Sales (877) 566-9371
Service (866) 625-1851
The History Of Holmes
In 1947 my father, Max E. Holmes, and his brother John, returned to Des Moines after the second World War and opened a towing service and body shop. It was there, at 3rd and Grand, that the Holmes family began in the car business.
A few years later, my father and John joined Dale Gambs and operated a Kaiser-Frasier new car dealership in downtown selling cars like the “Henry J.”
During the time they were Kaiser-Frasier dealers, they acquired the right to sell the Tucker automobile. Of course, the car was never mass-produced and that franchise never materialized.
In 1950, General Motors made a decision to separate Oldsmobile from Cadillac, and the Holmes boys became Des Moines’ new Oldsmobile dealer. They bought land at the 600 block of 6th Avenue and built a brand new building/showroom where they operated a very successful Oldsmobile business through some of the greatest years in the automobile industry.
John left the car business in 1968. My father continued on his own until later that year when my brother-in-law, Steve Wood, and I joined him in the family business. In 1973, we added the Honda line to our dealership.
After my father’s death in 1985, Steve and I continued the family business. We bought a piece of land in Clive and built a new facility at the intersection of I-80/35 and Hickman Road. At that time, many in the community questioned our move so far west, but Hickman turned out to be an excellent area for automobile dealerships.
The next big development came in 1988, when Holmes Oldsmobile-Honda added GMC Truck and Hyundai to its line-up. That same year, we changed the name of our company to Holmes Automotive Group and formed a holding company that would own the three operating dealerships: Holmes Oldsmobile-GMC Truck, Holmes Honda, and Holmes Hyundai.
Steve Wood decided to leave the automobile business in 2000 and move his permanent residence to his lake home in Okoboji, Iowa.
In December of that year, General Motor announced plans to discontinue the Oldsmobile brand. Oldsmobile models were phased out through the 2004 model year.
In 2001, we purchased the Chevrolet dealership in Indianola and Holmes Chevrolet was born. At this writing, a new, larger facility is planned for just off Highway 5 in Norwalk.
December 2007 brought the sale of our GMC Truck franchise to Ramsey Pontiac in Urbandale. At the time, General Motors was working to align GMC, Pontiac and Buick brands under one dealership, which we at Holmes supported.
Now, more than 60 years after my father returned from the war and opened a body shop in downtown Des Moines, Holmes Automotive Group continues to grow and prosper, largely due to our hard-working employees. Our dedication to providing quality service and products, as well as personal attention to our customers needs will take us far.