The year was 1921, and the automobile industry, though in its infancy, was growing rapidly. A discontent Los Angeles insurance salesman, Frank O'Rielly, decided he would rather live in Tucson than Phoenix, and that this growing industry offered a lot of opportunity. He moved to Tucson, joined Babbitt Brothers, a Buick and Cadillac dealership. Within 3 years, Mr. O'Rielly had acquired a wide experience in the many complex areas of the automobile business.
Convinced he could manage his own car dealership, Mr. O'Rielly formed O'Rielly Motor Company and set out to become a Studebaker dealer. However, the Studebaker franchise was not available in Tucson, but the Chevrolet franchise was.
On March 24, 1924, O'Rielly Motor Company opened its doors at 55 North Sixth Avenue as Tucson's first Chevrolet dealer. According to a Tucson Daily Citizen headline of the day, "the new car company occupied one of the most modern plants in the southwest." From the very beginning, Mr. O'Rielly was very determined to provide Tucson area drivers with nothing but the best in sales and service. The sales staff of five, helped customers select the car that soon became the number one selling automobile of its time. With black finishes, they were all equipped with the same engines, transmissions and wheels. These early Chevrolets made quite an impressive showing!
For O'Rielly Motor Company, complete service after the sale was even more important than making the sale. When new mechanical developments demanded advanced shop equipment, the company kept pace and was one of the first to acquire the new equipment in order to keep repairs efficient and affordable.
In 1929, O'Rielly Motor Company undertook its first major relocation when it moved to a brand new facility at 415 N... 6th Avenue. And although Mr. O'Rielly had great confidence in his young but successful business, the building was designed to serve as a bowling alley, in the event it failed as a car dealership. Fortunately it was never necessary to make this change, and in 1965 the company sold the property and made its third move.
|Over the years, the O'Rielly organization has established a solid reputation as an integral part of Tucson's business community. And, as more and more Tucsonans turned to O'Rielly for their driving needs, the organization expanded its facilities to meet increased demands. It acquired property at Euclid and 13th Streets for a parts warehouse and new car make-ready facility in 1950. O'Rielly opened its first satellite used car dealership in Drachman and Stone in 1951. In 1953, acres were acquired at the southeast corner of 22nd and Park Avenue for a new truck center. These facilities were gradually expanded and the parts warehouse and new car make-ready facility were relocated to Euclid Avenue. In the early 1960's, O'Rielly began acquiring property in the 6100 block of East Broadway, which at that time was considered "out in the country"! In fact, Broadway was just a two-lane paved road east of Swan.|
In 1965, Chevrolet felt that the Tucson market had grown large enough for two dealers and a second dealer was appointed. O'Rielly leased its old facilities at 415 N. 6th Avenue to the new dealer and moved its entire operation to the Park and 22nd street facilities, its third move, while it began designing and building its new "state of the art dealership" at 6100 East Broadway. This facility was completed in 1966, and O'Rielly relocated its entire operation to that location, its fourth move, with the exception of the satellite used car facility at 3313 E. Speedway. The new Broadway dealership had many unique features, including one acre of rooftop parking and a new diagnostic center. By the time the new dealership was completed in March 1966, the Park Mall development had begun and Sears had opened the previous fall.
As O'Rielly was expanding its facilities, it also expanded its management. In 1958, Frank O'Rielly's son, Richard B. "Buck", was named Vice President and General Manager of O'Rielly Motor Company. Buck had long been part of the automobile business. During his junior high school days, he began working as a parts runner, and moved to the service department when he was old enough to drive a car.
In the spring of 1998, O'Rielly Chevrolet opened a satellite location for commercial specialty vehicle customers.
O'Rielly Motor Company and all of its subsidiary companies are an important asset to the Tucson and Southern Arizona communities.
Aveo | Cobalt | Impala | Avalanche | Colorado | Silverado | Equinox | Suburban | Tahoe | Malibu | Monte Carlo | HHR | SSR
Contact Us | Welcome | History | Departments | Sales Staff | Service Staff | Hours-Directions | Employment | Facebook | Twitter | Support | Lowest Gas | Privacy