Stretch Limos...made in Waterville...Really?
The Shop of Siebert Associates, Inc., a company producing stretch limousines, hearses and ambulance vehicles, was once located in Waterville. This company leased the Graf Building, located at 222 Farnsworth Road, formerly Smedlap Smithy Restaurant, in 1951, and used the entire space for their production. This company had a long history, originating in Toledo, Ohio, just off Spielbusch Avenue.
The company was formed in 1853, originally to make buggies, carriages, and wagons for the farming community of Waterville. They were making delivery wagons and hearses in the 1890s, and as motor vehicles evolved in the early 1900s, they motorized some of their products. From 1911 to 1916 they were making a light truck called the Siebert. When Ford Motor Company quickly dominated the auto and light truck market, the Shop of Siebert moved to customize Ford vehicles into delivery trucks, hearses, and stretch limousines by splicing in extra doors on each side and lengthening the frame. These vehicles became quite poplar in the 1930s when Ford introduced its V-8 engine and more aerodynamic styling.
During WW II, defense contractors used Siebert multi-passenger cars to transport defense workers. The Siebert plant made parts for Republic P-47 Thunderbolt fighter airplanes. The post-war boom created a demand for the custom vehicles, especially airport transit limousines, and this forced Siebert to look for more space. The Shop of Siebert was located in Waterville from 1951-1963 and expanded to Whitehouse, at the corner of Route 64 and Cemetery Road, about 1961. The Whitehouse Motors mechanics, usually Norman Bauman, were hired to install the extra front coil springs and correct the alignment. Bud Bauman helped under-coat the body of the cars. Shop of Siebert moved all operations to Inkster, Michigan in May of 1964. The printer’s block, pictured above, was used to produce printed advertisements, as shown below, for the Shop of Siebert vehicles. A small collection of these blocks are in the memorabilia collections at the Wakeman Archival Research Center.