Fifty years ago, John S. Pearson Jr. went to buy a Ford. He liked it so much that “he bought the dealership and he
bought the car,” recalled his son, John Pearson III.
That was in 1960, when his father bought Cavell Ford, in Zionsville.
This month, Pearson Ford, 10650 N. Michigan Road, is celebrating a rare thing among car dealers: its 50th birthday.
Pearson’s father died in 1981. Pearson has been running the 90-employee operation ever since, which now occupies 19
acres in Carmel. Despite the sluggishness in the auto market in recent years, Pearson has spent millions of dollars on
expansion that includes an additional, “quick lane” service center for all makes and models, and a major collision
Ford Motor Co. was so impressed with the dealership’s longevity that it was to dispatch Vice President of Customer Service Frederiek Toney to Pearson Ford’s birthday party Aug. 5.
Pearson is among the survivors in an auto dealer landscape that’s been devastated in recent years. Indiana lost 49 new-car dealers last year, the biggest decrease in at least a decade, according to the National Automobile Dealers Association.
Among the losses in recent years was Sharp Ford, on the south side, which entered the business in 1919.•