The Ferman Chevrolet used car lot is shown at 1428 N. Florida Ave. in the 1935 “then” photo. Banners boasted of “reliable used cars” and “easy terms.” (Ferman helped pioneer the concept of buying cars on credit.)
The company’s origins date to the mid-1880s, when Fred Ferman opened a bicycle shop called Tampa Cycle Co. Always enamored with transportation, Ferman used bicycle parts to build the first gas-powered car in Tampa in 1899, and he opened the area’s first automobile dealership in 1902, selling Oldsmobiles (Ransom E. Olds was the founder of Oldsmar). Ferman added a Cadillac dealership in 1903 and became one of the first distributors of Dodge vehicles in 1914, also adding Packards and DeSotos. In 1930, Ferman was awarded the area’s first Chevrolet dealership.
Today, Ferman oversees an entire campus of car and truck operations on Adamo Drive, offering its bread-and-butter GM line along with Mazda, and even Harley-Davidson motorcycles. The Chevrolet used car lot at 9751 E. Adamo Drive is pictured in the “now” photo.
The Ferman empire stretches across the Tampa Bay area, with dealerships selling Acura, Mini, Dodge, BMW, Nissan, Volvo and other makes.
Greg S. Carr