Founded in 1980 by Frank and Elaine Wrenick
|Wigwam Jones is a very successful County
Music song writer who likes to dabble in photography. As luck
would have it, in his adventures he stumbled upon Collier Motors in
North Carolina and shot some great pictures of "the last AMC
Dealership." Reproduced here (with Wigwams permission), are those
pictures along with some entries from his blog, including a
few comments from the son of the man who owns and operates AMC's last
Wigwam also created a pretty cool Gremlin Tee Shirt from a shot at the dealership. To check out the shirt, click here.
The dictionary says that the definition of 'perseverance' is
Steady persistence in adhering to a course of action, a belief, or a purpose; steadfastness
While out driving around today looking for things to photograph, I saw this - the last AMC dealership in the world.
It is located on Highway 117 in Pikeville, North Carolina - halfway between Wilson and Goldsboro.
Some of you may not remember AMC. It stood for "American Motors Corporation" and it lasted from 1954 to 1987, when it was purchased by Chrysler. Chrysler basically gutted it and kept the Jeep, which AMC had purchased from Kaiser in 1970.
AMC made some great cars in my dad's day - namely, the Rambler. When I was a kid, AMC was known for making very strange cars that nearly nobody wanted. The Pacer, the Gremlin, and the ugly-squared Matador were examples.
Well, when AMC folded their tent, this dealer apparently decided not to go along with the program. Some searching on the web seems to reveal that you are viewing the mortal remains of Collier Motors, owned by one Robert Collier. His family had been involved with selling AMC automobiles since the early 1950's, and I guess he just decided to...um...keep on doing it.
Well, with new AMC vehicles being in short supply, Robert had to make do with what he had - existing inventory.
This is a strange place, folks. Photos cannot do justice to what you see when you look at this lot. It has a tall chain-link fence around it now, and the front lot has become completely overgrown with weeds - you can't see the tarmac anymore. The cars have rusted in place - new and used alike - even a few non-AMCs. At one time, there was a tarp over the fence as well, so you couldn't really see the cars, but that's gone now, so you can see the whole thing. Some cars still have stickers in the windows - some are marked with prices - but all appear to be completely non-functional - probably nothing much left of their internals. Perhaps there are some showroom cars inside the dealership that survive - hard to say.
Very "Omega Man" if you recall that movie.
Now frankly, I admire perseverence - I think it is a laudable trait in general. I even have some respect for old-fashioned pig-headed stubborness. But this...well, it goes a ways beyond mere stubborness.
When I was in high school in Golden, Colorado, I briefly dated a girl whose father had been a worker at Coors Brewery. The workers had gone out on strike for some reason, and they picketed for a long time. But eventually, the workers voted to decertify the union, the workers who didn't come back to work were fired, and that was that. But not this guy. Ten years later, he and a couple of other guys were still picketing. He felt certain that someday, if he just kept at it long enough, Coors would have to settle with him.
What do you do with guys like this? Perseverence doesn't even begin to describe them.
I'm thinking I need me a Gremlin X. I hear they're hot.
Beatin' that Dead Horse,
Wiggy posted by Wigwam Jones at 7/31/2005 09:37:00 PM