Postscripts: Recalling Buicks gone by
Salisbury Motor Co.’s decision to sell its new car assets ó the Buick, Pontiac and GMC brands ó and go exclusively to pre-owned vehicles touched a nostalgic chord with several Salisburians who have traded with the company over the years.
Until this past week, Salisbury Motor Co. sold Buicks for 90 years.
Charlie Peacock, who at 88 is about the same age as Salisbury Motor Co. patriarch Don Clement Jr., recalled the day he bought a 1923 Buick from Don Jr.’s father at the dealership, when it was located in the 100 block of West Innes Street.
It was in the mid 1930s, as Peacock recalled, and he was trading in a Ford Model T. Peacock paid $51.50 for the Buick ó $50 for the car and $1.50 for the title transfer.
Peacock only knows this because the Clements still had a record of it years later.
Leon Bradshaw recalled how a group of men from Salisbury, including his father, would travel to the Buick factory in Flint, Mich., to drive home new Buicks Salisbury Motor Co. was going to sell.
They took plenty of rope with them, in case any of the cars got stuck in the mud ó not unusual with road conditions in those days.
Donald Clement, the company founder, was a good friend of both his and his father, Bradshaw said, and he often stopped in to chat with Clement on his trips to the old Post Office.
When Bradshaw was getting married, he paid $1,850 for a new Buick Roadmaster.
Only he and the late Bryce Beard were driving a Roadmaster in Salisbury at the time, Bradshaw recalled.
Bradshaw said he has always owned a Buick during his adult life. At times, he had one to as many as five Buicks, he said.
Bradshaw still drives a low-mileage 1996 Buick station wagon today.
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John Hart, who grew up in Salisbury, set his first book, “The King of Lies,” here, using places like the courthouse, the old Towne Mall and City Park as his setting, and people, like a man he used to see walking around the park, to inspire his characters.
He always insisted no one in the book was an actual person he knew.
Then he set “Down River” in Rowan County, again, making local residents feel very familiar with the story.
His new book, “The Last Child” is not set in Rowan County. Not really. It’s in Raven County. Further east ó but he points out, he never names the town.
“It could be Salisbury, or not,” he says, starting to smile.
“I guess I got kind of tired of people being upset because they were in the book or being upset because they weren’t in the book,” he says, laughing.