Butterfield Ford, a dealership that once was sandwiched between a theater and post office on Riverton's Main Street, has expanded so much in the past 50 years that its owners are enlarging the showroom, adding office and employee meeting space and enlarging the service department.
Now located at 200 W. 90th South in Sandy, Butterfield Ford is celebrating its 50th anniversary as a Ford dealer and the expansion should be completed by summer, according to Brent Butterfield, one owner of the dealership.Butterfield said, "It's Ford Motor Co.'s goal to build the finest quality cars and trucks in the world. It is the mission of Butterfield Ford to provide the very best sales and service experience available anywhere to those who purchase these fine vehicles."
The dealership was started in December 1938 by three Butterfield brothers and a brother-in-law. Almon Butterfield and Elias C. Butterfield eventually assumed ownership of the dealership. At 79, Almon still does the company banking and Elias, 77, still is involved in managing the company.
Brent, Roger and Craig Butterfield, Elias' sons, also have an interest in the company.
When Butterfield Ford was organized in 1938, getting automobiles into the hands of customers was more complicated than driving them off an auto transport and onto the display lot as occurs today. The elder Butterfields went to a Ford parts depot in Salt Lake City to select Fords available in only four colors, blue, gray, tan and black.
Unlike today's dozens of automobile models, Fords in those days came in standard and deluxe models - deluxe meaning a little more chrome and a horn ring rather than a button. Depot employees attached the wheels and the dealer drove the cars to the customer.
The elder Butterfields recalled that when Ford began shipping cars direct to dealers by railroad boxcar, they went to the siding and unloaded the cars, often late at night.
In 1941 after World War II started, the two brothers closed their dealership and went to work at the Remington Arms Plant in Salt Lake City and later went to work for another war industry plant in Clearfield. They scheduled their hours so one brother worked at Remington while the other maintained the automobile service department.
They kept a list of names of people who wanted cars and when the war was over they began selling cars to people on the list. In the early days, Brent Butterfield said the dealership sold two or three cars per month and between 40 and 50 annually.
Sales on some good days are near the annual volumes of the 1930s, Brent Butterfield said. The dealership, which began with three employees, now has 70.