Lost Chevrolet dealership: LeMars, Iowa (or maybe Larchwood, Iowa?)
Daniel Strohl, Jan 22nd, 2009, Hemmings Motor News
Amazing what some people will throw out with the trash, isn’t it? Craig Hover of Parkville, Missouri, recently sent these photos from 1963 that he said his father rescued from the trash when Chevrolet closed its Omaha zone office in 1986. Craig’s father, Jim, was then the district manager for Chevrolet, and when he saw these photos, he knew his son would enjoy them. The first photo shows a fairly typical dealership interior, with the new 1963 Corvette up on a podium.
The next photo gets a little odd. That Corvette looks a little different in this pic. A little taller.
Aha: It’s a display stunt, which raises the body off the chassis. But how did this end up in a little dealership with obviously very little traffic?
Was it in between major auto shows and thus on loan to the dealership? Was it one of several displays that traveled around the country going to different dealerships?
And the big question: Where exactly was Grotewold Chevrolet? Craig’s detective work narrowed Grotewold to two different western Iowa towns: LeMars and Larchwood. It seems the Grotewold brothers grew up in Larchwood and had a dealership there, but other evidence, including the paperwork with a 1960 Corvette recently sold at auction and a random obituary, point to LeMars.
Of the two towns, it seems LeMars still has a couple Chevrolet dealerships, Motor Inn and Nuebel, the latter of which descended from Grotewold when Grotewold sold the dealership in the late 1960s.
Maybe the Grotewolds had dealerships in both towns. If so, then which one was this, which apparently was celebrating its grand opening in 1963? As long as the evidence quoted above is correct, we’re going to theorize that there were dealerships in both towns, that the one in LeMars opened first, sometime before 1960, and the one in Larchwood opened in 1963. Anybody from western Iowa care to chime in?