It was after World War II that Dan Collins, then a blacksmith apprentice at Coleman’s Garage in Millstreet, Ireland, came to the United States alongside his brother Johnny. Collins first worked at a Ford agency in New York, and within a few years news of his expertise as a mechanic had spread all the way to Oregon where Gordon Smith, owner of Lakeview’s local Ford dealership, offered Collins a job. With only a few dollars to his name, Collins traveled cross-country to Lakeview to join the Ford operation, which subsequently burned down soon afterward.
Despite the setback, the Collins brothers persisted, and by 1953 established a repair shop in Lakeview. Two years later, having built a Dodge-Plymouth agency alongside their repair shop, another fire nearly ended the business. The family regrouped, and by 1958 had bought the Chevrolet dealership from Buz Thompson, which in 1960 suffered yet another fire.
Continuing to expand, now with only Dan leading the business, the dealership was relocated and a new brand franchises acquired – Cadillac, Buick and Oldsmobile. After relocating for a time to Prineville, Dan and his wife Kit returned to Lakeview in 1967, taking over the Chevrolet, Pontiac and GMC dealership in a building on E street that today is home to Lakeview True Value Hardware. Efforts to add a Volkswagen line fell through, but Collins Motors carried onward.
Eventually the Collins family regained the Ford brand, and relocated to its current location along Hwy 140. While car lines have changed, and other dealers disappear, the approach Collins established did not – that of treating every customer like family. Collins earned a reputation for going the extra mile, sometimes quite literally, personally delivering new vehicles to distant ranches. It was an approach that has allowed the Collins family’s success to carry on through the generations, now under the leadership of Dan and Kit’s daughter, Patsy, and her husband, Jeff Hall.
Patsy’s childhood in Lakeview was spent involved in the dealership in nearly every capacity down to sorting new parts specs and accounts receivable statements on the kitchen table. In 1992 she and Jeff moved back to Lakeview, buying the franchises from Dan and Kit outright in 1994. Renamed Hall Motor Company, the Collins reputation has carried on under their leadership; new name but same philosophy to treat every client like family.
“I lived and breathed it all through my childhood, which made me passionate about it,” said Patsy Hall. “There’s a piece of me that just likes to take care of people. This is my way of doing so, when I get people into a vehicle that they love.”
Read the full article on the Herald and New: Family business thrives through generations to serve Klamath Basin and beyond
Dan Collins returned to where it all began in 1999, traveling to Cork, Ireland to visit the old blacksmith shop (at Rathcoole) where he first became an apprentice. Collins migrated to the United States and established a car dealership in Lakeview that has been passed down through generations, today known as Hall Motor Company.
Dan Collins in 1955 served as Lake County’s lone Dodge, Chrysler and Plymouth dealer