Guy Bennett and his wife Anita have always been Buick people. Bennett’s father and uncle opened up an automotive repair shop in 1919 and then became a Buick dealership in 1922. In additional to selling Buicks, Bennett also restores and collects them.
Below is the article as it appeared on The Evening Tribune website.
A True Blue Buick ‘Guy’
By Justin Head
The Evening Tribune
Wed Mar 03, 2010, 11:50 AM EST
Wayland, NY – Can anyone who knows Guy Bennett imagine him in anything other than a Buick?
The 80-year-old Wayland man is a walking encyclopedia of automobile knowledge. One reason is he owns and operates Bennett’s Buick-Chevrolet, a landmark for the Village of Wayland since Bennett’s father, Guy B. Bennett, Sr., and his uncle, Homer W. Bennett, started the business in 1919. Perhaps the longest continuously operating Buick dealership of its kind in Steuben County and even New York, the family business was built on hard work to get to a solid reputation today.
“My dad was a Buick car dealer for 77 years. That’s hard to beat. He lived to be 103 and came to work every day until the final year or so when he died. And he was a Buick dealer when he died,” said Bennett.
Cars are Bennett’s life.
“I was born into it,” said Bennett. “My dad went through World War I and after he finished his brother and he started Bennett Brothers.”
Originally a repair shop, the brothers attained a Buick franchise in 1922 after making a fair wage selling Samson tractors. The rest is history, a long history.
In 1921, when cars were sold at a packaged $999 price that included delivery, a building was constructed to upgrade the service center into a sales shop and for the next several decades the family polished the business into a hub for automobile buyers.
“You can’t even put a number on the amount of cars that have come out of here,” said Bennett, who grew up learning the ins and outs of the industry.
In 1936, Bennett’s love of cars deepened with his father’s gift of a 1936 four-door Buick Century.
“I was going to the University of Rochester then and my Dad wouldn’t let me keep a car up there for the first year, not even until my senior year” he said. “I used to hate that because I was going with a fine girl, you’ll meet her, she’s my wife, Anita Bennett.”
Bennett is a “car connoisseur” and there’s few questions he can’t answer or find an answer for thanks to his years of experience.
Since the 1940s he has been embedded in the auto industry, finding a niche restoring classic cars. Bennett has a large collection of classics. A prized favorite is a Royal Maroon 1941 Buick Estate wagon, of which only 850 were produced.
“The survival rate isn’t high for these because you went into World War I with them and the wood made them quick to deteriorate,” said Bennett. “When I was growing up there was no other car but a Buick and I sincerely mean that. Everything from the factory on down the line, everything was a Buick and that was the way we were taught.”
Buicks are a large part of Bennett’s livelihood, hobby and life. He claims they may have sparked his marriage.
“My 1910 Pullman came from Anita’s family … “They all say that’s what I married her for, to get that car and I tell them if that’s true I’m still paying fot it,” said Bennett, while looking fondly at his wife.
The 1910 Pullman is completely restored and is a shiny spectacle on display at the the Northeast Classic Car Museum in Norwich.
Bennett has three classic cars and two family motorcycles, including a 1908 Buick Model 10, on loan and showcased at the Glenn H. Curtiss Museum in Hammondsport.
He started collecting in 1956 with the 1910 Pullman and is still active today. According to Bennett, he was one of nine charter members to start the Finger Lakes chapter of the Buick Club of America.
“It’s really interesting how we’ve gotten our hands on a piece of junk and turned it into a work of art,” he said.
The automotive industry has transformed for the worse over the years, according to Bennett.
“It’s harder and harder for the little guy. I’m not so sure it’s easier for the big guy now too. Several of them have folded recently,” said Bennett.
Bennett’s Buick-Chevrolet employs nine people and stocks between 30-35 cars on its lot.
Bennett’s sons, Guy Brooks and James, help operate the dealership and will carry on its tradition. Bennett has no plans on retiring.
“I’m not going anywhere until the good Lord tells me,” remarked Bennett with a chuckle.
To view additional photos of Bennett’s collection, go to The Evening Tribune website at http://www.eveningtribune.com/news/x1759784328/A-true-blue-Buick-Guy.