In April of 1940 Charles Thompson began Thompson Motors as a general
repair shop. An operation which grew from a general service garage to a
worldwide service. Please read on if you would like to hear how we
Thompson Motors began when a group of truckers from the LaCrosse, WI area were so pleased with the work done by Charles Thompson that they persuaded him to open a shop in Wykoff, MN. In LaCrosse Charlie had done repair work on their fleet of trucks at the ford garage, that group of truckers purchased the Wykoff Elevator and moved their trucks to Wykoff and asked if Charlie would come with them.
In April of 1940 Charlie, his wife Gert and son Dick, left LaCrosse and moved to Wykoff to open a repair business. Charlie leased a building and set up shop as a filling station and general service garage.
The advent of WWII and gas rationing brought an end to the grain trucks. However, the war created a need for mechanics who could patch vehicles together without new parts, Charlie was good at that. After the war Charlie became a Hudson car dealer and sold cars as well as farm machinery including Ferguson, Massey Harris, Belle City and later International Harvester. Hudson went out of business and we went out of the car business.
In 1956 Thompson Motors acquired the International Harvester truck franchise and sold pickups and two ton trucks. In 1958 Dick, who had worked part-time in the business while going to school, joined the firm full-time after marrying Judy and starting a family. In 1959 Thompson Motors sold its first new diesel semi tractor to George Wagner of Wykoff, a Ruan owner operator. This truck, a model DCOT-405 Emeryville, had a 220 Cummins, five speed transmission, two speed drive axle and a belt drive tag axle. The truck weighed 13,000 pounds full of fuel and with driver and power takeoff pump. This sale got Thompson Motors started in the growing heavy duty truck market. With the sales of new heavy trucks came used trade ins and then lesser value trade ins on those that seemed to have more value as parts than as trucks and a second business of truck salvage was born at Thompson Motors. In 1989 International was trying to downsize the number of International dealers and the decision was made to sell only used trucks. The salvage parts business as well as the rebuilt parts and service market had already become a bigger part of the business so it was full steam ahead into these businesses.
Thompson Motors entered the export market in 1979 and it remains a large part of our business today. By 1982 Dick and Judy's sons, Chris and Rod had joined the firm full-time. In 1983 Thompson Motors established our branch facility in South St. Paul, MN to better serve our customers in that area.
Today our business sells about 300 used complete trucks,500 salvage trucks each year. The sales of new International and Cummins parts, used parts from the salvage trucks and components that we rebuild have set us apart from your traditional truck dealership.
The first building that Charlie moved his business into is no longer standing. The building that now houses Thompson Motors was built in 1959 and has had many additions since. The salvage operations have moved to new larger accommodations on the edge of town where we have 10 acres of parts storage and processing facitilies.
The Thompson family and its employees would like to thank it's customers for making it a successful business and appreciates greatly the ability to be here for you today and tomorrow.