A.E. Anderson Nash Dealership
Created by: Brent Havekost
from Tom Anderson, grandson of A.E. Anderson.
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A. E. Anderson Auto Company, 105 South Main Street, Princeton, Illinois
Here is a time line:
1904 Sells first new Rambler
1958 Lost AMC Franchise & picks up Studebaker
1966(?) Lost Studebaker.
1974 Building and inventory are auctioned off. (Dworshacks attended)
A E Anderson immigrated from Sweden in the late 1890's. He purchased a farm north of Princeton Illinois. He had a mechanical ability and was always repairing farm equipment for local farmers. One day he woke up and looked out the window and the barnyard was full of peoples machinery that needed repair. So, with this taking up all his time needed for farming he decided to sell the farm and move to town and start a garage.
Also during this time he built his first car using a buggy chassis and a five horse power Run Easy engine. I have a photo of this car on main street which is dated August 1901. With his interest in cars growing he makes a decision to start selling them and sells his first new car while he was still on the farm, the car was a 1904 Rambler (I have the serial number plaque). He stays with Rambler, then Jeffery, then Nash, then Rambler, then AMC till 1958.
My grandfather had some really excellent months selling Nash cars. Nash even took out an add in several trade magazines using A E Anderson Auto Co. as an example of how profitable a dealership can be, even in a small town.
Supposedly he sold more Nash cars in one month one per capita than any dealership in the U S.
Charlie Nash himself would recognize my grandfather on site and always come up to him and talk when he saw him at the plant picking up cars. One time my Father (also named A E but commonly called Jr.) was with his father on a trip to Kenosha. They were invited into Mr Nash's office and Jr. got to sit on his lap and Mr. Nash gave him a piece of candy. During the late 40's A E Anderson started to retire, slowly and turn the dealership over to his oldest son, Albin who would run the business till it ended in 1974. Something happened during 1958 causing them to lose the franchise. It was almost a family scandal and it was never talked about. I finally got the answer from my Uncle before he passed away. He told me AMC was pressuring him to stock more cars and more inventory on parts, but he refused, saying the town could not support that volume. He called their bluff and he lost.
The one I forgot to tell you was that Nash lost records for some reason, fire etc. and could only go back to 1916 on the dealership. My grandfather did get a fancy clock from Nash in 1951 for his years of service. He has not happy that it did not go back to 04 and just had 1916 on the plaque. I wish I could remember more about it. There were grand stories of early eight cylinders running flat out and using about 5 gallons to run wide open for a 7 mile stretch. 95 mph in second and overdrive. Ambassadors (tubs) slowly out running Olds 88 V -8s but it would take a good 5 mile stretch flat out to do it. A 40 Nash Lafayette outrunning an Ambassador was another good story. Then my one uncle putting a six with overdrive in a Farmall tractor, he boasted he could harrow at 30mph. There were several Nash engines put into boats as well.
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