Photo by Rick Case via www.news5cleveland.com
South Florida automotive pioneer Rick Case has died from an aggressive form of cancer at the age of 77. Case passed away peacefully in his home, surrounded by family members, a spokeswoman for the family said. Case passed away on Monday, September 21.
Rick Case was originally from Akron, Ohio and his career began at the tender age of 9 thanks to a newspaper route. When Case was 14, he bought a used car, fixed it, and sold it from his parent’s driveway in Akron. At 19, he operated his first used car lot by himself, Moxie Motors in Akron. In 1965, he saw the demand for motorcycles, so he opened up the first Toyota store in 1966.
In 1970, a fire broke out in one of his service departments. When he tried to put it out, an explosion occurred, causing third-degree burns on much of his body. He escaped through a small window and a customer drove him to the hospital. It took him months to recover, so he turned his hospital room into his office, where he held meetings and sales calls.
Rick Case’s first car dealership in Akron, Ohio, USA. Photo: Valerie Zucker / via www.news5cleveland.com
Case started selling Honda vehicles in Akron in 1972, where he became the largest volume dealer in the nation during his first month of business. He still holds the world record for selling the most Honda cars in a single month: 1,222. His legacy is one that still stands in the automotive industry today. When Hyundai was failing in the U.S. market in 1996, he presented the idea of a 10-year 100,000-mile warranty. He said at the time that if he didn’t do something to boost sales and gain consumer confidence, the car brand would leave the U.S. This idea later became a standard warranty for many manufacturers.
Case opened two of the first two Hyundai dealerships in the country when he came to Fort Lauderdale. South Florida soon became his new base of operation, as well as a place he and his family would call home.
Rick Case and his wife Rita were passionate about charity work, donating thousands of dollars over the years to different local charities in the community. The Cases donated to several causes aimed at bettering South Florida. Recently, Rick Case Automotive Group signed a $50,000 check to Feeding South Florida during the coronavirus pandemic. Rick Case was also a huge supporter of Habitat for Humanity of Broward.
The project is proudly called A Rick Case Habitat Community.
The Case family also made it part of their mission to give back to the youth of South Florida. Rick and Rita worked with the Boys and Girls Club of Broward County to better the lives of children across the area.
Rick is survived by his wife of 40 years, Rita, and his children Rick, Ryan and Raquel, as well as five grandchildren. Case met Rita during a Honda convention in 1977. He also leaves behind two daughters-in-law and a son-in-law. Rita released a statement on Tuesday night that read in part, “He was a wonderful husband and loving father. I will miss him so much; he was truly one of a kind and always so positive. I’m so proud of him and thankful to have shared 40 years with such a special, caring, and supportive husband.”
William is the Managing Editor at FloridaInsider.com. His years of experience in journalism, broadcasting and multimedia include roles as a Writer and Web Producer. He graduated from Florida International University with a Bachelor of Science and Communication.