Dixie Drive-It-Yourself System

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The Dixie Drive-It-Yourself System garage on 5th Avenue North, c. 1940

Dixie Drive-It-Yourself System was a Birmingham-based auto and truck rental agency which operated locally as well as in other Southern cities in Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Louisiana. The Birmingham divisions were located along 5th Avenue North in downtown Birmingham.

The business was founded by John W. Black III, who had previously partnered with Harris Saunders in the Saunders Leasing System, a pioneer of auto-leasing companies. Dixie Drive-It-Yourself opened around 1930 at 1917 5th Avenue North (now the site of the Shipt Tower parking deck.

In 1939 the business moved directly across the street, to 1916-1918 5th Avenue North, on Block 47 behind the Southern Club (now the site of the Regions Center). The company's truck leasing division was located a few blocks west, at 1720 5th Avenue North (now the site of Birmingham Parking Authority Deck 7).

In 1939 it advertised rentals of new model cars at 25 cents per hour, plus 4 cents per mile. Black died in a single-car collision in 1948. The Dixie Drive-It-Yourself System was acquired by the Ryder Truck and Equipment Leasing System of Miami, Florida as part of a major acquisition campaign in 1959. Ryder experienced some difficulties in merging its various new operations initially, but resumed profitable operations by the mid-1960s. In 1986 Ryder also acquired the older Saunders System.