By: Jennifer Rodriguez

 

The Hot Rod Super Nationals are just around the corner. For all car enthusiasts, myself included, the SuperNats is a time to kick back and enjoy one of the finer things in life – beautiful cars.

When I was younger, I remember always seeing my dad under the hood of his 1988 Monte Carlo.

I never knew what he was fixing or if he was fixing anything at all. My dad always found a reason to be outside under the hood of some car.

My first memory of this is when I was no older than 12. I was a young girl, curious about how everything around me worked.

I had no idea what I was looking at. To me it all looked the same.

Since Youngstown isn’t particularly huge on it’s “car scene.” I was definitely interested when I found out the roots of some of our major car dealerships.

In 1955, Arthur J. Sweeney opened the State Chevrolet on Wick Avenue in Youngstown. Around that time, the North Side was known for its car dealers.

Barrett Cadillac, Kroehle Lincoln Mercury, Stackhouse Olds, Strausbaugh Dodge and Youngstown Buick joined State Chevrolet to create what was referred to as the “Wick Six District.”

In 1960, Stackhouse Olds relocated to Youngstown and made a name for itself by becoming a well known performance car dealership.

Six years later, the company ordered 100 Oldsmobile 442’s – race cars – at once.

The name came from it having a 4-barrel carb, 4-speed transmission and 2, or dual, exhaust. This type of vehicle was a big deal.

With a 310 horsepower, 355 pound per foot of torque and L69 engine option, this vehicle being distributed in Youngstown made headlines.

Police even had to escort the 20 truckloads of 442s being brought into the dealership.

It was said after the 442’s came in, Motors Lincoln Mercury, which was located right across the street from Stackhouse Olds, copied the stunt and ordered 100 Cyclone GTs at once.

Eventually the six dealerships moved on to other areas.

Now Boardman, Austintown and Canfield are homes to most of our major car dealers, who were either bought out or reopened under a new name.

The history that lies behind those modern dealerships, the history that started in Youngstown, makes me proud.

Now the next time I head over to the Super Nats or Quaker Steak and Lube on car night, I’ll know that the spirit of those old school muscle cars  – the ones with stock wheels and interior, original motor and mint condition paint – was born right over on Wick Six.