The Riverside Auto Center consists of several dealerships and businesses but Dutton Motor Company has been there since the beginning (1965) and is a prime example of the many family owned businesses in the Auto Center.
Dutton Motor Company, a Cadillac-Buick-GMC dealer, located at 8201 Auto Drive, has been in Riverside since 1936 and is owned and operated by Charles W. Dutton, Jr. and family.
Dutton Motor Company was actually founded in Riverside in 1924 as Rubidoux Motor Company by the Howard Motor Company of Los Angeles. It was later sold to Fred Schweitzer who relocated the Cadillac-Oldsmobile-GMC Truck franchise from the base of Mt. Rubidoux to downtown Riverside.
It was not until 1936 that Charles W. Dutton, Sr. and his partner, Edgar L. McCoubrey, bought the dealership. Accourding to Charles Dutton, Edgar L. McCoubrey successfully ran the dealership during World War II while his father was an active Lt. Commander for the Navy. "Since no cars were being built at this time, the dealership had to start renting cars to keep its doors opened," said Charles Dutton. A division of the dealership actually became the Hertz franchise for Riverside County until the war was over; it was then sold back to Hertz.
After the war, Mr. Dutton, Sr. returned to take active management of Rubidoux Motor Company along with his partner, who then went to run the newly acquired sister dealership, Plaza Motors in Palm Springs. In 1986, Mr. McCoubrey sold his interest in the company to the Dutton family and in 1987 the name was changed to Dutton Motor Company.
Charles W. "Woody" Dutton, Sr. paved the way, so to speak, for Charles Dutton, Jr. who joined th company after graduating from the University of Calfornia at Berkeley in 1960. It was at this time that Dutton Sr. was active in developing the Riverside Auto Center along with several other Riverside dealers.
It was these seven dealers who undertook the acquisition of a 55-acre plot at Adams and Indiana in order to create the first auto retailing and service center. "I still remember those meetings," reflects Charles Dutton. "My dad and several other dealers were drawing numbers out of a hat to see where the different dealerships would be located within the center. I can still see that hat."
In the late 1970's, C.W. Dutton, Sr. passed away but certainly left an impression on his family and on the community.
Now acting as President of Dutton Motor Company, Charles Dutton remembers moving the dealership from downtown Riverside to the Riverside Auto Center in 1965, a move that proved to be successful to everyone concerned.
In January 2002 Dutton Motor Company strengthened its General Motors vehicle line by acquiring a Buick dealership franchise.
Charles' son, CW "Woody" Dutton, is now General Manager at Dutton Motor Company and is looking forward to transforming the company into a 3rd generation business.