The Story of an American Dream, part three

“The American Dream is the heartbeat of our collective ethos. For generations it has promised that through hard work, each of us has the opportunity for success and prosperity- a social mobility brought about by our ability to pick ourselves up by the bootstraps and achieve whatever our imagination holds.” July 2, 2014, Jim Motavalli



C&R maintained business entirely from home until 1984, when the vehicles were moved to a small lot at Lowell’s Conoco on main street. Lowell Johnson, a local businessman, worked with Dad and became a close and trusted friend. Dad had been going to Utah area auto auctions to buy vehicles for years, but it was during this time he began to travel frequently to California to buy used cars. The transition was made from body work to used car sales. Dad continued to sell at that location until 1992, when C&R opened it’s first independent location at 1401 W Main in Tremonton.

The next decade would bring continual adjustments and changes as C&R worked to meet the needs of the community and keep business afloat. The oldest two boys, Ronnie and Chris (who had been raised working alongside dad), were now married and starting families of their own and joined him in the daily operation. Shawn, the youngest, would eventually join in the management of C&R as well. Frequent trips to California brought about the purchase of a semi and car hauling trailer so that Dad could haul the cars himself instead of paying shipping costs. He began hauling for other dealers as well. Our family laughs now at the story my mom tells of the day they went to look at semi’s and ended up buying a new international truck- red, of course (Dad’s favorite color). They signed the paperwork and walked out to their newly acquired semi truck. They climbed in when it occurred to them that they didn’t even know how to start it! Sheepishly, they walked back into find the salesman so Dad, the trucker, could learn how to drive home. That red semi soon became part of C&R. Dad took care of it like he does with all vehicles- it was one of the cleanest, shiniest car haulers ever to hit the road! Along with hauling cars, it became a frequent sight in local parades- hauling many youth groups from the high school over the years.


These years were also filled with an additional location in nearby Brigham City. C&R operated at this location in 1998 for approximately five years.

After years of hard work, disaster blew in one summer afternoon in the mid-nineties, and for a few days, it appeared as though all was lost. A huge windstorm blew through Tremonton, leaving destruction in it’s wake. The wind had picked up pea gravel as it traveled, which, in turn, pitted the outsides and blew the windows out of every vehicle on the lot. To make matters worse, once the windows were blown out, the gravel pitted the inside of each vehicle. With no windows to keep it out, the rain then came and damaged the interiors. A huge window in the showroom was also blown out. My oldest brother Ronnie, married and with a family of his own to support, remembers looking around after the storm and thinking “now what?” It seemed as if everything they had worked for had been shattered in only a few hours. The scene was completely shocking and absolutely devastating. However, through working with their insurance, they came up with a plan. C&R advertised a Wind Damage Sale, and every vehicle on the lot was liquidated within a few days.

Once more, C&R picked itself up, started again, and continued to adapt and grow. A mechanic shop was added, along with a rental fleet. In 2005, when a local trailer dealership closed, C&R saw an opportunity to fill a niche and added Recreational trailers to its inventory. They have since added horse and snowmobile trailers to become one of Utah’s successful trailer dealerships.


2 Replies to “The Story of an American Dream, part three”

  1. Janett Call says: Reply

    I’ve loved these blog posts. Since we have only been here for 12 years I now feel “caught up” . Thank you for sharing! All the best for your future! We have loved doing business with C&R and plan to continue doing so.

    1. Thank you Janett! It has been so fun compiling these posts and realizing how much heart goes into any worthwhile family endeavor! Thank you for reading!

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