Allied Equipment

It is not surprising that many businesses along Fourth Street in the heyday of U.S. 40 dealt in some way with automobiles and related supplies. But one in particular brought to Reno some of the most iconic vehicles of the mid-20th century.

Allied Equipment moved into a new warehouse at 545 E. 4th Street in 1937. The business served as a distributor for everything from trucks, tractors, and other farm equipment to snow plows and illuminated street and highway control signals.

In 1945 the business sold to Phil Tovrea, a Phoenix businessman who was already the Arizona and New Mexico distributor for Willys-Overland Motors, manufacturers of the “peace-time Jeep.” The company had developed the sturdy Jeep for military use during World War II. The vehicle’s peacetime version, introduced in 1945, was expected to find a worldwide market as a farm and industrial tractor, truck, and mobile power unit, as well as a “general roundabout.”

The arrival of Reno’s first peacetime Jeep was such a momentous occasion that then-mayor Harry Stewart immediately took it for a spin, his dog perched jauntily on the back seat.

In 1950, Tovrea sold his operation, which also included a repair shop, to Wesley J. Gritton, the local Hudson and Studebaker dealer. One loyal customer was the Reno police department, which bought the occasional Hudson sedan there.

The building was later devoted to various auto and electric shops and, in later years, Blue Seal Transmission Center and Sipe’s Antiques. It currently houses Cuddleworks, home to artist studios, a coffee roaster, and the Bootleg Courier Company.

Images

Allied Equipment, 1937

Allied Equipment, 1937

For eight years, Allied Equipment sold a vast array of vehicles out of the warehouse. Image courtesy of Reno Evening Gazette View File Details Page

The Universal Jeep, 1945

The Universal Jeep, 1945

The Tovrea Equipment Company dealt in farm equipment as well as the Willys-Overland civilian Jeep. Image courtesy of Reno Evening Gazette View File Details Page

"Mayor Pilots Peacetime Jeep"

"Mayor Pilots Peacetime Jeep"

The first of the "Peace-Time Jeeps" to arrive in Reno, distributed by the Tovrea Farm Equipment Co., was given a trial run with Mayor Harry Stewart at the wheel in October 1945. Photo courtesy of Reno Evening Gazette View File Details Page

Hudson dealership, 1950

Hudson dealership, 1950

When he took over the space in 1950, Wesley J. Gritton added Hudsons to the lineup of automobiles for sale. Image courtesy of Reno Evening Gazette View File Details Page

Cuddleworks, 2014

Cuddleworks, 2014

Today the building's 5,000-square foot warehouse has been converted into a multi-use space including a dispatch center for the Bootleg Courier Company, Magpie Coffee Roasters, art studio space, a wood shop, and metal shop. Photo by Alicia Barber View File Details Page

Street Address:

545 East 4th Street, Reno, NV [map]

Cite this Page:

Alicia Barber, “Allied Equipment,” Reno Historical, accessed May 28, 2017, http://renohistorical.org/items/show/90.
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