Butler-Conti Dodge

Mopar General Discussions

  1. John Martin

    John Martin Well-Known Member

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    Any info out there on Butler-Conti Dodge? My 70 Dart Custom is from Lafayette, CA and has their plate frames. Was curious if anyone else out there has a car from the same dealer or if they have any history, information, etc.

    31D92362-75CB-4366-9457-0309AE095A61.jpeg

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    Last edited: Jan 12, 2020
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    • 1969reddart

      1969reddart or is it Bronze...

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      They were a very small dealership that has been out of business for quite a few years. I picked up a Mopar Performance catalog from them at some point. Sorry, that's all I got...
       
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      • John Martin

        John Martin Well-Known Member

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        I heard they were wiped out when the car companies got bailed out.
         
      • Alaskan_TA

        Alaskan_TA Well-Known Member

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        Gorgeous Dart!
         
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        • John Martin

          John Martin Well-Known Member

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          Thanks. It’s the second two-tone of mine. Just got it least week.
           
        • 1969reddart

          1969reddart or is it Bronze...

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          That sounds about right. My catalog is from 2005.
           
        • 1969reddart

          1969reddart or is it Bronze...

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          From Jalopyjournal - 2007:

          Butler-Conti Inc
          3434 Mt Diablo Blvd
          Lafayette, California, 94549
          Phone: 925-284-4491

          They are selling floor lifts, tools, etc. Remaining vehicles have already been sold to another dealer. I don't know what will be available regarding NOS parts. Sorry for the short notice, I just found out about it myself.

          This was a small, family owned dealership and had been in business since 1951. Very nice folks. My family and I had cars serviced there over the years and I remember buying parts for my 241 Hemi years ago.
          The owner suddenly died several months ago after minor surgery and the family decided to close the business.

          Auction Notice: Butler Conti Dodge Closes
           
        • John Martin

          John Martin Well-Known Member

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          I saw that.
           
        • 67Dart273

          67Dart273 FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

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          Bear in mind that was in 2007. A quick look at Google/ Bing maps reveals the address seems to be a body shop, so "long gone" I'd say
           
        • Ogre Backwash

          Ogre Backwash Well-Known Member

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          Hello John,

          I can probably answer all of your questions about Butler Conti Dodge. I live in Lafayette and authored that post in the Jalopy Journal. Butler Conti was family owned, not a corporate store. The Dealership operated under the Butler Conti name from about 1951. I am not sure what it was called before that. The location had been a car dealership dating back to around 1916 and may have always been Dodge dealer. My family had cars serviced there over the years and I remember buying parts in the mid 1970s for my 1953 Dodge hemi. I also bought parts in the late 1970s for my 1971 Plymouth Duster 340 and various other Darts and Dusters that I owned.
          They occupied a large piece of property and had a sprawling service facility in back. The showroom in front at the street in the original redbrick building was quite small. It was quite a squeeze for 3 or 4 cars. I remember in 1970 being 12 years old a riding my bicycle with friends to the dealership to look at the new Challengers. We walked in to the showroom and the sales manager threw us out. "No kids in the showroom."
          The used car department was next door and consisted of a large paved lot and a tiny one room office/shack. The street frontage was quite wide and this allowed for a good display of new cars and trucks. The property was quite deep and they had room to store a large inventory. For many years they also stored way in back many older Mopar vehicles, probably trade-ins that were too old or unsuited for the used car lot. I remember some 57-58 white Chryslers (300s? I couldn't verify at the time), various Imperials and more. The older stuff was mostly gone by the mid 1990s.
          Being family run Butler Conti was very nice to deal with, the sales manager from 1970 notwithstanding. They had a fine reputation and were good citizens who sponsored local kids teams, supported the schools, donated to good causes and paid the all important business taxes. When the owner died in 2007 the family decided to close the dealership. That's when I posted the auction notice. Unfortunately I had to work the day of the auction but I did later recover the red and white "Used Cars" sign which I still have. I also have a pair of the dealer plate frames.
          The property was divided and senior housing was built where the used car lot was. The main brick showroom and garage facility is now a body shop. I don't know how the shops out back have been repurposed.
          It's a funny coincidence that your car is a 1970. 1970 was the year my family moved here from New York. I wonder who the original owner was. My neighbors across the street bought two 1970 Dodge Swingers fromButler Conti.
          If you have any more questions let me know.

          Paul Gianakos
           
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          • RustyRatRod

            RustyRatRod Lemmie see your b00bs. FABO Gold Member

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            No kiddin! It sure is purdy!
             
          • John Martin

            John Martin Well-Known Member

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            That’s actually a really interesting story. I wish I had more documentation for the car, but all I have are the plate frames and two build sheets.

            As far as I know the car was bought by a married couple new in 1970. Elmer Frank Deig and his wife Janice Rose. They moved from San Francisco to Eugene, OR some time in the early 70’s since the car had a blue on yellow Oregon plate on it when I bought it.

            They drove the car as their daily driver for some time and they were put into a home. So Elmer passed on and they had an estate sale.

            The car ended up with its second owner a guy in Albany, OR who bought it for his family. However he only had it about 5 months because his wife hates the car. It is manual 9” drums, manual steering, heater only, no radio, and she could not stand it.

            I found it in November and gave him a deposit. In January I flew out from Chicago to Portland with my dad and we drove it 2200 miles back home.
             
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            • j par

              j par Well-hung Member

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              For a second there that name rang a bell here in Portland. But when I look it up it's totally different.. There is a Kuni dealership here LOL.. Sounds the same but obviously spelled quite different...
               
            • Bill Crowell

              Bill Crowell FABO Gold Member FABO Gold Member

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              I grew up in Concord, CA, and I went to Butler-Conti occasionally for parts. Ogre Backwash, can you remember the names of any of the other Dodge-Chrysler-Plymouth-DeSoto dealers in the East S.F. Bay area in the '50s and '60s? I remember a few: J.E. French in S.F. and Oakland (opened in 1922); Doten Dodge and Melrose Motors in Oakland; and J.C. Pierce in Concord (a notorious odometer whacker). I forget the name of the Chrysler dealer in Martinez. But when I was a hippie/student and a slacker, and wanted the most expert and economical repair to my '60 Valiant Suburban, I would take it to Muller-Gordon motors on Shattuck Ave. in Berkeley. After they repaired your car, the mechanic who did the work explained exactly what he did, and why it was necessary. Muller-Gordon was really into keeping old Chrysler products on the road, and they really prided themselves on doing everything exactly by the book. I wish dealers were still like that.

              Here's the Dodge Brothers dealership in Placerville, Ca (on the right hand side of the street) (where I live) in the early years:

              Dodge 2.jpg

              Although the caption says the picture was taken in 1913, that is impossible because the Dodge Bros. car was not first manufactured until 1914. Since the sign opposite the DB dealership is for an ice cream shop selling "Liberty Ice Cream", the picture must be from during WWI because they called everything "liberty' during that war.
               
              Last edited: Sep 26, 2020
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