It all began on May 5, 1969. Joe Machens moved from St. Louis to Columbia and purchased the Ford franchise from Tom Allton, who owned Allton Motor Company. The dealership was located downtown in the building that is now The Fieldhouse bar at 1107 East Broadway. With some imagination, you can picture the garage doors at both ends of the side facing Broadway along with the showroom glass in front of what is now an outdoor patio. The service doors can be spotted on the back side of the building. The body shop was on the other side of Walnut in what is now Central Missouri Computer.
The dealership moved to its present location at 1911 West Worley, in what was then considered to be the far west side of Columbia. Virtually none of the buildings in the area existed at that time. The building was considerably larger than the downtown location and much larger than it needed to be. There were no desks on the showroom, only display vehicles. The body shop was in the main building. The washbays were located in the service department.
To take advantage of the extra space in the building, the dealership expanded into the speedboat, trailer and motorhome business. Unfortunately, this expansion was followed by the oil embargo, which pushed most buyers into economy cars and out of large gas guzzlers–like speedboats, trailers and motorhomes. The recreational vehicles were dropped a year later.
The Body Shop building at 600 Bernadette was completed. The detail shop then moved into its present location. The showroom area of the new building has had a number of uses since 1977: storage of a classic Thunderbird collection, a Leasing Company, BMW sales, the Rental Department, the Import Center and now the Ford Truck Center.
The racquetball building at 900 Bernadette was completed. Originally a Spaulding Racquetball Club, it was later operated as The Body Shop Fitness Center and Club Woodrail. Even though the building was designed to be a free-standing structure without relying on the racquetball courts, no one could have guessed that the building would eventually be remodeled into another dealership.
As an attempt to gain additional sales during the energy crisis, the dealership began to sell mopeds and motor scooters. The need for economical transportation and the location in a college town seemed to be a good combination for mopeds and motor scooters. While they did sell reasonably well, after several months it became obvious that it was better to concentrate on cars and trucks instead of other types of vehicles.
The Isuzu truck line was added. Even with the introduction of the Ranger a few years later, Isuzu proved to be valuable for its trucks and sport-utilities.
Gary Drewing joined the company as partner and General Manager.
The BMW franchise was purchased from Carmichael Motors in Jefferson City and moved to the 600 Bernadette building.
Volkswagen, Audi and Porsche were purchased from Riddick Motors on Old Highway 63 in Columbia. These franchises joined BMW as Joe Machens Import Center. 1987 The main building on West Worley was expanded toward the street. The service entrance was enlarged to have two lanes of drive-in traffic. The customer lounge was moved from the cashier area.
Remodeling continued in the main building with the expansion of the bookkeeping office and cashier counter. Later in the year, the body shop was expanded to the east to make room for two new paint booths.
The Honda dealership was purchased from Lee Thornton Honda in Jefferson City. A few months later, the Toyota dealership was purchased from Legend Automotive Group on Vandiver in Columbia.
The racquetball building was remodeled and expanded to become the new facility for Joe Machens Toyota. The former Toyota building at 416 Vandiver became Machens Automotive, the used car reconditioning center.
Machens Automotive on Vandiver began selling used vehicles.
BMW and Isuzu were moved to the Toyota building, Volkswagen and Audi were dropped, and the 600 Bernadette building became the Ford Truck Center, providing needed additional space for display and storage.
A new storage lot for Ford inventory was added behind the Toyota building.
The Body Shop was expanded to nearly twice its size, allowing room for additional paint booths and repair stalls. Also in 1995, the used vehicle reconditioning department expanded to 1306 Creasy Springs.
The Ford building on West Worley, the Ford Truck Center on Bernadette and the Toyota-BMW-Isuzu building on Bernadette were remodeled to give a cleaner, more modern exterior appearance. The Honda dealership in Jefferson City was sold to give us an opportunity to focus on our larger dealerships in Columbia. On October 15, Joe Machens passed away after a long illness, leaving his partners Gary Drewing and son Dave Machens to continue the organization’s record of growth.
The Ford store underwent its largest expansion yet, substantially increasing the size of the service department and the administrative offices.
The Rental Department and the Ford store detailing department moved to a new location at 1908 West Worley, just across the street from the main showroom. This allowed the parts department to expand as well. At the Toyota store, the Isuzu franchise was dropped because of Isuzu’s declining sales nationwide.
Scion, a new brand from Toyota, was introduced at the Toyota store.
Rusty Drewing, Gary’s son, began working at the Ford store.
Gary Drewing became sole owner of the dealerships after buying Dave Machens’ half of the company.
The BMW franchise moves to an exclusive facility on I-70 Drive SW. The Lincoln and Mercury franchises are added to the Ford store.
Legend Automotive Group was purchased and renamed Joe Machens Automotive Group, offering new Mazda, Mercedes-Benz, Cadillac, and Pontiac vehicles. This brings the total number of new franchises to 10 for the Joe Machens Dealerships organization.
Joe Machens purchases Perry Nissan and forms Joe Machens Nissan. An additional 75 employees are added to the Joe Machens Dealerships family, taking the total number of employees over 550.
Joe Machens purchases Estes Motors and creates Joe Machens Hyundai. Also, the Estes Motors Body Shop and adjoining property are acquired. The creation of Joe Machens East Collision Center brings the total number of Joe Machens body shops to 3 including 81 bays for vehicle repair. Employee count of Joe Machens Dealerships reaches 613 full time employees, making it the 11th largest employer in Boone County. The Mitsubishi franchise was acquired and added to Joe Machens Automotive Group. The Pontiac franchise was discontinued by the manufacturer.
Joe Machens acquires the Volkswagen franchise and begins plans for the construction of Joe Machens Volkswagen to be located on Vandiver Drive next to the Hyundai store. Joe Machens Dealerships purchases Mike Kehoe Ford Lincoln, renaming it, Joe Machens Capital City Ford Lincoln, the first Joe Machens store to be located outside of Columbia, Missouri. Interestingly enough, Gary Drewing worked at the location back in the early 80’s when it was Capitol City Ford. The Mercury franchise was discontinued by the manufacturer.
Construction is completed, and Joe Machens Volkswagen of Columbia opens in November and brings the Volkswagen brand back to Mid-Missouri. The Fiat franchise was acquired and added to Joe Machens Automotive Group. The Cadillac franchise was sold.
Joe Machens Dealerships opens the new state of the art, Mercedes-Benz store, Joe Machens, located at 1710 I-70 Drive SW, Columbia, on January 1st, 2013. In February, 2013 Machens Auto Outlet was opened to sell wholesale priced vehicles to the public. In April, 2013 Fletcher Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram was purchased and opened as Joe Machens Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram. In October, 2013 the new Joe Machens Toyota Scion facility was opened making it the largest Toyota Scion dealership in the state of Missouri. The previous Toyota Scion facility became Joe Machens Pre-Owned Supercenter, the 4th location of the Joe Machens Ford Lincoln store. In November, 2013 the previous Albert Honda facility became Joe Machens Nissan Pre-Owned Center, the 2nd location of the Joe Machens Nissan store.