Speck Motors, Inc. was founded in 1912. Clayton Speck and his
brother-in-law moved their families from Illinois to Sunnyside,
Washington in the early 1900's. Clayton's first business endeavor was
operating a cafe. He also did painting. In 1912, Clayton and his
brother-in-law founded the Speck-Rowland Garage with Buick as the car
franchise. The Chevrolet division was added in 1917. In 1920 Clayton bought out his brother-in-law. During the early years, it was not uncommon for customers to trade items such as guns or rings as down payments on cars. Old financial statements list cows, diamond rings, and other items among dealership assets.
new dealership facility was built on the corner of Sixth and Franklin
during the height of the Great Depression. With the economy being what
it was, many skeptics thought Clayton had a made a huge mistake. During
World War II, Speck's service facility was converted to a machine shop
manufacturing parts for the Military. Not until late 1945 and early
1946 were they able to get new cars again and those were sold on a
lottery basis to their customers.
passed away in 1952. He was remembered for his generosity over the
years to employees, customers and even people he did not know. Click here to view an article on Clayton and C. Speck Motors.
Clayton's grandson, James C. Speck, received a letter in the early 1980's
from an elderly woman who was living in the Seattle area. She wanted
the Speck family to know that Clayton Speck had for many years been a
huge financial supporter of an orphanage she managed. No one in the
family ever know of his involvement before the letter. There are
countless stories of the great character of Clayton Speck.
James R. Speck became the Dealer Principal of C. Speck Motors,
Inc. He was attending the University of Washington after serving in the
U. S. Army when his fathers health was not doing well. He returned to
run the family business and guided the business from the early 1950's
until his retirement in 1975. In those days, distributors located in
Seattle and Portland
wholesaled Buick's and Chevrolet's to the dealers. Most vehicles had to
be driven to Sunnyside for retail. It wasn't until the early 1950's
that railcars were used to ship the vehicles to the city. However, it
was the responsibility of the dealership employees to unload the cars at
the rail sidings. James
R. Speck was President of the Washington State Auto Dealers Association
in 1966. He was a big supporter of youth activities in the town such as
American Legion baseball, little league baseball and the school
Patrol. When the City of Sunnyside wanted to purchase a Jaws of Life
for the Fire Department he lead the fundraising to acquire the equipment
plus donated a vehicle to use with the Jaws. He was a very giving and
community minded individual with a big heart for those who were less
employee that became a fixture of the Sunnyside community was Charley Barber. Charley was in charge of the gas pumps in the front of the
dealership and was
known by every child in town who walked by on their way to school.
Speck Motors had the greatest ambassador in Mr. Barber. He worked for
three generations of the Speck family.
Barber was born in Rockhill S.C. on April 5th 1908. Charley was
"drifting" when he arrived in Sunnyside in 1934. He had traveled from
the East Coast, working in Pittsburg, Philadelphia, Washington D.C. and a
several other places. Charley worked as a waiter, fry cook, bellhop,
bus boy and in his own words "anything he could find to do, that paid a
wage".Charley was hired by Clayton Speck at C Speck Motors in 1948.
Charley worked for Clayton, Jim and JC becoming part of the "Speck
Family" thru 3 generations. While employed at C Speck Motors Charley
pumped gas, ran parts, kept the dealership looking nice and neat and a
dozen other things! Charley and his wife Betty raised 2 daughters in
Sunnyside and he said "it's been a good life". Charley was very helpful
with the upcoming 4th generation Speck family. He assisted with the
chauffeuring of the current owner Katy Speck Moore by helping her mother
with transportation to Katy's pre-school.
In 1975, James C. Speck became the third generation to own C. Speck Motors, Inc. Two years later, his father, James R., passed away. He was selected to serve on the
General Motors "Dealers Advisory Board" in 1985. The Nissan Franchise
was added in 1985 and a separate showroom was built at the south end of
the Sixth and Franklin location. During the late 70's and 80's business flourished and plans were made for a larger facility.
"Katy" Speck, daughter of James C. Speck, joined her father in the auto
business in 1994. She married John Paul "JP" Moore. Katy
Moore became Dealer Principal of C. Speck Motors, Inc. in 1998, making
her the fourth generation of Speck's in the auto business.
Katy's direction, the dealership moved its 6th and Franklin downtown
location to a 60,000 square foot facility with 18 acres of property by
I-82. The facility is one of the largest and most modern in the area.
In 1998, JP and Katy Moore purchased Lightfoot's Dodge Chrysler Plymouth
Jeep in Walla Walla and renamed it Moore Dodge Chrysler Plymouth Jeep.
In 2002, the Moore's chose to sell the dealership in Walla Walla to
that same time period in 2002, the Moore's were offered a piece of
property off 395 in Pasco, which was operating as a Budget used car
store. For approximately one year, the Moore's operated it as a
pre-owned car dealership. In 2003, they added the Hyundai franchise.
Speck Hyundai of Tri-Cities has established itself as a Premier Hyundai
dealership in the Western Region.
The most current acquisition was in June of 2008 when Jeff Hall chose to continue the tradition of his family owned business by selling his Chevrolet-Buick dealership to the Moore's. The history of the Hall family is similar to the Speck family. In 1961, Wally and Wilfred Hall formed Hall Chevrolet-Buick in Prosser. In the early 1980's Jeff and Joe Hall, sons of Wally Hall, were introduced into the family business. When Wally Hall retired in 1997, Jeff Hall purchased the dealership. During Jeff's leadership of the family business, Hall Chevrolet-Buick has won many achievements and awards including 1983 Washington State Dealer of the Year and the 1998 and 1999 Chevrolet Genuine Leader Award.
Today Hall Chevrolet-Buick in Prosser is proud
to say it is still family owned. Katy and JP Moore chose to keep the
Hall name as the employees are what define a dealership. Maintaining
superior customer service and a familiar small town feel were strong
factors in their decision.