Lieschke Motors - Walla Walla & Holbrook: Classic Restos - Series 47
Fletch travels down the Hume Highway to Walla Walla, north of Albury, to the birthplace of D E Lieschke Motors in 1923. Starting as a motor garage, then adding a dealership for Willys-Overland Whippet in 1926, and later for Essex and a sub-agent for the Model T Ford before becoming a fully-fledged GM dealership in 1948.
There have been four generations of the Lieschke family over the journey. The business still resides in the same building, with some modifications to conform with GMH Dealer guidelines. Retired Dealer Principal Cecil Lieschke reflects on some of the most exciting times; the standout was the release of the first Holden in October 1948. Cecil recalls, "Interest was so strong that there was a 2-year waiting list, you didn't have to sell cars". The strength of the Holden brand resonated for years, and the theme ' kangaroos, meat pies and Holden cars' still recalled today. The workshop was the hub of the dealership, with seven mechanics on duty; they had a policy of always having two apprentices to maintain the region's mechanical skills. Something that has lasted the journey is a model of a policeman that first adorned the top of the building's front verandah in 1923; the same model sits proudly on the front of Lieschke Motors today. Its reference is to Walla Walla being a one policeman town.
The Lieschke Holden Dealerships in Walla Walla and its sister town of Holbrook are today very active motor workshops, servicing everything Holden. The former car showrooms proudly display several iconic models that graced their showrooms in the past, including a 1927 Whippet originally sold in Walla Walla and repurchased after a life as a chicken coup before being restored in Geelong. A VH Group 2 SS Commodore and a VL Group A SS Commodore, both traded in and retained by the dealership, together with a 1956 FJ Holden. They also have several iconic Holdens at Holbrook, including a one-owner HK Monaro 'Bathurst Edition' with a 253 V8 4-speed gearbox with only 17,000 miles on the clock and in original condition, except for the wheels.
Whether in Walla Walla or Holbrook, the Lieschke name means a lifetime of automotive sales and service delivered by four generations of the Lieschke family.