Feb 222013
 
24 hour video on site

Farmer Jones Carz was a Calgary institution for decades, a used car lot selling well worn el-cheap-o transportation and doing it with a quirky style. The lot was always brimming with old beaters and the iconic sign with its slow-witted looking chubby farmer in coveralls with a sprig of grass in his teeth was a well known landmark. Everything must come to an end though and in 2012 the business closed.

One of the last holdouts from “old” Inglewood, it used to share that neighbourhood with seedy pawn shops, dark second hand stores, auction houses, bottle depots, a dive hotel, and other similar type businesses that tend to thrive in these older depressed areas of town.

Since closing the “beautiful” sales building has sat empty and is likely to be demolished. The neighbourhood it’s located in is experiencing a renaissance of sorts and is becoming quite trendy (read: expensive) and I am sure the lot is likely to be transformed into something up scale. What happened to the sign is unknown.

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The rest of the place has been turned into a what is assumed to be, a temporary parking lot.

You’d often see ads for the car lot in the local papers and they always had clever and quirky catch phrases. For example…

“Cash 4 Carz”
“Cash fer Carz”
“I hate munny, I luv carz”
“Stoopid buyer on duty”

And there were many others, all with hillbilly style spelling.

They also plastered their lot with loud signs and they often had ratty old stuffed animals inside the cars along with balloons and flags and other decorations of a tacky nature draped over everything. With traffic on 9th avenue and trains passing right behind the lot, it must have been a noisy place at times.

Prior to this location, back in the 1970s the lot was a block or two east of here on the same street, but on the opposite side (I think).

My stepfather had a strange attraction to this place and back when I was coming into my teen years, he often purchased his cars here. Every one was junk and every one was ugly, but I guess they were cheap and perhaps the company provided financing for those who were a high credit risk (as my stepfather often was). All I can remember is he’d often be cursing the cars he bought from here, and in particular I recall a very junky Ford Cortina that was prone to almost daily breakdowns. It was worthy of only one place, the shredder. Looking at the cars being offered at Farmer Jones more recently, nothing much had changed and old junkers populated the lot.

While they were clearly a success in their earlier days, changing demographics, rising operating costs, cramped quarters, a questionable reputation (whether deserved of not), the death of my step father (their best customer), all conspired to bring this amazing “legacy” to an end. Remains of their website, still listed as under construction, can be found online. There was talk of them finding a new location, but nothing has come about from this.

Seen above the car lot, on a brick building that borders the lots west side, are a number of interesting ghost signs. There is an advertisement for Fred Deeley Cycles, which is barely readable. This company was a large dealer of pedal powered conveyances and they also sold motorcycles. It’s not clear when they pulled out of Calgary, but they also have a Vancouver store which is still in business today under the name Trev Deeley Motorcycles. The signs says Fred Deeley was established in 1914 and it’s assumed these signs are a bit newer then that date – the 1920s perhaps?

Beside it is another advertisement for bicycles, for a brand called Rudge, presumably being sold at Fred Deeley. It proudly proclaims “Ride A Rudge, The World’s Most Reliable Bicycle Since 1869”. This make of bicycle was a well respected and prominent British brand, and through various mergers they were made into the the 1960s and perhaps even later. They also made motorcycles for a time.

Some of the previous two signs are hard to read and some bits are now totally missing or too faded, however I was fortunate enough to find a picture of them from thirty years ago and at that time everything on them was easily readable. That’s how I knew what the impossible to read bits said.

There is a third sign, very faded, which is advertising candies and pastries. This company, likely the old Olivier Candy shop which used to be located in this building but is now a few blocks east, had according to the sign, outlets in Calgary, Edmonton, Regina, Saskatoon and Winnipeg. This sign is obviously newer than the others.

Be sure to comment on this post (below pictures).

Seen across the street was an odd line up of Ford Festiva cars. Most were late 1980s or early 1990s models with one “newer” one in the mix. Why they are doing here is anyone’s guess and one has to question, why would anyone want them? They are base model throw-away cars, ones not seen much here, so parts and service must be hard to find. And they are down right plain and homely (IMO). Who ever owns them has the market cornered I guess.

Back to the car lot and my only regret is that I did not photograph the operation while it was in business. It was such a funky place. I’ve learnt my lesson and will make every effort to not be so careless again.

If you have any Farmer Jones experiences, pictures or ads you’d like to share, be sure and let us know. We can happily post them here.

To see the nearby dive hotel mentioned earlier, follow this link…
The Nash aka The National Hotel.

Across the street is an interesting school we explored…
Calgary then and now – Alexandra School

Check out this post…
Genealogists don’t let the truth get in the way of a good story.

If you wish more information on this place, by all means contact us!

Date: February, 2013.
Location: Calgary, AB.

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Rudge bicycles

A ghost sign above the old dealership lot, advertising Rudge Bicycles.

Elevator shaft

Access to the lower floors. Haha.

I hate munny, I luv carz

I hate munny., I luv carz!

Farmer Jones Carz

Farmer Jones Carz, a Calgary institution for decades.

Cash 4 Carz

Cash 4 Carz!

Farmer Jones car lot

Blast off!

24 hour video on site

Like any of the cars sold here would be worth protecting.

Farmer Jones Carz

Farmer Jones and its lovely office.

Farmer Jones Used Carz

There used to be wall to wall (junky) cars jammed in here.

Ford Festiva

Across the street was this odd line up of Ford Festivas.

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28 Comments on "Farmer Jones Carz"

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Mr Ferrell
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Mr Ferrell

It was an Inglewood landmark for so many years!

Mitchel T
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Mitchel T

Thank you for the good writeup. Like yours, my father often bough cars from Farmer Jones. Junkers, every last one of them. Of course, my dad had horrible credit and the Farmer was his only option for a vehicle.

Shelby T
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Shelby T

Great website! Back in my college days I was as broke as broke can be. Flat broke with overdue credit cards bills by the score. I needed a car and only Farmer Jones would extend me credit. In 2002 I got a well worn 1997 Cavalier for (I hate to admit) 12 grand. I think you could buy a new one for that price. It was as expected a POS and broke down with predicable regularity. I married a couple years later and my wife helped me get my finances in order and soon after I paid off the note and sold the car. Believe it or not for $1000! I was so glad to get rid of that junker. In spite of that, I have these strange fond memories for the Farmer Jones car lot. It was just so quirky.

Star Shop
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Star Shop

Thanks for a very enjoyable and informative site. That place was a Inglewood fixture for so many years. I’d loved those ratty old stuffed animals!

John
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John
Lol, I worked at Farmer Jones for a number of years off and on. At the time I worked in the old lot he had on the north side of the river. Then, I was a young man who did a lot of travelling and hitch hiking back and forth across Canada and I could always count on getting a quick job when I arrived in town I remember all of the old wrecks that were sold there. Jack Stevens was the salesman at the lot and I used to stay at his place when I hit town. As a matter of fact my son Steven was named after him. We used to take one of the cars from the lot and make quick weekend trips to Vancouver, usually a Cadillac or a Lincoln. Never had a problem with any of them on a hard and fast trip to the… Read more »
John
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John

An old man’s memory lapse….I believe the old lot was at 4th and Memorial Drive……

Julian Hatch
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Julian Hatch

My buddy sold his ’59 Ford to Farmer Jones at the 4th St location in 1975, for $20. It had no brakes; we had to deliver it by towing another car which supplied braking power to the whole rig. The buyer claimed it was going to the demo derby up at Super 8 Speedway, so brakes wouldn’t be needed.

jodi aka jo jo
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jodi aka jo jo

Ahh I remember working at Farmers in the early to mid 80s and had becme great friends of Ray Senecal and of course have awesome memories of Farmer who treated me like a son We all have great memories of that place that I will never forget and to this day I still talk about my times there good luck to you Ray

nattyamalia
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nattyamalia

Cheers, thanks for sharing! When I was in college I bought a car at Farmer Jones, a 1980 Dodge Omni. That thing spent more time in the shop then it did on the road.

Ryan Bronoski
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Ryan Bronoski

Bought my second and third cars there, a souped up Mustang and later a more family oriented wagon. Both were junk but the payments were cheap!

Mark B.
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Mark B.

I remember his affinity for Cadillacs and Lincolns. When ever I bought one at auctions I knew I could flip it quick to the Farmer. I remember Fred Deely Cycles. They even had a house brand IIRC.

lavallee
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lavallee

Does any body have pictures of farmers lot on Edmonton trail? Me and my husband both worked there great place.

Gary Monague
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Gary Monague

Also had a lot bottom of Ed. trail at Mem. drive.

Chantelle
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Chantelle

The original farmer jones is my grandpa, and my uncle ray actually ran this location. Was neat to find this post. I remember hanging out here while my mom visited with her brother (Ray). As kids we always got to visit Olivier’s chocolates down the street while we were waiting!

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