Soland “Don” Doenges was in high school in 1918 when he worked for the Studebaker garage in Tonkawa, Oklahoma. He then moved on to the Ford dealership where he washed, and lubed cars and worked in the Parts department.
In 1924, he moved to Oklahoma City, and received his education at the university there while working 10-hour shifts at a Ford dealership. Don moved into the truck contracting business in Odessa, Texas. From Texas it was on to Arizona to build roads for the mining industry, then back to Oklahoma, where he signed a note to liquidate and take over the bankrupt Ford dealership in Tonkawa.
In 1935, he moved to Miami, Oklahoma to manage a corporate-owned Ford dealership. While there, he accepted the offer from Merl Long, a successful Ford man from Oklahoma, to purchase Vollmer Brothers Ford in Colorado Springs. There was a provision that would create an opportunity for Long’s son, Phil, to enter the business when he completed his World War II duty.
Don moved to Denver in 1958, after Ford encouraged him to establish a new Ford store at First Avenue and Havana Street in growing Aurora. Phil Long eventually bought out Don’s part of the Colorado Springs business in 1963.
Don recruited Wendell Glass, who had a fine reputation in the auto business in Ohio, and they operated Doenges-Glass Ford in Aurora. Mike Naughton and his father, John Naughton, purchased the business in 1984.
Five names sum up the history of Ford dealerships in Colorado Springs, and Don Doenges was one of them. Don was Colorado’s nominee for the 1983 TIME Magazine Quality Dealer award. When he retired from the business, Don and his wife Helen returned to Colorado Springs.