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Joe Donham Willys Dealership near Oakland, Ca

• CATEGORIES: Features, Old Images • TAGS: This site contains affiliate links for which I may be compensated.

UPDATE: Blaine spotted a post that provides more background on the Joe Donham and a pic of how it looked as of 2006.


According to the website post,

Joseph B. Donham (1895–1982), who followed Warren at this location, was general sales manager for the Val Strough organization in the 1930s before striking out on his own. After running a used car dealership in Oakland, he opened an authorized Willys dealership at 2747 San Pablo Avenue, being the first tenant to lease the new showroom. Donham’s Willys dealership operated here from 1953 through 1956. After the car maker ceased production, Donham switched to selling used cars at this location and ran the Dalton & Norton Chrysler dealership in San Leandro. According to his son, Joseph Donham, Jr., Donham owned several East Bay used car dealerships while working as general manager of S&C Ford in San Francisco.


Originally published in Feb of 2012:  This image shows a Willys Dealership in the East Bay area near Oakland, Ca.  Donham’s Willys dealership operated from 1953 through 1956.


5 Comments on “Joe Donham Willys Dealership near Oakland, Ca

  1. Allan J. Knepper

    Very, very interesting read of the original Berkeley article. Bottom line……the architecturally significant historic building is being torn down and replaced with a condo project under a California sanctioned “green” initiative ???

  2. Barney Goodwin

    Barb wire AND razor wire fence, and a check point to boot! Either says something of the neighborhood or what they’re doing there now.

  3. Dan B.

    Re: the concertina wire – These pot dispensaries became legal several years ago once they got a few things like zoning worked out. However, banks could not legally serve them as customers. This meant a legal business had no legal was to handle cash… making them a prime target for robbery.

    While tearing down a historic business makes me sad (I’m really into old houses and buildings), the Bay Area has a dire shortage of housing, largely due to the huge number of ways housing can be slowed or prohibited. There are a ton of articles on it on both sides of the issue. This one IMO is one of the best:

    Mandatory Willys content: hopefully my three young interns can take advantage of the shelter-in-place and help me figure out how to get the cable for the parking brake to no longer rub on the muffler of my 1964 Willys Wagon.

  4. anonymous vermin

    my 1953 willys aero-falcon came from joe donhams lot — OK , I LIED , it was sold in Raleigh Durham , north Carolina , it still has the original window sticker on the side window showing all the prices and options – the aero-airplane hood ornament on the hood was an option , as was the overdrive and the heater – L-161 LIGHTNING ENGINE was no cost standard ..

  5. David Eilers

    Dan, I’m sure your ‘interns’ are a BIG help in the garage 😉

    Dan’s correct about the issue with dispensaries and cash. It really is unfortunate that something hasn’t been worked out about that. It’s a cash only business and business has been very very good, which means these places have to protect themselves from robbery. What I have personally found so fascinating about dispensaries is that it’s like being at a DMV: the mix of young, old, athletic, chronic pain suffers, stoner-looking folks and clean cut customers. It is very much a cross section of our population. For Ann, it’s been a godsend; it’s meant she’s been able to reduce her narcotic intake to almost nil. And, the pot actually manages some aspects of her pain that the narcotic’s don’t, while the narcotics make her feel terrible and foggy as they wear down, the pot dissipates smoothly, leaving her much more refreshed. While the VA docs aren’t allowed to prescribe it, they do suggest it with sort of a wink and a nod.

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