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Darby Everest Cadillac Service Department Oklahoma City

This set of publicity images of the Darby Everest Cadillac Service Department located at 400 N. Walker Street in Oklahoma City, OK date to April of 1955. It has been reported that Emmett A. Darby and Harvey P. Everest had just taken over Greenlease-Moore Cadillac after one of the owners, Robert Moore committed suicide by shooting himself in a bathroom at the dealership in August of 1954.

Between 1966 to ’70 the operation was named Darby Cadillac and later it became Bob Moore Cadillac in 1970 which is still in business today in another location. You can view other photos of Darby Everest Cadillac here.

Share with us what you find of interest in this image courtesy of the Oklahoma Historical Society.

27 responses to “Darby Everest Cadillac Service Department Oklahoma City

  1. Interesting detail about Robert Moore committing suicide at the dealership in `54.

    Mr. Greenlease, who owned a number of Cadillac franchises and was a factory distributor had a 6 yr old son (by marriage) named Bobby that had been kidnapped for a $650K ransom in `53. Unfortunately the kidnappers killed Bobby before even making the ransom demand, but played it out as if he were still alive. Add to this, when the 2 kidnappers (a pair of drunks, really) were caught by cops later, not all the ransom money was turned in to authorities, leading them to speculate that 2 cops took part of the money for themselves. However, in court it could not be proven they did it. So alot of tragedy surrounded this Cadillac business in those years.

      • My question exactly, If I follow the timeline, Robert Moore can’t be the one the dealership with renamed after in the 70s. Seems in poor taste to name a dealership after someone who committed suicide there.

        Do you know the rest of the story, David G?

    • I stumbled upon the history of Greenlease-Moore Cadillac in OKC while working on my first book, “GM’s Motorama: The Glamorous Show Cars of a Cultural Phenomenon,” after being presented with a photo of Robert Moore posing with a black 1953 Cadillac Le Mans that was displayed at the dealership in early November 1953. I learned about the kidnapping and murder of Bobby Greenlease and the suicide of Robert Moore at the dealership. Moore shot himself in the side with a shotgun he received as a gift the previous Christmas. He went into the bathroom by his office, closed the door, and pulled the trigger. He lingered after surgery for a couple of days before succumbing to the wounds. The fact he shot himself in the side led to some speculation that it might have been an accident. Who shoots them self in the side to commit suicide? Who takes a shotgun into a bathroom if they do not intend to use it, though? Very strange occurrence to say the least. A little more detail is on my dream car blog site. Just Google the phrase, “Two Cadillac Show Cars and Their Unlikely Fates” and it should be at the top of the list. The story is combined with a history of the first 1953 Le Mans show car, by the way. Incidentally, Robert Greenlease had ties to the Eisenhower family as I recall.

  2. I’m curious about what’s going on with the trunk of the darker car in the lead image. Is that just beading water? if so, I would have thought they’d have wiped it dry before taking the promotional shot. But it kind of looks like the owner backed through a chain-link fence.

    • I don’t think the car had been washed yet and it’s road dust on the trunk – the bottom of the driver’s door and the rear quarter panel look dirty as well. And despite Andy’s comment below, the picture seems to have less emphasis on cleanliness than I’d expect, between the oil splatters under the white car, the discolored tiles, and the tire tracks through gunk under the darker car. They moved all the easily portable stuff out of the picture, but they didn’t clean the floor.

  3. In the 3rd picture [2nd expandable photograph], in the background being jacked up, is a 1952 CADILLAC Series Sixty-Two Coupé De Ville.

  4. Those I-beams for the lifts are interesting. Also how clean the place is. These photos must have been taken the day after they moved in! No junk anywhere. No displays, toolboxes, etc.

    • A friend of mine was a mechanic in a Caddy dealership in Delaware. He told me how they employed guys to keep the place that clean. Said that it did not matter when you walked in, the shop always looked spotless. Those tile floors must have been a lot easier to clean than concrete. Side note: I worked in a small shop where the floors were terribly dirty. The boss wanted them clean. One mechanic said that a good scrubbing and then liberal application of battery acid would do the trick. Whew! Well, sure enough those floors were dazzling white the next day. Then the “oops!” Within a week, the air pipes under the concrete floor were eaten thru by the acid and had to be replaced.

  5. Greenlease? Hmm, pretty close, but that is pretty tragic. I only hope it was after hours. Suicide, believe it or not, was pretty common in the 50’s from hearing my parents talk. Look at the I beam lifts used to raise those tanks. That’s a lot of Caddy’s.

  6. I’d like to jump in and go for a test drive right now! My pick would be a ’54 or ’55 Coupe deVille, maybe something in light yellow with a black top.

  7. Wow, $650K in 1953 was a king’s ransom. How very sad for the Moore family. Thanks for the background on this.

    I notice in the third picture that these very long Cadillac’s barely fit into the allotted repair spots. And surprisingly, this Cadillac dealership is not nearly as attractive as the Oklahoma Chrysler dealership featured a few days ago. Interesting.

  8. The licence plate of the first car in the second picture (D 4043) looks to be different in colour from the others in the pictures and also has a different quantity of characters in it.

    It does look like it says “Oklahoma” as do the others, but doesn’t have the word “Visit” before it, I would guess it is an Oklahoma plate from a year earlier ? Perhaps someone familiar with the plates of that era could enlighten us.

    • Hi Alan, my guess would be a dealer plate. Dealer plates typically began with a D and may not have been the same color as the regular plates.

  9. Those little tail fins, the start of the silliest styling craze in the history of the automobile, were copied from the vertical stabilizers on the twin boom of the WWII Lockheed P-38 Lightning fighter plane.

  10. The kidnapping was before my time, so I did an internet search.
    The FBI website and the Kansas City Star both have informative pieces in the case.
    A small correction to Will Fox’s comment, it seems the boy was Greenleases’ only biological son, not stepson. Apparently, he was 65 when the boy was born.

    To show how things were different then, the crime occurred in late September, they were caught (and confessed) by mid October and were executed in mid December.

    • John–I stand corrected; thank you. I thought Mr. Greenlease married a lady who had the boy from another marriage.
      The timeline on the crime was interesting. I read where it was only 81 days total from the date of capture to the date in the gas chamber. I guess both kidnappers were side-by-side in matching chambers when executed. THAT was true justice then.

  11. I’m not sure I agree that the tailfin race was the silliest automotive styling craze. If so, a close second was the headlight-size race of the early Classic Era. By 1931, some of the upmarket marques (e.g., Cadillac; Rolls-Royce) sported headlights the size of pizzas — resulting in quite a bit of light diffusion. Tailfins, at least, caused no discernible functional impairments.

    • How much of those large lights were for show and how much was for illumination?
      Giving them the benefit of the doubt, the large size might have been necessary for rural night driving (not a lot of streetlights outside of cities).

      Packard and most American upmarket cars seemed to have extra driving lights instead of overly large headlamps.

  12. And, in the same vein the “Dagmars” that most people think were meant to represent women’s breasts were meant to represent the bullet-like propeller nose cones on the P-38. As the P-38 canopy would also be the source of the wrap-around windshield. Earl copied a lot from Lockheed.

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