Yadkin Valley Motor Company

Our 102-year history

Yadkin Valley Motor Co., Inc. of North Wilkesboro was founded March 1, 1915 and is now the oldest existing Ford dealership in the Carolinas.

It is No. 27 in age out of the 3,800 Ford dealerships in the United States.Yadkin Valley started out with selling new Fords, Buicks, Overlands, Franklins, Kings, Indiana trucks, Fordson and Ford tractors, then added the Lincoln Zephyr in 1937, the Mercury in 1939, and the Lincoln in 1981.

The Model T was shipped by rail to the North Wilkesboro depot partially assembled. The employees would get a chassis running, rope the others together, pull them up the hill to 9th and C and assemble them.

There was a corral in the back where horses and cows were kept that were traded in on for Model T vehicles. Andrew F. Kilby, the first generation of the Kilby family, taught many horse riders to drive a vehicle. In the early years, the Model T sold better than the expensive heavy Buicks, Overlands and Franklins. The T would navigate the routed-out muddy roads and ford the creeks better.

Andrew F. Kilby would take several friends with him by train to Flint, Michigan to pick up the new Buicks, and they would drive them back to Wilkes to sell them.

Andrew F. Kilby had originally worked as a payroll clerk and managed the company store for the Giant Lumber Co. that floated logs down the flume to North Wilkesboro. His father-in-law, Pinknew Asbury Lomax, the owner of a farm, Post Office and country store, loaned him the money to go into the Yadkin Valley Motor Co.

Andrew F. and Carl Buchan were good friends. Buchan called on Yadkin Valley to finance cars while he worked for Commercial Credit in 1941. Lucious Lowe's hardware store was across the street from Yadkin Valley which was located at 9th and C streets. Andrew introduced Buchan to Lucious' daughter Ruth. They got married, and Buchan took over Lowe's - and you know what happened after that.

The first building of Yadkin Valley's built in 1915 and is now occupied by Rhoades News Stand. The second one, built in 1917, was next door at Ninth and C Street and is now the Wachovia parking deck. The third building was built in 1946 and is now occupied by Benson Blevins accountants. Yadkin Valley purchased and moved to Second Street to the B&L Cadillac Oldsmobile building in 1966. It was destroyed by fire in 1973, and a new building was erected.

Yadkin Valley also operated Ford dealerships in West Jefferson in 1920 and Elkin in 1939.

Yadkin Valley has sold thousands of vehicles in its 98-year history to four generations of families and multiple businesses. New vehicles have been sold to Lowe's and shipped to every state in the U.S. except Hawaii. Four generations of Kilby's have sold Ford since 1915: 2nd generation Bud Kilby, who is 87 and works 6 days a week, and his son, John Kilby, 3rd generation and General Manager, and his son, John Kilby Jr., who came to work after ASU, is now the 4th generation Kilby at Yadkin Valley Motor.