First Ford Motor Company dealer


The first Ford dealer was William L. Hughson who opened his dealership, Standard Motor Car Co., in San Francisco, CA on January 15, 1903. 

Hughson was born in Buffalo NY, 1868. As a young man, he and a friend decided to travel West, eventually landing in San Francisco in 1889. To make ends meet Hughson sold at various times bicycles, carriage axles, hardware, batteries, and finally automobiles. According to his oral history, Hughson met Henry Ford at a Bicycle Show in Chicago in 1902 where they discussed selling cars. Later that year, Hughson met with Ford and James Couzens in Detroit to start an agency and order cars. Hughson ordered $5,000 worth of vehicles, but had trouble selling them and ended up renting most of them out as taxi cabs. By 1906 however, the cars were selling much better and Hughson became established as a dealer. Hughson remained close to Ford throughout the years, visiting him in Detroit and Dearborn and hosting the Fords when they came out to California.  During his years as a dealer, Hughson sold Ford, Lincoln, Mercury, and tractors. He not only ran his own dealership but also started a network of dealers, eventually 120 dealers were associated with his name across the Pacific and Hawaiian Island District. Hughson passed on in 1967.



  • Small Accessions
    • Acc. 90 William L. Hughson papers, 1907-1967
      • box 1
        • Financial Summary of Dealership, 1903-1944
        • Photostat of Letter from Mrs. Henry Ford, 1911
        • Speech to Own Organization, 1940
        • Speech at 1939 World's Fair
  • Acc. 6 Edsel B. Ford Office Papers
    • box 2 H (includes Hughson, William, re: original 999)
    • box 24 Wm. L. Hughson (EBF's acceptance of "999" car; detailed letter of writer’s travels in South America in a "Henry Ford" car written by Captain R.D. Adams – includes photos; Wm. Morgan re: 999 bill of lading for shipping from New Jersey)
    • box 70 HO-HY (includes William L. Hughson re: car sales in San Francisco)   
    • box 82 HU (includes William L. Hughson re: President Hoover and Lincoln car promotion)
    • box 91 (includes William L. Hughson, copy of Ford News, July 1933)   
    • box 116 HUB-HUT (includes William L. Hughson re: 100 Car Group celebration)
    • box 152 HUB-HUT (includes W.L. Hughson, sponsorship of East-West game, dealership sales report)
  • Acc. 185 Tractor Correspondence and Reports Series
    • box 4 Financial Statements and Reports; Wm. L. Hughson Company, San Francisco, California (45), 1919
  • Acc. 62 Henry Ford Office Papers
    • box 89 Ford Motor Company; Dealers - William H. Hughson (San Francisco)
  • Acc. 285 Henry Ford Office Papers
    • box 106 H80 T-Z (includes W. L. Hughson of San Francisco, re: "old 999" (photograph)
    • box 177 Los Angeles, CA (includes re: William L. Hughson of San Francisco)
    • box 1621 HUG (includes William L. Hughson, San Francisco Dealer since 1903)
  • Acc. 536 Public Relations Research Library Press Releases
    • box 46 Photographs; Hughson, William L.
    • box 61 Hughson, William L. Photographs
  • Acc. 1660 Photographic Vertical File, Racing Addendum
    • box 2 Race Cars – Ford 999 - Hughson, William L., ca. 1911-1957

Ford Times

  • (Cover photo) v.3, n.17 p.363 (also note on page) 369
  • Investigating Auto Conditions in Alaska v.3, n. 21 p.464
  • "He Sold Fords in 1903," v.54, n.7, July 1961. p.46

Ford News

  •  "Ancient" Fords Feature Show, 1:15:7:44
  • Western Dealer Opens New Plant, 1:3F:7:1, 1:21L:7:14
  • Echoes of Ford World:... (Fordson tractor), 1:6F:1+:3
  • Ford Notes: Los Angeles (Gives purchasers city and state traffic laws), 1:16F:1+:4, 2:10L:1+:4
  • Students Inspect Branch Plant, 2:1F:7:1-2, 2:19L:7:1-2
  • Ford Owners to Have Night School, 2:5F:4:1, 2:23L:4:1
  • Employe's Picnic, 2:8F:4:1-4, 3:2L:4:1-4
  • Sales Record for California Made, 2:10F:3:1, 3:4L:3:1
  • Monthly Sales Mark for Pacific Coast..(Concedes to another dealer), 2:11F:4:1-3
  • Ford World News: Los Angeles (Subscription campaign), 2:12F:1+:2, 3:6L:1+:2
  • Ford World News: San Francisco (Host for ladies' club), 2:20F:4:4, 3:14L:4:4
  • Twenty Years a Ford Dealer, 3:2F:4:4, 3:20L:4:4
  • No. 9,999,999 Meets Old '999' on Track, 4:1F:6:1-3, 4:19L:6:1-3
  • Los Angeles Has Dearborn Day (Sell subscriptions to movie stars), 5:2L:5:2
  • Contest to stimulate battery sales, 5:9L:6:3
  • Sales Force Demonstrates Sturdiness of Sedan (In Portland, OR), 7:3L:6:1-3
  • Argentine Polo Players and Ford Cars, 11:5:59:2-3
  • Interesting Bits of News (Window display), 12:1:2:1-2
  • News Among the Ford Dealers (Oldest Ford Dealer), 12:2:18:2
  • It Came-They Saw-It Conquered (new Ford Four), 12:6:5:3
  • Introducing The New Ford V-8 For 1934, 13:12:223+:1-2
  • First on San Francisco Bay Bridge (V-8 Station wagon), 15:12:230:2-3
  • Ford Dealers at Dallas (Texas Centennial Exposition). 16:11:208+:1-2
  • The World Comes To Treasure Island (27,000,000th Ford car), 19:3:51:1-2
  • The 27,000,000th Car Returns To Treasure Island, 19:8:181+:1-3
  • We See By The Papers: San Francisco (27,000,000th car), 20:1:22:3
  • At The Ford Expositions (1940 - oldest dealers), 20:7:147+:1-3
  • A Birthday Is Celebrated (Attends company's anniversary at World's Fair), 20:8:171+:1-3
  • Ford Day At The Fair (Ford Motor Company's anniversary), 20:8:173:1-2
  • Midsummer At The Fairs (1940-100 Car Dealer's Meeting), 20:9:195+:1-3  

Rouge News

  • The oldest Ford dealer, 1(4) July '46:2:3

Oral Histories

Vertical File

  •   Hughson, William L. (Billy)
  • Last Updated Mar 27, 2024
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