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VIGNETTE > Automobile Dealers

Prior to 1908 most automobiles were large touring cars that cost thousands of dollars.  They were often called toys for the rich. In 1908, the Ford Model T became available at a much lower price. In 1912, the following ad appeared in the Mill Valley Record: “Levy and Schaad of San Rafael has taken the Marin County agency for Ford — the universal car — and will come to Mill Valley and give you a demonstration any time you elect.”

By 1918, half of all the cars in the US were Ford model T’s. In Mill Valley, during the decade 1910-1920, automobiles steadily replaced horse-drawn transport. Automobile ownership boomed in the 1920s. The Eveready Garage & Electric opened in a new building on the corner of Blithedale and Throckmorton. It was a dealer for Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet and GMC trucks. By 1923, C. W. Strong’s Mill Valley Ford Garage on Miller Ave. offered a Model T Runabout at $263 and a four-door sedan at $685. By 1925, Smith and Shean had opened a Studebaker dealership on Throckmorton. Thus Mill Valley dealers served a broad market. Ford was the lowest cost, then with increasing cost, Chevrolet, Studebaker, Buick and Cadillac.

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