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Showroom Automotive - Real Teamwork

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Originally Published: 3/1/2001

Success runs in the family for this father-son team from Canada

Larry Husson had an early love affair with cars.

"By the time I was 15, I'd owned 13 cars," he recalls. "I'd have parts for half the cars in my bedroom. I'd never even had a driver's license."

Today, Larry and his father, Leslie, operate Showroom Automotive, a Calgary collector car company that is now expanding operations into the United States.

Father and son have been working as a team for many years. Leslie has been a licensed mechanic in Canada since 1959. Larry was licensed in 1980, and in 1983 they acquired a Minute Tune Auto Centers franchise in Calgary.

The operation was highly successful - in 1987, they won the franchisee of the year award - but in 1990 they decided to sell it so they could become more involved with collector cars and also do more traveling.

"We still have a retail location in Calgary, and we'll be wholesaling in the United States," says Larry. They have consigned cars through Silver Auctions and Coronado Classics (based in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho) and also are building a warehouse in Spokane that will be partly occupied by another collector car retailer, Prestige Motors.

"We buy autos that we like ourselves," says Larry. "We primarily do North American cars." They typically have up to 40 cars in stock, at prices ranging from $5,000 to $40,000.

Because the U.S. dollar is worth substantially more than the Canadian dollar, exporting cars from Canada can be profitable, but the Hussons say there aren't many interesting collector cars remaining in their home country.

"We've found a lot of cars in Canada that came out of the States years ago," says Larry. "We've basically been returning a lot of them (to the U.S.) And we sell some U.S. cars in Canada, too.

Adds Larry: "I buy good honest cars and I want good honest money for them."

Both men say 1994 was a good year for the collector car market. "Our sales are going to be close to double, in terms of revenue and volume, compared to the previous year," says Larry. "The higher end cars are the ones that seem popular. Correct cars with matching numbers, restored cars… those are the ones that are really selling."

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Showroom Automotive
804 41 Avenue NE
Calgary, Alberta T2E 3R2
(403) 277-2803

120 N. Bessie
Spokane, WA 99212
(509) 926-3611

Leslie Husson, president
Larry Husson, vice president

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