Larry and Audrey Renton - with their daughters Kerry and Pam - opened their BMC Dealership in Manotick in the building on the corner right across from the double decker chip truck and beside the building on the corner that used to be McNeil Chevrolet-Olsmobile. The chip truck sits where Karl Polsterer's Fina gas station was - which created bad feelings initially as the Rentons had gas pumps sitting right in front of their building directly competing with Karl. They eventually shut the pumps down and bought their gas directly from Karl and relations improved dramatically. Larry's office was upstairs over the showroom and he rarely came down leaving the sales and daily operations to Audrey who had more than enough energy for both of them. Subsequently, Larry designed and had built a brand new facility that included a showroom, parts department, service department and cleanup bays across the street where the town houses are located now.
My family bought a brand new Mini Woody Wagon for $1345 in 1962 from Paul Cardinal Motor Sales on Wellington Street -located in an old movie theatre and one of several BMC Dealerships in Ottawa back then. My brother bought a new 1963 Mini from them as well for $1295 but waundered out to Manotick Motors one day and got nabbed by Audrey - announcing to us when he got home that he had bought a brand new 1963 MG Midget while he was there but admitting that he had no idea what colour it was - which was quite typical when dealing with Audrey as she did tend to speak quite quickly and often signing the papers lead to a much-needed peaceful calm!!
I bought her 1966 Mini Cooper 1275 S Demo for $2645 and that lead to another one in 1968. I was working selling office supplies at the time and went to work there Thursday evenings and Saturday mornings selling cars under Audrey's tutelage. Within about 2 months I was making more money doing that than I was working full time so I left and went to the branch at Gladstone Avenue called Long Island Motors - now the Avis Car Rental place.
Larry had designed a showroom building at the corner of Gladstone and Kent with the old building used as the parts department and workshop. The John Powell from Port Perry worked there as an apprentice and Dave Fancott who raced a Cooper S with Manotick Motors sponsorship - as did Ted Powell - was the Branch Manager. I have told the story before but I sold cars from there with no inventory and was beating the two salesmen at the newly opened Long Island Motors in the old Leland Love Studebaker Dealership on Richmond Road fairly quickly. I was moved down to that branch and was the sole sales person there for a couple of years selling 287 cars one year.
Larry's job during those times was to deliver the parts from the head office in Manotick to the branches which he did in a Land Rover - one of which he still has in his barn in Kars along with a few other treasures from that time.
Both Larry and Audrey were quality, honest and very hard working people who took a huge risk that paid off well for them. They ended up selling the business to four of their staff members who went on to open the Jaguar Dealership on Bank Street and then on Merivale Road where the old Harley store is now. A year ago, a few of us had a reunion that included Paul Turenne, Colin Hine, Jack Hastie, Rolly Larmour, Jim Pinhey, Rick Slinn and a few others. I worked there selling cars, went back as the service manager at Manotick and then back to Gladstone to do my apprenticeship. Lots of great memories of some pretty amazing times!!!