03 April 2023

Rental Car Advertisement from 1920

Rent-A-Ford Drive-It-Yourself advertisement, 1923, Salt Lake City

I came across a 1923 advertisement for the Drive-It-Yourself Company found in the 1923 Greeter's Guide of Utah.

Sometimes advertisements catch my attention and I file them away for later. Today I decided I would share this one after some not-so-quick research.

Burton Alvedean Anderson (1882-1962), who went by Burt, established his car rental company “Capital Auto Livery” in about 1916 in Lincoln Nebraska (image 2). A livery is a place where you can stable your horses, and later automobiles.
Capital Auto Livery Co Advertisement
From the Salt Lake Tribune June 8 1930.

Burt’s business ventures in Nebraska were varied and I didn’t want to take the time to thoroughly research it… so fast forward to the 1920s.

By 1920 Burt had established the Drive-It-Yourself Company in both Lincoln Nebraska and Salt Lake City Utah; a few years later a branch in Ogden Utah was established.

He advertised a variety of new touring cars that both locals and tourists could rent for pleasure drives. His business suffered many thefts of cars and embezzlement from an employee.

Burt kept a small apartment in Salt Lake City for a while but he primarily lived in Nebraska with his wife and two children.

Around 1930 the business changed hands (and probably broke away from the Nebraska side) and Dustin G. Pugh was listed as president of the company.

In the 1950s the company pivoted to renting trucks, by the day week, or year.

The last reference I could find of the Drive-It-Yourself Company was in 1960 when they placed a classified ad in the Salt Lake Tribune to sell 10 pickups.

Of note- the location on the advertisement of 35 W 400 South is now a surface parking lot.

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