Those were the daze…
Regarding Tracy Thomas story yesterday about Chevy dealer Don Kahan opening a second area electric car operation at 79th and Metcalf…
If it seems a strecth that an established area auto dealer would convert a hot tub shop into an car dealership, think again.
"That was the original Shortman Dodge dealership," says Phil Brown of Olathe’s Bud Brown Volkswagen (formerly of Bud Brown Chrysler). "And where O’Neill Honda is now, Shortman had a used car lot. Then sometime in the late 1970s, Chrysler convinced him to build a new building. And that’s how the Dodge dealership at 435 and metcalf came into being."
By the way, word is the construction going down at the long empty Dodge dealership off 435 will give birth to the location’s first non-car biz..
But back to Kahan’s coming-in-March electric car dealership in downtown Overland Park…
Not only was it a Dodge dealership in the ’60s and ’70s, "Across the street was Marty Dubois, The Singing Rambler Dealer," Brown says. "He sang all the jingles on his commercials. And he later became Overland Park’s first Datsun dealer."
Brown should know. His father operated Bud Brown Chrysler for the better part of its 60 years in biz before its closing two years ago at 91st and Metcalf.
"It’s kind of amazing the transition that’s taken place," Brown says of the now-vacant Bud Brown building and lot. "That was a growing area where we were on Metcalf and while it’s not really blighted, it seems to be on the downhill slide now with more and more businesses closing."