Few people outside the Portland, Oregon area know that when International Harvester gave up on light duty trucks and SUVs in 1980 and closed up shop, one dealer franchisee stayed open. For 28 years.
Bisio Motors was an International Harvester dealership that sold the manufacturer's "Light Line" light duty passenger vehicles. During the decades Bisio Motors was open there were always International Harvester trucks sitting for sale on the front lot, an active parts counter, and an on duty mechanic who specialized in IH products.
This was quite a feat considering that for almost 30 of the 60 years Bisio Motors was open their only product was no longer in production.
Owner Ernie Bisio ran the dealership as though International Harvester never decided to stop making their light duty trucks and SUVs in 1980. Bisio Motors continued servicing, selling, and providing parts for Scouts, Travelalls and Trucks. They even sold the last brand new International Scout in the country in 1991. In 2008 at the age of 90 and in declining health, Ernie finally closed down Bisio Motors, the last International Harvester dealership of its kind.
Despite owning an International Scout, I had no knowledge of Bisio Motors before I stumbled across it by accident while on a cross country trip in 2008. I quickly found out by reading the sign on the front gate that I would be among the last to do so.
Although Bisio Motors had already been closed for a couple months when I arrived, it still looked the part of a functioning IH dealership. The signage on the front fence was the only indicator that it would soon be gone, lost to history. A call to the guitar shop next door confirmed that today the former site of Bisio Motors is just another used car lot, with no indication of the now absent relic that stood there a few years prior.
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