Drennen Motor Company

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The Drennen Motor Company opened a downtown Cadillac showroom in November 1954

The Drennen Motor Company was an automobile dealership founded in 1908 by Hubert Drennen, as an outgrowth of the Drennen & Co. department store, which had begun as a general store in 1869 and was selling automobiles alongside its wagons and buggies in Birmingham as early as 1903. The separate company's first location was on Block 136 at 221–231 20th Street South, on the corner of Avenue C.

In 1914 Hubert's brother, Don Drennen Sr purchased the Loveman, Joseph & Loeb automobile department, and opened another dealership a block away at Avenue C and 21st Street South. Soon later, Don volunteered with the U.S. Naval Reserve Flying Corps serving in World War I. Hubert operated both businesses, and they were formally merged after Don's return.

The Drennen Motor Company primarily represented General Motors makes, including Buick, Cadillac and Chevrolet automobiles. They also sold Federal Motor Trucks and General tires. The brothers opened several more locations in the 1920s, including a remodeled showroom at 520 19th Street North in Bessemer and a new location at 2220 Avenue E in Ensley. Federal took over its retail truck sales directly in 1925. The Adam Cadillac Co. took over the area's Cadillac and LaSalle sales in 1930. During the Great Depression, Drennen Motor Company actually lent money to General Motors.

Charles Drennen, Hubert's son, took over the downtown dealership in 1951. In July of that year Don, Charles's uncle, split the company by taking over the Buick dealership in Ensley. That business grew into the Don Drennen Motor Co., which moved to Hoover in 1972.

Meanwhile opening a new Cadillac showroom at 321–323 20th Street South in 1954. When Charles retired in 1972 he sold his Chevrolet franchise to Ivan Leonard Chevrolet, his Buick sales to Tom Williams Buick, and the Cadillac business to his son-in-law, Ralph Quinn, who named it Drennen Cadillac.


  • Ellaby, Liz (April 19, 2008) "'A long, interesting ride.' Don Drennen Motor Co. celebrates 100 years." The Birmingham News