Walter W. Stillman

Inducted 1987

Distinguished Service Citation Award 1986

Served as President of Stillman & Hoag Buick, one of New Jersey’s leading automobile dealerships, from 1937 through 1961

Introduced short-term automobile rentals to the public in the 1940s

Served as Director of the National Automobile Dealers Association from 1968 through 1975

Walter Stillman’s ingenuity combined with his belief in the Golden Rule earned him respect and success in his community and in the automotive industry. At age 16, Stillman became a mechanic at his father’s dealership. Leaving the dealership to earn a degree from Cornell University and to serve in the Army, Stillman later rejoined his father’s dealership. Advancing into sales just before the start of the Great Depression, Stillman ingeniously developed new selling strategies, often displaying new cars at the local railroad station to showcase them for train passengers.

Since new cars were still a novelty to many families, he even went door-to-door, inviting families to come outside for a demonstration ride. Following World War II, when new vehicles were scarce, Stillman introduced the concept of renting cars for special occasions. An advocate of strong business ethics, Stillman practiced what he believed: “The purchase of a new automobile, that is surely a major event in the day-to-day lives of most families, should be and could be a pleasant and thrilling experience.”

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Class of 1987

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