Gary Drewing, known for his auto sales and positive attitude, dies at 74 | Missouri Life Story
The offices of Drewing Automotive and its counterparts were a little calmer this week after the death of founder and local auto mogul Gary Drewing.
“My father had an open door policy. You could always reach him no matter if he went to his office (or) called through the switchboard,” Rusty Drewing said. “I mean, that doesn’t exist in today’s world.”
Gary Drewing, a mid-Missouri auto sales pioneer and one of the masterminds behind Joe Machens, died Jan. 28. He was 74 years old.
With the help of his son Rusty, Gary Drewing built an auto dealership empire in central Missouri that brought thousands of new jobs to the area over the years.
“My dad’s philosophy was always ‘You do what’s right.’ And that applies to charitable donations, it applies to customers, it applies to everything: “You’re doing the right thing,” Rusty Drewing said.
Gary Drewing was born on November 26, 1947 in St. Louis to Fred and Virginia Rehg Drewing. He also had two sons, Gary Jr. and Rusty. Growing up, he attended Christian Brothers College High School, where he became an All-American guard, with multiple D-1 offers from schools like Notre Dame and MU.
After spending some time at MU, he went to St. Louis University and earned a degree in Accounting and Marketing before going on to receive a Masters in Business Administration. Sometime between bachelor’s and master’s, he married Virgina “Ginny” Hespen Drewing.
After college, Gary spent time working with the Ford Motor Company in St. Louis before moving to Jefferson City, where he became the general manager of Capital City Ford in 1982. He would eventually use this prestigious title to form a partnership with Joe Machens. , the one that would change his life.
“My dad started working at Joe Machens in 1983,” Rusty Drewing said. “He was introduced to someone there, and the rest is history.”
After a few years of growth and expansion, Joe Machens quickly became a central Missouri powerhouse.
“Columbia’s Joe Machens Ford Lincoln store has been the number one store in the state since 1997; largest dealer, new and used,” according to Rusty Drewing. “It’s amazing to think that Columbia, Missouri could have such a dominant force. It’s pretty surreal.
Rusty Drewing said he and his dad work great together, having fun growing their brand as a father-son duo.
“I consider myself really lucky because I got to work alongside my dad every day. We worked side by side, he showed me the ropes,” Rusty said. “We made all the big decisions together, and it’s amazing to have a dad who put so much faith in me at such a young age.”
With the growth of its brand, Drewing has donated to many local charities and organizations. He has supported several local Columbia and Jefferson City groups including United Way, Boys and Girls Club, Food Bank, True North and more.
“He didn’t do this for self-promotion or recognition, you know,” Rusty Drewing said. “He did it because he felt in his heart that it was the right thing to do.”
Rusty Drewing said he hopes to continue his father’s legacy and hopes his father will be remembered for his volunteer work and his impact on business and the community.
“He is one of a kind. He will be missed every day, but we plan to carry on his value (and) his legacy in our dealerships,” said Rusty Drewing. “He will never be forgotten.