Tag Archives: Small Car Company

New Senior Housing Proposed For Post Road West

The Residence at Westport — our first assisted living community — opened last summer, opposite Greens Farms Elementary School.

A second one is planned for the opposite side of town.

Maplewood Senior Living has proposed a 3-story facility for the former Dragone Classic Motorworks site, diagonally across from Kings Highway Elementary.

Site plan for the proposed assisted living facility. Post Road East is on the right; Kings Highway North and Ludlow Street are on the left.

The property has a long history with automobiles. It was for many years the home of the Small Car Company — for a while, the most successful Volkswagen dealer in the US. In 2018 it was rezoned to allow an electric car dealership (rumored to be Tesla).

The current tenant is Carvana, a used car dealer that sells entirely online. Nearby buildings include retail and residences, with 8 apartments.

The former Dragone property, and its neighbor, on Post Road West.

Maplewood’s corporate headquarters are on Gorham Island, off Parker Harding Plaza. They operate 15 senior living communities in 5 states. Other Connecticut locations include Southport, East Norwalk, Newtown, Darien, Bethel, Danbury and Orange.

Plans call 95 units: 49 for assisted living, 46 for memory and full care. Two of the assisted living units will be designated as affordable. The facility will be called Maplewood at Westport.

Artists’ rendering of Maplewood at Westport.

Because part of the property lies within the Kings Highway North Local Historic District, Maplewood and Landtech — the Saugatuck-based engineering and environmental firm — have worked with neighbors, and Westport’s Historic District Commission, since June.

Two “historic residences” — over 50 years old — will be preserved.

One house at 174 Post Road West will be relocated to 38 Kings Highway North.

The existing home at 38 Kings Highway North, with a rendering of the home that will be relocated from 174 Post Road West.

Another, at #172, will be moved slightly, and designated as affordable.

The new location of the house at 172 Post Road West.

Maplewood’s building will be tucked into the hill. Only the roof will be visible from Kings Highway. Landscaping and vegetation will be added to the site, and on some private property.

All contaminated soil — the legacy of decades as a car dealership — will be removed.

The proposal goes before the Flood & Erosion Control Board in March, with the Conservation Commission to follow. The target date for opening is late summer or early fall of 2022.

Small Car Company Leaves Big Legacy

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.

VWBut 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.

(For more information, email info@smallcarcompany.org)

Small Car company