DYERSVILLE, Iowa — It was the year 1971.
“All in the Family: was the top-rated television program in the country, Flip Wilson hosted a weekly variety show, Marcus Welby was America’s TV doctor, and Matt Dillon was taking care of business in Dodge City.
That same year, Tauke Motors was getting its start in Dyersville. A half-century later, the business has become an eastern Iowa institution.
Current owner Dan Tauke reflected on how it all started.
“My dad, Dave, and uncle Marv used to run the farm implement dealership next door and purchased Hogan Motors in 1971,” said Tauke. “In 1972, they kind of split up, and my dad went with the car side of the business and Marv stayed with the implements.”
The dealership has had a long-term relationship with Chrysler and its satellite products.
“In the early days, Tauke Motors was a Chrysler, Plymouth and Dodge dealership,” Dan Tauke said. “Since then, we had the Eagle line for a while, and we picked up Jeep back in 1991.”
Some of the vehicles on the lot 50 years ago might be seen at a classic car show in 2021.
“We had the Chargers, the Dusters and the Challengers,” Tauke said. “We had Barracudas, and they were pretty cool cars back in the day.”
The process of buying and selling vehicles has changed since 1971, with technology playing a major role.
“The internet has really broadened the business scope. We just sold a car last week to a guy in Anaheim, Calif., and we sold a car to a guy in Lake Tahoe a while ago,” explained Tauke.
Tauke Motors is guided by a simple philosophy.
“The golden rule still applies to us,” Tauke said. “We’re kind of a small, hometown crew and try to treat people the best we can.”
The relocation of the business’ service department has been a win-win for the dealership.
“We moved our service department across the road to have a little more room for the technicians,” said Tauke. “We get cars in and out more effectively.”
There are reports of vehicle and parts shortages — including computer chips — in some parts of the country, but Tauke Motors continues to make its way forward.
“It sounds like the chip crisis is going to be with us for a while, but we have more inventory now than we’ve had in some time,” Tauke said. “It’s been a very good year, and we’re working our way through it.”
A third generation of the Tauke family — Dan’s sons Matt, Mitch and Nate — is involved in the everyday operation of the business.
“I haven’t come up with an exit strategy yet, but hopefully, the next generation will carry the torch forward,” Dan Tauke said. “… With the relationships we’ve made over the years with our customers and our employees, it’s been a pretty fun ride.”