The 100-year-old Wentworth family business began with partners George Wentworth and Charles Irwin making horse-drawn carriages by hand in Portland, Ore., in 1903.
But Wentworth and Irwin rolled with the changes time brought: In 1923, they became Nash distributors, dispensing the automobiles throughout Oregon and Washington. They sold the cars, and parts, too. Later, they sold GMC heavy-duty trucks, and when the carriage business waned, they produced log and dump trucks.
They remained auto dealers after factories rescinded distributorships; they sold their stake in GMC but continued selling cars as Nash became Rambler and Rambler became American Motors. In the 1950s, when Irwin died, the Wentworth family carried on, with George's son, Charles, and later his son, Charles Jr., running the family business.
In 1978, when a struggling AMC bought back its franchise, then-president Charles Jr. bought a Chevrolet dealership in Portland. His sons, Greg, Scott and Bob Wentworth - the fourth generation - had joined the business in the 1970s, and in 1982, Charles Jr. bought a Buick dealership in Eugene, Ore., two hours south of Portland. Things were humming.