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The 1920s

The 1920s Gallery Home Page

New Neighbors

City Scenes

Window Shopping


The Auto Dealership

Selling Cars

1925 dark red Flint touring car in exhibitShopping for a touring car? Want four doors? Do you need to transport up to seven passengers and their luggage?

Step right up and see this elegant 1925 touring car. Made by the Flint Motor Company, it cost almost $2,000 in 1925. Its engine was made by the Continental Motors Company of Muskegon. The Flint Motor Company was part of Durant Motors, founded by William C. Durant in 1921. Durant had also founded and organized the General Motors Company in 1908.

Exterior view of the 1920s auto dealership exhibitThe 1919 Michigan State Gazetteer and Business Directory listed 584 auto dealers. By 1925 that number had jumped to 1,475. Even small villages boasted one or two dealerships. They sold autos, auto parts and accessories. Dealers also changed oil, put air in tires and repaired bodies and engines.

To market their cars nationally, auto manufacturers began to create sophisticated print ads and slogans. Early auto advertisements touted the cars' mechanical features. Advertising during the 1920s focused on comfort, luxury, dependability and power. Increasingly, the ads featured women.

Filling Your Tank

Red gas pump from the 1920s and sign that advertises gasoline for 23 cents per gallonMotorists began pumping gasoline from pumps on street curbs around 1910. Attached to underground storage tanks, these pumps replaced the barrels or small tanks often found behind a store or in a yard. Curbside gasoline pumps began giving way to drive-up gas stations during the 1920s.

Making Auto Parts

Auto parts companies provided tires, car bodies, spark plugs, canvas covers, transmissions, automotive lamps and more to the booming auto industry.

Some of these companies began in Michigan; others moved from different states to be near successful car companies. Together they made Michigan the center of auto parts manufacturing.

The Continental Motor Manufacturing Company of Chicago moved its engine-making concern to Muskegon in 1905. Weston-Mott, manufacturer of wheels and axles, moved to Flint from Utica, New York, in 1907.  

Some of the larger auto parts suppliers established by 1920 included Hayes Manufacturing, Fisher Body and Kelsey Wheel.

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