An Entertaining & Informative Vintage Automobile Internet Magazine

LeFevre Motor Company: Studebaker, Edsel, and Dodge Dealer

There is little information to be found about the LeFevre Motor Company, which sold and serviced  Studebaker and Dodge cars and trucks at 312 3rd Ave. in Brookings, South Dakota. Other than this set of photos and the information with them, the only other details that came to light was that the Company also had Edsel agency probably in another location. The lead image containing a Studebaker Lark was taken in May of 1962 when LeFevre was a dealer for the automaker.

Please share with us any information that you can about the LeFevre Motor Company or find of interest in this set of images courtesy of the Digital Library of South Dakota.

  • This image dated to May of 1964 was taken after the Company changed over to selling Dodge cars and trucks. The 1962 Studebaker Hawk and Lark appear to be used cars for sale.

  • Dick Landy’s drag racing team sponsored by Dodge made an appearance at the dealership in May of 1969. Note the “Ride with the Scat Pack” logo in the showroom window that referred to the optional 440 Magnum engine equipped with three two-barrel carburetors. 

  • September of 1969 photo of the LeFevre used car lot located at 229 Front Street in Brookings.

31 responses to “LeFevre Motor Company: Studebaker, Edsel, and Dodge Dealer

  1. This kind of shows the progression of the American auto industry. 1st, Studebaker, Edsel, there’s a winning combination. Clearly Dodge saved the farm, then Dodge big-time, including the “Dodge Rebellion” years, and ultimately, the last photo, to bolster sagging sales, Honda added to the lineup. Bet there were a lot of muscle cars in that lot.

  2. Here in Hamilton Ontario, Studebakers were made.
    Even the Hamilton police used them.
    Later though the factory turned into an Otis elevator manufacturer.

  3. In the Lead Photo, apart from the ’62 Studebakers, I see a ’59 Plymouth and perhaps a ’55 or ’56 Ford or Mercury 2-door sedan.

    In Item 1 of 3, a ’55 Dodge Coronet, a ’64 Dart 270 or GT convertible and likely the same year’s hardtop in a GT

    In Item 2 of 3, a ’69 Cougar passing in the street on the right and just a wild guess, a mid-‘50s Cadillac on the left. To the right of the building could be a ’65 or ’66 Olds 88 coupe

    In Item 3 of 3, appears to be much of the ’69 Dodge lineup with a Plymouth Fury thrown in a bit to the left of the fire hydrant. In the distant extreme left in the photo could be a ’57 Chevy

  4. Main difference between 62 and 63 Larks was that Studebaker spent money it didn’t have to eliminate the wrap-around windshield. Although the wrap around is a bit hard to see in the angle at which the lead picture was taken, the car’s a 62 (and of course would have had to be if the photo was taken in May of 62). Although a new or nearly new car, the pan under the bumper is already dented (license plate doesn’t look so hot, either.

    The two year old Hawk in the first expandable picture is really clean.

    Next to last pic: quite a turnout for Dick Landy’s drag clinic for a small dealership in a small town.

  5. Prior to the Lark coming to market for 1959, Studebaker had recruited Big Three dealers to take a franchise to broaden their dealer coverage which had diminished over the years with their well-known troubles. Big Three dealers without a compact to sell for 1959 took the franchise to fill the gap but most quickly dropped it when the Corvair/Falcon/Valiant trio appeared. LeFevre apparently retained it as it gave them more variety of choice and the area may have had a cadre of loyal Studebaker owners to added to their customer base.

    • The Studebaker neon sign in the lead photo is from the 1940’s, so one might conclude LeFevre had sold that make since those years but took on Dodge as Studebaker began to fade. It was common for established dealers to switch or take on another make when the one they had been selling faltered. The Edsel was hyped as a golden opportunity, one that would look especially appealing to Studebaker dealers during later 1956 and all of 1957 when the continued viability of S-P as a carmaker was in question.

  6. The last photo has a group of 340 Dart Swingers. The dealer is welcoming back students, hopefully to get them into a Dodge . At the time Dick Landy would draw a crowd in every large or small town
    . Landy’s flat bed and trailer set up is so different from today’s drag racers. Great photos.

  7. Doc LeFevre was the owner by 1957 (the Digital Library of South Dakota has a picture of him from that year describing him as the owner). I suspect he owned it from the beginning, but I haven’t found sufficient evidence to back that.

    From 1941-49, it was a Nash dealership, per Brent Havekost’s list of Nash dealers. Until 1946 it was at 310 Fifth Street, according to George Norby’s compiled list of Brookings businesses collected in the Open PRAIRIE database.

    The LeFevres were from Lancaster, PA. Thaddeus moved to South Dakota in the 1880s and to Brookings in 1903. Willard McKinley “Doc” LeFevre was one of Thaddeus’ 11 children, born in 1901.

  8. That “Run With the Scat Pack” sign in the window reminded me of the bright orange with racing stripe scat pack racing jacket my dad got me 50 years ago when I was a kid . I was proud of that and wore it almost everywhere I rode my motorcycle.

    • Hi David, sorry, it was Scat Pack. The cars with the bumblebee stripes, was the motto. From ’68-’71 Dodge had a “Scat Pack” club, with jackets, decals and newsletters. It was the height of the muscle car era. It’s logo was that bumblebee with a helmet and glasses and big tires that I think is in the window.

  9. 1969 was a good time to get a Honda franchise, before they got real popular. if he kept it, they must still be in business today.

      • The N600 (600 Sedan in the US) was the only Honda imported at that time, and 1969 was the first year they were imported to the US. Neither the S800 nor the 1300 were imported to dealers.

  10. Between May 1964 and May 1969, they took on a Chrysler-Plymouth franchise along with Dodge. Honda joined as well, though its hard to believe they sold many of the tiny Civics in South Dakota then.

  11. The photo with Edsels is dated as 1957, however there is a 1959 Edsel in the showroom so it is definitely October 1958 or later.

    • Hi John, there’s a reason for that. Mercedes was gaining steam in the late 50’s and it was the inspiration for Brooks Stevens when he designed the front of the ’62 Studebaker. I read it was softened for ’63, and erased entirely in ’64.

    • It’s not as if putting that shape of a grille on the nose of a Studebaker was any kind of great leap forward…they’ been doing it since ‘56

      • 1956 happens to be the year Studebaker signed an agreement with MB to become its sole US distributor. The arrangement lasted until 1963.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *