Member of the Auto Value network, the story of Fredericton Auto Parts starts in 1904.
That year, William E. Vaughan (W. E.) moved to Fredericton as manager of Smith Foundry Co. An article published in “Cars of Canada” by Danford Bacchler, tells of how W. E. Vaughan and a friend, in 1911 drove a Hupmobile from Fredericton to Saint John in the dead of winter. The trip had never been made before. However, they didn’t use the road, but went down the frozen surface of the Saint John River.
In 1914, W.E. Vaughan and A.B. Kitchen opened Vaughan and Kitchen (automobile sales and repairs) on Campbell Street in downtown Fredericton, now the site of the Westmorland Street Bridge. In 1919, W.E.’s brother, Captain John Vaughan joined the firm and the name was changed to Capital Garage. Capital Garage became distributors for Stanley Steamer and agents for Hudson, Studebaker and Chevrolet cars.
In the early years, W. E., a boat builder as well as mechanic, built a steamboat in Springfield, New Brunswick called the “Escota,” which was frequently seen plying the waters between Fredericton and Woodstock. Many more powerboats were built for local races with Pete Vaughan racing at the A & B Boat Club, and in later years, Jack Vaughan’s son Carl driving the infamous “Miss Willys”.
In the 1930’s, a new garage was built across the street at 355 Campbell St., and son Jack, who previously operated Jack’s Service Station, joined the firm. In 1935, the Vaughan family started a bus service called Capital Transit and throughout the years sold Hupmobile, Grey Dort, Roosevelt, Nash, Reo, Packard, Morris, Triumph, Jaguar, Vanguard, Mercedes, Willys, and Volkswagen automobiles.
During World War II, W. E. was commissioned to build mine sweepers in St. Andrews, under the name of Vaughan Shipbuilding Co. Several were built, but in July of 1944, the company was destroyed by fire.
In 1946, Jack expanded the parts business and relocated to Phoenix Square under the name Auto Machinery & General Supply Co. Ltd. In 1952, Auto Machinery constructed a building at 355 Campbell St.
In 1957, Jack’s son Ronald, a civil engineer by profession, joined the firm. In 1959, Ron’s brother Carl came to work at Auto Machinery.
In 1965, Ron formed Eastern Automotive Warehousing Ltd. with Peter Wilkins and Gerald Phillips to handle the wholesale warehousing and distribution to jobber accounts.
Ron’s son Douglas joined the firm in 1973 after graduating from Rothesay Collegiate and was critical in the growth of the company.
In 1975, the land for the Vaughan business was expropriated for the Westmorland Street Bridge, and Capital Garage was closed. Auto Machinery moved to the Fredericton Industrial Park.
In 2002, Doug’s son David, a graduate of Stratton Mountain School in Vermont and two-time Junior World Snowboard Champion decided to retire from the Canadian National Team and join his father and grandfather. David then became the Vice-President and has been honored by winning regional and National Awards in the Automotive Industry.
Auto Machinery was in 2014 the largest automotive store in the Maritimes with over 55 employees at the headquarters in Fredericton. In 2007 an addition of 15,000 square feet was added which includes one if the most modern material handling systems in the country.
In 2014, John Del Vasto, President of Vast-Auto Distribution and David Vaughan, Vice President of Eastern Automotive Warehousing, announced that they have formed a strategic partnership through the acquisition of the business operations of Eastern Automotive Warehousing. The newly formed entity, Vast-Auto Distribution Atlantic, will be responsible for all distribution activities in the Atlantic Provinces. As for Auto Machinery, it became known as Fredericton Auto Parts. The change of name meant opening as part of larger network, but without forgetting the rich past of the company. This change did not affect the quality of service that the customers from the Atlantic provinces were used to get. In addition to that, as a sign of continuity, many loyal and long-term employees still continue to serve customers like they always did.