Saturday, March 13, 2010

Adler Auto Parts

BJ has a question:

I'm happy to keep the most popular blog going with a question that seems most appropriate to be asked in this column. I recently crossed paths with a New York native who said her father grew up in Flint and worked for Adler Auto Parts. I lived in Flint for 32 years before moving out east but I don't recall the store. Does she have the wrong city for her dad's birth, or can a fellow Flintoid out there jog my memory?


  1. Maybe not a retail store, but rather a manufacturer?

    Adler is a fairly well known maker of aftermarket/replacement brake and clutch cylinders and related hydraulic components. At present I think they concentrate on parts for several Japanese makes. Maybe in the past they made OEM parts, and had a Flint sales office to service the GM account?

    Alternately, maybe at that time Adler had a plant somewhere around Flint, and he worked for them at the manufacturing location.

  2. In the mid 70s, when we were sixteen, two friends and I pooled our paper route coinage to buy a 1948 DeSoto as our shared first car. We had a great time with the beast, but of course it needed constant tinkering to keep it reasonably road worthy. Finding parts was an adventure in and of itself, which led us to discover a small, time worn, auto parts store on North Saginaw street, having shelves filled exclusively with obsolete, and very dusty, old stock. (It was the kind of place where it was so quiet you could hear the clock ticking on the wall).

    If my memory serves me, it was called Adler Auto Parts. The sole attendant at the counter was a grandfatherly man that had to be in his 70s. We assumed he was Mr. Adler. He patiently advised us on selecting the proper parts to service our old bomb, even though I think he was initially a bit wary/incredulous/annoyed/impressed that three long haired teenagers would walk into his store, interested in purchasing a part of his precious inventory.

    This may not be the same Adler Auto Parts to which you are referring, but I will always remember the name and look upon the experience as sort of a generational passing of the torch, which encouraged me to pursue the collector car hobby that I still am involved with to this day. Thanks Mr. Adler, wherever you are.

  3. Adler Auto parts was on N saginaw and you probably are describing Louis Adler.His brother owned Northside auto parts also on N. Sag.Two very fine and devout men.Benny would instantly tell you how much change you had coming much like todays cash registers do.I think louis store was almost to Mt. Morris Bennys was inside flint near carpenter Rd.


Thanks for commenting. I moderate comments, so it may take a while for your comment to appear. You might enjoy my book about Flint called "Teardown: Memoir of a Vanishing City," a Michigan Notable Book for 2014 and a finalist for the 33rd Annual Northern California Book Award for Creative NonFiction. Filmmaker Michael Moore described Teardown as "a brilliant chronicle of the Mad Maxization of a once-great American city." More information about Teardown is available at