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History Gratiot Auto Supply, The worlds largest hot rod shop !

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Harms Way, Jul 30, 2008.

  1. lippy
    Joined: Sep 27, 2006
    Posts: 4,596

    from Ks

    I miss Maynard.
  2. Gr8laker
    Joined: Sep 15, 2011
    Posts: 58

    from Michigan

  3. Wes Rager
    Joined: May 4, 2016
    Posts: 37

    Wes Rager

    Wow, sorry I'm so late to the party. I too worked at GAS during high school and just after. I started in the Livonia store with David Estes, then helped close it and move it to the Canton location. Being young and ambitious, I was then asked to help open the Woodward store with Mike Venuto. Continued to work there for a few months before I was then sent to Madison Heights to work in mail order. ( There were 8 retail stores by this point. I spent time in all of them.) The parent company was called Detroit High Performance. That's where I met Kathy and Angelo...and Bill Toia of course. They spent a bunch of money on an IBM mainframe computer in the early 80's. That and a shift in the market precipitated their decline. Sad to say the least....
    lothiandon1940 likes this.
  4. seb fontana
    Joined: Sep 1, 2005
    Posts: 6,467

    seb fontana
    from ct

    I wish I spent more money at Gratiot...They had real good deals on the Ford, Chevy, Mopar discontinued parts..Early 70's bought some chrome reverse wheels from them; still on the car..shoulda bought more...

    Attached Files:

    Deuces and lothiandon1940 like this.
  5. butch
    Joined: Jun 3, 2001
    Posts: 72

    from Michigan

    I lived in Saginaw in the 70s we would cruse down to the Flint Gratiot, Dort Hwy. store to by parts and day dream and drool.
    Deuces and petiepotpie like this.
  6. 31Apickup
    Joined: Nov 8, 2005
    Posts: 2,124


    We had the Gratiot Auto Supply downriver in Woodhaven for a short while in the late 70's. One of my buddy's neighbor worked there. I think it was there for only a year or two.
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2016
    Deuces likes this.
  7. Nobody mentioned K&L Speed. First opened on Grand River at Westbrook in Detroit sometime in 68-69. Across from Redford High School and Detroit Police 16th Precinct. About September 69 a friend borrowed a car from another friend to pick up parts there. Pulled out on Grand River and got t-boned, car ended up in the 16th's driveway. Bad part it was unisured, wrong plates, it was just put on the road a couple days earlier as it was built from a total. Totaled again, this time not fixable. I have the high beam headlights (T-3's) in my O/T car today, got them from the parts pile left the owner still had as of 1996.
  8. West Point Motor Supply in Farmington Township, Novi Auto Parts in Novi, Mid 5 in Livonia and B&F Auto Supply in Plymouth had limited stock and could usually order what you wanted also. Sometimes a little better prices if they liked you. I forgot the names of the guys at Redford Speed, started dealing with them when they first opened in 72, the two guys were friends of friends.
  9. dan griffin
    Joined: Dec 25, 2009
    Posts: 469

    dan griffin

    The bank showed up one day to check inventory against money borrowed to buy inventory. the bank shut them down the next day.
  10. 911 steve
    Joined: Nov 29, 2012
    Posts: 595

    911 steve
    from nebraska

    best Gratiot ad ever!!!!! LindaVaughnMissGratiotAutoSupplyWORLDSLARGESTHOTRODSHOPS.jpg
  11. j.s.cupcake
    Joined: Jul 22, 2008
    Posts: 3

    from Motor City

    Harms Way:

    You gained a lot of information about Gratiot Auto Supply while working there. However, you certainly glossed over the BIGGEST and MOST IMPORTANT chapter in the history of GRATIOT AUTO SUPPLY. That chapter has to do with its founder, BILL TOIA. Sorry to tell you, but you never would have had a job there if it had not been for Bill Toia starting the company and building it from a small store into what was, at one time, the World’s Largest Hot Rod Shop. There are volumes that you know nothing about.
    I find your omission of my grandfather, Bill Toia, insulting. You may want to relive your glory days as a “car guy”, but rewriting the history of Gratiot Auto Supply is not the way to do it! Sadly, my grandfather passed away December 16, 2009. He had a daughter, five grandchildren, eight great-grandchildren, and now two great-great-grandchildren. Fortunately, our family has many wonderful memories of him.
    I suggest that you do a little research into the history of the company you profess to know so much about before continuing to pass yourself off as an expert.

    427 sleeper likes this.
  12. j.s.cupcake
    Joined: Jul 22, 2008
    Posts: 3

    from Motor City

    I need to correct you — Bill Toia, founder of Gratiot Auto Supply was NOT Angelo’s uncle. Bill was my grandfather. He may not be here to correct the record, so I will.
    427 sleeper likes this.
  13. 41rodderz
    Joined: Sep 27, 2010
    Posts: 4,720

    from Oregon

    Okay. Can you do a detailed post or thread with your stories ? I love to learn the history about the icons of hot rodding and racing.
  14. southcross2631
    Joined: Jan 20, 2013
    Posts: 3,757


    Growing up in the U.P, of Michigan our only source of hot rod parts was J.C. Whitney or Western Auto.
    My brother moved to Mt. Clemens after he got out of the army. I got a job on construction and moved in with my brother and Gratiot was 20 minutes away. In 1969 it was a hopping place to go on Saturday mornings. I would cash my check on Friday and be in the store the next morning to try and buy the next part . So I could be ready to race at Motor City Dragway on Sunday afternoon.
    bchctybob likes this.
  15. sawbuck
    Joined: Oct 14, 2006
    Posts: 1,868

    from 06492 ct

    I suggest that you do a little research into the history of the company you profess to know so much about before continuing to pass yourself off as an expert. ...quote..

    man lighten up a little
    Last edited: May 27, 2019
  16. Wow..... you got on here for bump a 3 year old thread up ....for that......moving right along
  17. cruzingratiot
    Joined: Oct 2, 2008
    Posts: 353

    from Detroit MI

  18. carcruse
    Joined: Aug 20, 2007
    Posts: 766


    My brother worked at the Woodhaven store and got this at the conpany picnic back then.
    chryslerfan55 and Deuces like this.
  19. Were there a lot of Dennis’ in Livonia in the late 60s ?
    I knew one who drove an Anglia.
  20. ramblin dan
    Joined: Apr 16, 2018
    Posts: 2,038

    ramblin dan

  21. Deuces
    Joined: Nov 3, 2009
    Posts: 18,540

    from Michigan

  22. Deuces
    Joined: Nov 3, 2009
    Posts: 18,540

    from Michigan

    I have a jacket patch that's the same size as Linda's ummm... chest...
  23. 5window
    Joined: Jan 29, 2005
    Posts: 7,368


    Long as this old thread is dragged up, anybody got a logo for Skippy's Speed Shop??
    chryslerfan55 likes this.
  24. ramblin dan
    Joined: Apr 16, 2018
    Posts: 2,038

    ramblin dan

    That's can't be a patch. That has to be a blanket.
    chryslerfan55 likes this.
  25. Once again, if I locate the shirt does Linda have to be in it?

    Sent from my iPhone using H.A.M.B.

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