Saturday, February 11, 2012

Black History Month: R.L. Dukes Oldsmobile

[VIDEO] The video above is an ad from R.L. Dukes Oldsmobile "The Dealmaker" commercial from 1982. They once resided at 78th & State Street back in the day. If you can't visualize this corner, this is where Northern Trust Bank is now!

This blog post at Chicago Now noted the Black-owned car dealerships that had existed in Chicago. This is "The Vociferous Envoy" said about R.L. Dukes Oldsmobile:
His GM counterpart was Rufus L. Dukes, better known as R.L. Dukes, who first had Thomas Beckley Dodge on west 63rd Street back in the 1950's one of the first African American Dealers in the country. He then was better known for R.L. Dukes Oldsmobile on 78th & State in Chatham. He called himself "The Dealmaker" you may remember the TV commercials as late as the 1980's. My grandparents lived at 78th & Wabash at that time and though a small child, I remember riding past the dealership and being a kid who loved cars, marveled at the store and the inventory. Mr. Dukes passed in 1987.
A personal connection with this dealership involved my father. He liked to look at cars often whether old or brand new. He was also a verifiable Oldsmobile man and he'd probably be crushed to know that the brand was discontinued. Anyway he once came home with a car from R.L. Dukes but my mother forced him to take the car back and they did! Although I'm sure he successfully bought a vehicle from that particular dealer at least once before that.


  1. Thanks for using my quote, great commercial and well done blog.

  2. Thank you very much for your article honoring my grandfather! He was a great man and continues to be missed.

  3. Well its a "shame" we do not have " Black Owned dealerships here in Chicago anymore!! We just have 'crooks&Low down white dealerships& Mexicans etc., that sale you lemons& limes "Cars&Vans&SUV Only in America! And the Windy-City of Chicago. My kind of Town!


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