John W. Koons

Inducted 1988

Built the nation’s largest volume Chrysler dealership chain from a $350 investment in 1939

Became a Ford dealer in 1963 and built the world’s largest-selling Ford dealership

Even a broken neck couldn’t keep John Koons from success. A swimming accident at age 18 left Koons temporarily paralyzed and dashed his hopes of becoming a doctor. Undismayed, he became a car salesman at a DeSoto-Plymouth dealership. One year later, he owned the place, thanks in part to a loan from his future wife. By the time he sold his business in the late 1950s, Koons had built the largest-selling Chrysler dealership in the nation. In 1959, Koons left the auto industry to become President of Koons Construction and Real Estate Company. He loved the auto business too much, however, and by 1963 he was back in business, owning a Ford dealership that became the world’s largest volume seller of Ford cars and trucks. Despite being known in his community as “King Koons”, there was nothing egotistical about him. Koons once told a reporter: “My motto in business is that I’m not a bit better than a car washer, just more fortunate.”

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Class of 1988

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