We have another car and truck dealership in one of Vancouver’s main Motordom streets. We’ve previously looked at several vehicle dealerships in the two blocks east of here, and here is another in this 1931 image. On the corner with Bute Street, Consolidated Motor Company Limited had their Willys-Knight and White trucks and busses division. Next door was their Gold Bond used cars department, and to the west was the Hupmobile and Packard car showroom.
Willy-Knight cars were produced between 1914 and 1933 by the Willys-Overland Company of Toledo, Ohio, while White (which started in 1900 with steam powered cars) after World War I began producing trucks. The company soon sold 10 percent of all trucks made in the US. Between the wars White produced all sizes of trucks from light delivery to semi – that’s a White chassis sitting outside the showroom. Hupmobiles were manufactured in Detroit from 1909. After 1925 the company made the same mistake that many other medium-priced carmakers were making at the same time; in an attempt to capture every possible sale, they offered many different models. With their relatively low production volume, no model could be produced in sufficient quantity to keep manufacturing costs low enough to provide an operating profit.
The building on the corner was built in 1919; designed by Fred Townley for the Terminal City Motor Co costing $30,000 by AD and AW Snider. It was described as “Factory/Warehouse; two-storey reinfoced concrete garage building, 66×120 ft; rest rooms w/ large open fireplaces, lavatories; owing to diff. in grade, access to repair dept via ramp at Alberni St. entrance, drive a car right into without use of an elevator”. The previous owner of the house here was J Duff-Stuart, who was making repairs to his home as late as 1918.
Terminal City Motor Co operated a hire car service – an early limo service. In their fleet they had a Cadillac Model 30 that they used to run a tour service around the city. The company was manged by Frank Barnes, and offered sightseeing tours in 7 seat ‘Green Cars’ that set off from opposite the Hotel Vancouver. For $1 you could take a 25 mile tour to Marine Drive through Point Grey. Seeing Shaughnessy Heights in an hour and half drive also cost $1. The brochure advertising the tours mentioned that their stores also sold a range of auto parts. The company had moved five blocks to the west to their new premises. In 1926 they added new premises on Dunsmuir Street and changed their name to the BC Motor Transportation Co. “Operating All Classes of Motor Vehicles, Including Pacific Stages, Vellow Cabs, Sightseeing Cars, Flat Rate Cars, Drive Yourself Cars and Baggage Transfer.” Consolidated Motors expanded eastwards into the corner building in 1929.
They had operated from the third building on the block, 1230 W Georgia, from 1912. Garage premises were initially built in 1911 by the Archibald Motor Co, designed by George Pigrum Bowie at a cost of $6,000. Archibald were founded by Albert William Cruise, originally from New Brunswick. He worked as an engineer in New York, in theatre in eastern Canada, and then in real estate in Vancouver from 1907. He acquired property and fam land, and retired as the 1912 crash hit. That year Archibald was renamed Consolidated, with Mr. Cruise as president, retaining the Archibald name for a related garage business and the Western Tire Company for tires and parts. He hired Doctor, Stewart & Davie to build the property shown in the picture in 1912, built by R McLean & Co at a cost of $30,000. In 1920, when the Vancouver Motor Dealers’ Association had their banquet, under the headline ‘Who’s Who of Vancouver Motordom’ Consolidated Motors were identified as a Packard and Maxwell dealership.
In this 1936 image a 1935 Packard 120 Club Sedan is parked at the curb. This was the company’s first year of a lower priced line; the modern looking car probably kept the company afloat during the Great Depression when demand for their more luxurious cars declined. Its style contrasts with the classic proportions of the 1933 or 1934 coupe in front of it. Although the Hupmobile name is still on the façade, the company only sold Packards. Until 1942 Consolidated Motors were still going strong here: A W Cruise was still in charge, and as well as Packards, the dealership was selling Pontiacs. They moved up the street to the 1000 block in 1943. Willys vehicles were later sold from the corner of Burrard and W Georgia; we’ll look later at what happened to these buildings.
Today this is the location of the Residences on Georgia, a James Cheng designed pair of residential towers, completed in 1998, as well as the heavily restored ‘Abbott House’.
Image sources: City of Vancouver Archives CVA 99-3939 and CVA 99-4855.