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Watkin Motors Ford’s Centennial Milestone: A Look at the History

Watkin Motors Ford's Centennial Milestone: A Look at the History

It won’t be long before Watkin Motors Ford is celebrating its centennial anniversary – 100 years in business, making it Canada’s oldest serving Ford dealership. In 1915 Joe Watkin founded Watkin Motors Ford, making 2015 a year worth celebrating!

This dealership has quite the history. From selling the much beloved 1915 Ford Model T touring car, to celebrating the arrival in 1925 when the first Ford touring car was driven coast to coast, and even being one of the first dealerships Canada to introduce the 1932 Ford – the first car with a V8 engine.

Watkin Motors Ford's Centennial Milestone: A Look at the History

Joe Watkin wanted to open a dealership that specialized in cars, trucks and tractors. It was just Joe and three sales consultants working together to run the dealership in the beginning, putting deals together and doing whatever they could to keep it afloat. In those days, you could deliver a farmer’s truck to him and drive back to the dealership with the trade-in model, with a cow in tow as down payment!

As ranching and fruit growing industries boomed throughout the Okanagan Valley, Watkin Motors Ford experienced a great influx in sales and service needs. The dealership ran under his successful leadership until his passing in the late 1950’s.

With an outstanding legacy behind them, Joe’s family ran the dealership in his honour. Sadly, they were unsuccessful without him. The Ford Motor Company of Canada stepped in, and in search of a new owner they found and asked Jack Blankley to step in.

Watkin Motors Ford's Centennial Milestone: A Look at the History

Jack had worked his way up in the industry since the age of 14, first at the Vernon Garage sweeping floors, pumping gas, repairing tires, or whatever was asked of him. Back then he was earning approximately $28 each day, with $7.50 going to his room and board. He continued to work his way through the ranks, gaining invaluable experience. After 30 years at Vernon Garage, he purchased Watkin Motors Ford in 1962.

Even under new ownership, Watkin Motors Ford has always been about family. So it’s no surprise that Jack’s son Bud and his brother Bruce, who would later become the dealer principal, eventually teamed up with Jack.

Watkin Motors Ford's Centennial Milestone: A Look at the History

It has been over 50 years since Jack Blankley purchased the dealership, and today it is ‘Bud,’ Blankley’s son (and Jack’s grandson), aka Ross Blankley serving as Watkin Motors’ Dealer Principal. He is proudly leading the way for the dealership to soar to new heights. Every year, Watkin Motors Ford holds an annual anniversary sale to celebrate with their Okanagan family, and as preparations for the 100th anniversary sale are underway you can expect great things to come.

Watkin Motors Ford – Taking Care of the Okanagan for Life

Ross Blankley
Watkin Motors Ford

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