It’s not rent. It’s not lack of interest. The popular vintage auto dealer just needed more space.
A lot more space.
There was 11,000 square feet in the Westport showroom, and another 10,000 square feet in a Bridgeport restoration facility. Vice president George Dragone hauled himself — and Packards, DeSotos, Bugattis, T-Birds and more — back and forth, several times a day.
The Dragone showroom in Westport.
They’re consolidating everything in a 66,000-square foot building in Orange. That’s great news for them.
But not so great for their many loyal Westport customers.
“I hope they’ll continue coming to Orange,” Dragone says. “I still have a lot of connections to Westport. I was just at the Historical Society, in fact.
“But we needed a larger facility. We couldn’t show off our cars the way we wanted to.”
The site on Post Road West, across from Kings Highway Elementary School, has a storied automotive history. The Small Car Company — a Volkswagen dealer — moved in around 1959. Dragone took over from its successor, Saab of Westport.
There’s no word yet on who will move in there. Maybe a medical marijuana dispensary?
It was called the Small Car Company. But for several years in the late 1960s, the Westport dealership sold more Volkswagens than any other in the US.
The Small Car Company was a Post Road West landmark from the ’60s through the early ’80s. We know it today as Dragone Classic Motorcars.
Dragone — kitty-corner from Kings Highway Elementary School — sells antiques like a 1924 Marmon, 1941 Graham and 1970 Mercedes.
But this Saturday (September 19, 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m.), it will be site of an informal, non-judged car show featuring classic Volkswagens, Porsches, Dune Buggies and other air-cooled vehicles. The free show is open to all car owners and air-cooled fans. If you’ve got memorabilia, bring it along.
The Small Car Company lives on — and not just this one Saturday. The show is sponsored by SmallCarCompany.org. For several years, this informal group of vintage VW and Porsche owners has gotten together to share their passion, trade information, and host driving rallies.
SmallCarCompany.org is the brainchild of Westporters Dave Abelow and Tom Truitt. They thank George and Manny Dragone for supporting the upcoming event — and honoring the dealership that, in its own way, once sold “classic” cars too.
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