Post and Courier
August 22, 2014

Lucky '13 - Charleston area car, boat and cycle interests shared much good news this year due to strengthening economy

Posted: 12/28/2013 11:22 p.m.
Updated: 12/29/2013 01:58 a.m.


By Jim Parker


To a big extent, people associated with driving, riding or selling motor vehicles or vessels can claim success in 2013.

The Toyota dealership in West Ashley opened a restyled building, Buick GMC outlet in Summerville remodeled its operation and the Cadillac facility on Savannah Highway debuted a new showroom.

The successors to the famed Indian motorcycle chain lined up a dealer in Ladson. And a downtown yacht outfit landed Greenline hybrid boats.

At the same time, BMW, Lexus and Mercedes dealerships all won top manufacturer awards; and a national trade magazine named a Charleston new-car operation 23rd best of all dealerships nationwide.

A renowned cross-country antique car rally announced in the fall that the 2014 race plans to stop overnight in Charleston as part of the eight-day event. Meanwhile, Kiawah Island organizers this fall held an expanded Concours d'Elegance upper-crust car show in a new venue - the finishing hole of a riverside golf course.

Still, the Lowcountry wasn't immune from tragic and poignant moments.

At least one noted car club representative died of cancer, but not before he received a touching tribute from friends.

And, crews this week started demolished the building that held an iconic Mount Pleasant car store until the business was sold three years ago.

Here's a last, month-to-month, look at 2013 from the wheels and waves perspective locally.

January


- The Charleston Boat Show makes a splash Jan. 25-27 as watercraft sales were on the rise leading up to and during the 33rd annual event.

February


- Baker Mercedes-Benz wins the car brand's "Best of the Best" award for 2012, the seventh occasion since 2003.

- Car club reps meet to set up the Lowcountry Auto Council, a group that helps schedule shows and cruise-ins throughout the year so they don't overlap.

March


- Strom Altman, veteran Dodge and Suzuki dealer, becomes general manager of Baker Cadillac on Savannah Highway.

- Palmetto Ford-Lincoln wins Lincoln Dealer of the Year in South Carolina from DealerRate online customer-review site.

April


- Lexus of Charleston tops the manufacturer's customer satisfaction index while attaining "Elite of Lexus" status for the 17th straight year.

- For the first time since 2007, the South Carolina In-Water Boat Show took place locally. Daniel Island hosted the event April 12-14.

- McElveen Buick GMC in Summerville overhauls its showroom, service and parts areas for a more open look.

- Hendrick BMW grabs the Center of Excellence designation, one of 34 dealerships so honored by the carmaker.

May


- Fred Anderson Toyota, owned by a Raleigh, N.C.-based company, held a grand opening of its new 47,000-square-foot building on Savannah Highway near Interstate 526.

- Charles K. "Chuck" Sheldon Jr., vice president of membership with the Coastal Carolina Corvette Club, passed away after a two-month bout with cancer. Before he died, club members and his wife arranged for Corvette to re-route a then brand-new 2014 C7 Stingray to his home on Daniel Island so he could get behind the wheel one last time.

- The "Double 0hhh Seven" Mazda RX-7 team from the Isle of Palms and North Charleston finished in seventh place in the ChumpCar series 14 Hours of Daytona, moving up from 57th the year before.

June


- South Carolina jumped the most nationwide in terms of hybrid growth 2010 to 2012, according to R.L. Polk & Co. automotive researcher.

July


- Baker Motor Co. made the list of the 100 Best Dealerships to Work For as compiled by Automotive News trade publication. The Charleston dealership would wind up 23rd.

- Automotive News named Jeremy Jimenez to its "40 Under 40" list. The names include top executives and managers who are less than 40 years old. Jimenez, general manager of Hendrick Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge, Ram and of Hendrick Fiat, both in North Charleston, turned 33 last year.

August


- Mount Pleasant Chevrolet opens in the former McElveen dealership on U.S. Highway 17 east of the Cooper.

- The first-time Euro Nation car show drew 80 or more cars, considered a strong launch. The show, held in Mount Pleasant, focuses on newer imports.

- Mack Cook, of Cook Motor Co. in Ladson, won the 2013 Quality Dealer of the Year award from the Carolinas Independent Automobile Dealers Association.

September


- Classic cars took part in a show that helped celebrate the 40th anniversary of Folly Beach as a municipality.

October


- The "Great Race" of antique autos announced it would include an overnight stopover in Charleston as part of its June 2014 rally from Ogunquit, Maine to The Villages, Fla.

- The exotic new Maserati Quattroporte, which hadn't been updated since the mid-2000s, arrived at Baker Motor Co.

- Race car driver Robbie Davis, son of Rick Hendrick Import executive vice president Brad Davis, took home the national 2013 Class TCB-Spec championship trophy driving for the Mini of Charleston team.

- A national alternative fuel organization stops at North Charleston Coliseum to show off electric, natural gas and propane powered vehicles.

November


- Baker Motor Co. celebrates 25 years in business. The company oversees Mercedes, Porsche, Land Rover, Maserati, Infiniti, Jaguar, smart and Sprinter brands on Savannah Highway.

- St. Barts Yachts of Charleston adds Greenline hybrid boats to its stable of vessels.

- Local car buff Don Turpin's 1954 Plymouth two-door Savoy appeared in the movie "Last Vegas," which premiered in early November.

- Baker opens a stand-alone Cadillac dealership on Savannah Highway, housing one of the largest Cadillac showrooms in the Southeast.

- Hendrick BMW showcases a new i3 electric car, 4-series coupe and updated X5 SUV at a drop-in.

- Kiawah Island Concours d'Elegance drew a strong crowd to its River golf course for the first time. J.W. Marriott's 1937 Talbot Lago T150C SS "Teardrop Coupe" won Best of Show.

- National company Polaris Industries revived the Indian motorcycle name, dating to the early 1900s, and began manufacturing a new Indian cycle this year. American Biker off Treeland Drive secured the right to be one of the first dealerships.

December


- McDaniels Audi general sales manager Scott Firth provided a first-hand look at Audi's testing and training operations near Munich and the experience of test-driving an A3 sedan after returning from a trip to Germany.

- Tommy Baker, chief executive of Baker Motor Co. and an owner of Baker Buick GMC and Cadillac, donates 200 trees toward beautification efforts along Savannah Highway.

- A wrecking crew began tearing down the old Miller Cadillac building near the corner of Johnnie Dodds Boulevard and Mathis Ferry Road. Miller Cadillac operated in the Mount Pleasant store since 1978. Principals sold the business to Baker in 2011, which relocated Cadillac to West Ashley.

Reach Jim Parker at 937-5542 or jparker@postandcourier.com.