev)

John Jones Dodge Plymouth was located on North Miami Ave between 20th and 21st Streets, Miami, Florida during the 1940s. The location became Don Allen Chevrolet in the 1950s.


KING OLDSMOBILE, Fort Lauderdale, FL (Smother's Brothers drag team 1969 Cutlass S W-31)

King Oldsmobile, Fort Lauderdale, FL


WILLIAM LEHMAN MOTORS (DeSoto- Plymouth), Miami, FL

William Lehman Motors was a DeSoto- Plymouth dealer located at 7131 N. W. 7th Ave, Miami, Florida.


LUBY CHEVROLET CITY, Miami, FL (Yenko Super Camaro 427 distributor)

Luby Chevrolet was located on 9200 N. W. 27th Ave at the corner of 92nd St,  Miami, Florida during the 1960s and 1970s. Luby used a rocketship logo to emphasize the fast sales in the dealership 'They just GO!" as well as tying into the space race centered around southern Florida.

Luby ran an ad Aug 23, 1968 in the Miami News announcing that they had a 1968 Yenko Super Camaro 427 in stock.

Sam Luby established a Denver dealership and later a Miami dealership. His daugher Betty Arlene Luby was born in Denver but grew up in Miami. She married Dr. Frank S. Cole who later gave up his practice in 1950 to join Sam Luby in his Miami dealership. That expeience led to him establishing Luby Chevrolet Co in Baltimore, MD. When Frank died in 1967 Betty took over the dealership and tied in the marketing to the "i Love Lucy" show by capitlazig on her rare female dealer role with the "I Love Luby" catchphrase.

In 1968 the Baltimore dealership sponsored a 1968 Camaro named Boss Lady in reference to Betty. In 1969 she married Dr. Julius Waghelstein but continued to run the dealership until it was sold to Anderson Automotive Group in 1994.


MAROONE OLDSMOBILE, Miami, FL (formerly Dick Fincher Olds)

Maroone Oldsmobile was located at at 1740 NE 2nd Avenue at 16th Street, Miami, Florida. This was the former site of Dick Fincher Oldsmobile which Michael Maroone bought out in 1987. On April 14, 1989 this dealership was closed to move operations to a new purpose built automall in Pembroke Pines, Florida.



Miami Lincoln Mercury was located at 100 S. W. 13th Street, Miami, Florida during the 1950s and 1960s and billed themselves as Miami's oldest Chevrolet dealership.



ED MORSE FORD, North Miami Beach, FL (formerly Morse- Holland Ford Inc)

Ed Morse Ford was located at 2198 N. E. 163rd Street, North Miami Beach, Florida.


MORSE-HOLLAND FORD, North Miami Beach, FL (formerly Cecil Holland/ became Ed Morse Ford)

Morse-Holland Ford was located at 2198 N. E. 163rd Street, North Miami Beach, Florida. The location was formerly known as Cecil Holland Ford.


CLAUDE NOLAN CADILLAC, Jacksonville, FL (1905) (904) 677-8806

Claude Nolan Cadillac Inc. is located at 4700 Southside Blvd. Jacksonville, Florida.

Claude Nolan became a Cadillac Motor Car agent in Jacksonville, Florida in 1905 making this the oldest Cadillac dealer in the South. Nolan's Cadillac dealership named Claude Nolan Inc was first located on East Church Street, Jacksonville, Florida.

Claude was born in 1883 in Sanford and grew up in Jacksonville, graduating from Vanderbilt University in law. Jacksonville, Florida was a good location for a dealership. Claude's father, George Nolan was mayor from 1903 until his death in 1906.

In 1910 the business expanded moving to an opulent 3 story dealership on Main Street designed by Henry J. Klutho specifically for displaying Cadillacs.

Claude Nolan publicized his cars in 1910 when he staged a race at the Jacksonville Fairgrounds between a Cadillac and an early airplane. In 1911, he received a trophy for his participation in the Glidden Tours, a national organization that advanced the establishment of highway systems. In the 1920s he became the first person to drive to Key West, Florida with a friend. They drove down the Florida East Coast railroad tracks from Miami to Key West.

In the 1950s Claude's territory was the largest single distributorship of Cadillac motor cars. Nolan built a new Cadillac dealership on the freshly constructed Biscayne Boulevard in Miami, Florida. It was called “Nolan’s Folly” until it morphed into one of the largest Cadillac dealerships in USA after WWII. Nolan also owned Pontiac franchises in Miami and Jacksonville, Florida. He owned other auto trade businesses in Florida and Georgia (Steward Warner, Alemite, Duco, and Philco)

In 1985 the original dealership moved from the grand 1910 building to a new facility built on Southside Boulevard, Jacksonville, FL.

Claude Nolan never married. When his sister, Lila Nolan Peterson's husband died Claude took on responsibility for her and her daughter Claudia. Claude's niece, Claudia married Connor Brown who joined the family business in 1938. Claude Nolan died in 1943 and was succeeded by Brown as distributor. By the end of WWII, Connor Brown had established Connor Brown Cadillac in Fort Lauderdale, built a branch of Nolan-Brown Motors on Bay Harbour Island in Miami Beach and sold the Trail Pontiac franchise in Miami. In 1965, Connor Brown was the largest Cadillac distributor in the Florida territory and became the sole dealership for  Jacksonville, Miami, Miami Beach and Fort Lauderdale when Cadillac cancelled all other franchises in these areas.

Connor Brown died in 1976, his wife, Claudia Nolan Brown, took over operation of Connor Brown Cadillac until 1979 when she sold the company. Jack Helmick became president of the company in 1976 after the death of his father-in-law, Connor Brown. Helmick graduated Auburn University and of the University of Florida College of Law. He was a reconnaissance pilot in the Navy before joining the Nolan Cadillac franchise in 1965 as assistant to Connor Brown. Helmick later acquired the Claude Nolan franchise location in Jacksonville and started Claude Nolan Cadillac Inc.

During 1960s and 1970s Brown and George Williamson opened George Williamson Cadillac in South Miami. Williamson later bought Brown’s interest in the dealership.

Claude Nolan Inc. decided to focus on Cadillac exclusively and sold the Pontiac franchise in Jacksonville, FL. They also sold dealerships in Miami and Miami Beach, FL.

In fall 1985 the dealership relocated to its new facility at 4700 Southside Boulevard in the Quality Circle Auto Park. Claude Nolan Cadillac Inc won Master Dealer Recognition 13 times which is awarded to the top Cadillac dealers in the USA. The company also was an Oldsmobile Elite Dealer during a 10-year partnership with Oldsmobile before GM killed the brand. Anticapting the death of Oldsmobile Claude Nolan Inc ceased their Oldsmobile franchise in 2002 prior to the end of Olds in 2004.

Jack Helmick has served as director of the Jacksonville and Florida Automobile Dealers Associations. He has served on the Zone Cadillac Dealer council several times and one term on the Cadillac National Dealer council. Additionally, Helmick was involved with the Catera Brand Committee when that line was being brought to market.The Helmick years are just beginning. Jack Helmick’s son, Marc Helmick and his daughter Allison Helmick  joined the family business in 1988.

Allison now serves as the public relations director for the company and is in charge of the company’s centennial celebration. Marc is the general manager and, like his father before him, serves on the board of directors of the Florida Automobile Dealers Association.

In 2003, the company elected to participate in the Cadillac Image program prompting significant cosmetic improvements to the Southside facility. As of 2004, Claude Nolan Cadillac Inc. was still the largest Cadillac dealer between Atlanta and Orlando. In winter, 2014 Nolan had 175 new vehicles in stock, 119 of which were cars. The new ATS accounts for the most number of the cars on the lot.



Nolan Brown Cadillac was one of the many locations of the Claude Nolan Florida Cadillac empire. It was located at 2036 N. E. 2nd Avenue, Miami, Florida.


PACKER PONTIAC, Miami, FL/ (formerly Trail Pontiac)- Closed

Packer Pontiac was located at 665 SW 8th Street, Miami, Florida. The Packer Pontiac empire of three dealerships was established by William M. Packer, Sr. Packer's first dealership was established in Detroit, Michigan right after WW II ended. See the story behind the development of this dealership filed under MICHIGAN/ DETROIT in the DEALERSHIPS section of this website.

Packer Pontiac soon included a satellite location in Flint. The Detroit and Flint dealerships sold 1,200 cars in the month of June, 1954. That huge sales volume earned Packer the title of largest Pontiac dealer in all of USA.

William Packer, Sr. moved to Florida and left his son William Packer, Jr. in charge of the two dealership operations up north. In July, 1955 William Packer, Sr. bought his third dealership: Trail Pontiac in Miami. After renaming it Packer, he arranged to have William Packer, Jr. come to Florida to help develop it. By 1958 Packer had a second location to sell their used stock at 590 S. W. 8th Street, Miami.


PAIGO MOTORS (English Ford), Miami, FL

Paigo Motors was billed as Miami's largest English Ford dealership in the 1950s, located at 3799 N. W. 36th Street, Miami, Florida.



Vic Potamkin Chevrolet was located at  540 Alton Road, Miami Beach, Florida during the 1950s.


POWELL MOTOR COMPANY (Ford), Ft. Lauderdale, FL

Powell Motor Company was a Ford dealership located at 1333 North Federal Highway, Ft. Lauderdale, FL


JIM RATHMANN CHEVROLET CADILLAC INC, Melbourne, FL (Astronaut Corvette supplier)

Jim Rathmann Chevrolet Cadillac Inc was located on Highway 1, Melbourne, Florida. Jim Rathmann was owner operator until 1997. The dealership was located at 800 S Harbor City Blvd, Melbourne, Florida when it became a Chevrolet stand alone franchise.

Jim Rathmann was born Royal Richard Rathmann July 16, 1928, Alhambra, California. He became known as 'Jim' when he used his older brother Jame's identification to race while he was still underage at 16 years old. When his older brother (2 1/2 years older) was racing later on he used the name Dick Rathmann to prevent confusion for spectators.

Jim Rathmann placed in the top 3 in several Indy 500 races and won in 1960. Jim invested his first place prize money in a car dealership.

Astronauts and Corvettes were an established mix prior to any official involvement from General Motors. Alan Shepard had owned several of them and became friends with 'father of the Corvette' Zora Arkus-Duntov. Shepards' background with Vettes prompted Ed Cole to present Shepard with a new 1962 Corvette with Bill Mitchell custom interior following his space flight.

Jim Rathmann was friends with the astronauts and supplied the 'original 7' Mercury group with Corvettes as well as the subsequent Gemini and Apollo astronauts that came along later. Rathmann managed to convince General Motors president Ed Cole to set up a lease program. Chevrolet provided 2 cars to each astronaut: one for the wife which was usually utilitarian in nature and a Corvette for the astronaut. All of the 'original seven' except John Glenn drove Corvettes.

In fall, 1966 Alan Shepard (the first American in space) and Gus Grissom (the second American in space) each leased a new 1967 427/435 horsepower Corvette from Rathmann. Grissom asked Jim Rathmann to give him an edge. The wily old racer Rathmann widened the rear wheel openings so larger rear tires would clear and substituted a 4:56 Positraction axle for the factory unit. Grissom may have been second in space but he won races against Shepard! After Grissom's tragic death by fire his wife returned the Corvette to the dealership. It eventually surfaced at auction in 2007. Grissom's Lynndale Blue convertible had been repainted red but was in pristine condition.

Neil Armstrong leased a Marina Blue 1967 Corvette with 427-390 HP, A/C and power windows. He took delivery in December, 1966 and traded it a year later. A NASA employee bought it and drove it until September, 1981 when he parked it for 20 years. It came up for auction 2012 and is now owned by Joe Crosby.

Alan Shephard's White 1968 Corvette convertible 427-435 HP aluminum head 4 speed car was bought after he returned it from his lease and owned in the same family for 40 years. It was displayed at Kennedy Space Center for many years before coming up for sale at auction on Merrit Island, FL. The owner's son mentioned that Jim Rathmann told some stories about Shephards' hi jinks and street races in the car. Shephard had “enemy kills” painted on the driver’s door when he won races carrying on the fighter pilot tradition of “kills” painted on cockpits. The owner had documentation of Shepard’s Cape Kennedy Corvette Club membership and the original 1968 Corvette order form from Rathmann.

The Apollo 12 crew (Alan Bean, Pete Conrad, and Richard Gordon Jr.) leased three identical 1969 Riverside Gold 427/ 390 HP 4 speed Corvette coupes from Rathmann. The cars came with A/C, radio, head restraints and the imitation wire wheel covers. The astronauts had 'black wings' custom painted on them along with red white and blue logos on the front fenders. The Vettes were nicknamed 'the AstroVettes'. The publicity surrounding the cars led to some backlash and the lease program ended. Danny Reed found Alan Bean's car on an Austin, Texas GMAC dealer lot in 1971 and preserved it for posterity.

The Apollo 15 astronauts Jim Irwin, Al Worden and Dave Scott each drove Corvettes. Their Vettes were painted the colors of the American flag: red, white and blue with alternate paint stripes running the length of the cars over the top. Thus the white car has red and blue stripes, the red car has white and blue stripes etc.

Well known for his sense of humor Rathmann purportedly managed to get a Jim Rathmann Chevrolet Cadillac dealership sticker placed on the rear of a Lunar Rover. He was also a regular gambler in Las Vegas. Jim retired with his wife Mary Kay to Indian Harbor Beach, Florida and died Nov 23, 2011 following a seizure.

The old Rathmann Chevy lot location became Rosner Chevrolet in 2007. This franchise is part of the Rosner Auto Group.


ROSNER CHEVROLET, Melbourne, FL (888) 705-6186 (formerly Jim Rathmann Chev Cad)

Rosner Chevrolet is located at 800 S Harbor City Blvd, Melbourne, Florida. The Rosner Automotive Group was formed in 1979 by Ron Rosner of Vero Beach, Florida. This lot is the former location of Jim Rathmann Chevrolet Cadillac Inc which is famous for leasing Corvettes to astronauts.

In winter, 2016 Rosner Chev had 133 new vehicles in stock, 45 of which were cars. Rosner had 5 new Camaros and 5 new Corvettes including Z06 and Z51s.


SPENCE CHEVROLET, Daytona Beach, FL (Performance inventory/ Serviced 1969 Camaro Daytona 500 pacecar)

Spence Chevrolet was located at 700 Volusia Avenue at Highway 92, Daytona Beach, Florida. This performance dealer advertised that they had serviced the official Feb 23, 1969 Daytona 500 race pace car which was a 1969 Camaro.


STEPHENS PONTIAC, Daytona Beach. FL (NASCAR racing sponsor including Fireball Roberts)

Stephens Pontiac was located in Daytona Beach. Florida during the 1950s and 1960s when it became well known as a sponsor for NASCAR racing cars. The owner of the dealership Jim Stephens sponsored many different drivers, including famous 1962 Daytona 500 winner Fireball Roberts in his black and gold #22 Pontiac which was prepped by Smokey Yunick. Years later Jimmy and Ann Kellett of Laurens, South Carolina re-created the #22 Pontiac.


STINGRAY CHEVROLET, Plant City, Florida 813-704-2092 (see Classic Chevrolet, Grapevine, TX)

Stingray Chevrolet is located at 2002 North Frontage Road in Plant City, Florida. The dealership is owned by Tom Durant. See more about Tom in the story about his main dealership Classic Chevrolet, Grapevine, Texas. Stingray Chevrolet won dealer of the year for 2010. In spring of 2013 Stingray had 791 new vehicles in stock, 352 of which were cars. They had 32 new Camaros. Not surprising, given the dealership name they had an amazing 45 new Corvettes in stock.

The majority of the new 2012 and 2013 Corvettes were Grand Sports, although they did stock a couple of base 2013 Corvettes as well. Of course, they had to have some heavyweights on the lot and they did. Stingray had four new 2013 427 Corvettes, a new 2012 Corvette ZR1 1ZR and two new 2013 Corvette Z06 3LZs on hand.



dealer sutherlin cadillac merrit isl fl logo

Jake Sutherlin Olds-Cadillac-Nissan-Isuzu Inc was establised in 1991 and was located at 445 E Merritt Island Causeway, Merritt Island, Florida.



Terry Ford Company was located at 1050 North Federal Highway, Pompano Beach, FL


TRAIL PONTIAC, Miami, FL/ (became Packer Pontiac)- Closed

Trail Pontiac was located at 665 SW 8th Street, Miami, Florida. In July, 1955 William Packer, Sr. bought Trail Pontiac and renamied it Packer. See the story on Packer further up this page.



Tropical Chevrolet was located on Biscayne Avenue near N. E. 6th Avenue during the 1950s to 1970s. I wonder how many Chevrolet Biscaynes were sold here due to unconscious bias on the part of the buyer?


TUTAN MOTORS (Dodge Plymouth), Miami, Fl

Tutan Motors billed themselves as Miami's oldest authorized Dodge Plymouth dealer during the 1950s. Tutan was located at 3501 S. W. 8th Street, Miami, Florida.



Williamson Cadillac was located on Kendall Drive, Miami, Florida during the 1960s and 1970s.




panama city fl


Cadillacs Pontiacs Tempests at LLOYD MOTOR CO. 930 Harriion-PO 3-6575 LIOYP'S IXTRA.SPECIALS · * '65 PONTIAC .................... $2295 . Star Chief 4-door with radio, htattr, automatic tratumiuion, powtr . steering and braku. Air conditioned. '64 CHEVROLET .................. $1295 Malibu Z-dcar hardtop. Radio, htater. straight ihift, 6 c»L '57 CADILLAC .................... $395 4-door Fketwood. Radio, heater, automatic tranimaikm, power itwrin* and brakes. 921 Harrison Ave. MflTOR 763-8133, Tommy Thomas



NELSON BUICK CO. 622-25 HARRISON AVE. 785-4391 785-8124 "Serving Bay County Over 52 Years " PIER 98 MARINA SW4 E. Hwy. 98.

HAKMAN MOTORS, INC. 835 Harrison Ave. 785-0569 735-0402 LIQUIDATION We are liquidating our entire used car stock. Unheard of prices on: 1956 Buick 4 Dr. 1963 Buick Spec. 4 Dr. 1961 Cadillac 4 Dr. A-C 1939 Chev. BelA WEIGAND LINCOLN-MERCURY, INC. USED CAR LOT 645 HARRISON AVI. PHONE 7


. Now in New Location  Pbone 3-11ZI · High Cash for Clean Cars SALA MTRS. USED CARS i Purchase your used car I from a franchisee! newj car dealer. 1 '51 PLYMOUTH Cambridge f i Club Coupe, new white wall i tires. Above th

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 27 July 2021 18:59 )