Hawaii auto dealerBy Russ Lynch
Shelly dies at 61
Tony Shelly, an automobile dealer from New Zealand who followed his father to Hawaii and built a significant dealership in the islands, died Sunday in New Zealand. He was 61.
Shelly acquired the Mazda dealership in 1980. With his partner, Neville Crichton -- a fellow New Zealander -- he bought other dealerships, culminating in the purchase of Oahu's BMW dealership in 1988.
"He was a good businessman. He got upset if anybody in his dealership got a customer upset," said Hardy Hutchinson, who recently retired after 27 years as executive director of the Hawaii Automobile Dealers Association.
"He was somewhat of a class act, always a gentleman," said Hutchinson, who worked closely with Shelly on consumer complaints.
"He was eminently fair whenever there was a dispute."
Shelly served as HADA chairman in 1981 and 1982.
John Capllonch, a sales representative at Windward Ford Mike McKenna's, said he sold Shelly furniture in the 1970s. When Shelly bought the Mazda dealership he recruited Capllonch to sell cars.
"He was a gentleman. He was all for the salesmen. Those were the best years of my life," said Capllonch, who spent 17 years with Shelly.
Shelly's career began in Formula One racing in the 1960s in New Zealand and Europe. His father, Jack Shelly, opened a car dealership in Honolulu in the late 1950s and it was sold when he died in 1976.
Tony Shelly, who became an American citizen in 1975 and divided his time between homes in Honolulu and Taupo, New Zealand, later bought back what had been his father's business.
Shelly is survived by his wife Lesley, who continues to live in Honolulu, and five sons: Damon, Stuart, Mark, Andrew and John.
A memorial service will be held at 5 p.m. Friday, Oct. 16, at the home of Duncan MacNaughton, 4339 Panini Loop, Diamond Head. The family asks that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the Malulani Taupo Hospice Trust, c/o Morgan Coakle Solicitors, P.O. Box 114, Auckland, New Zealand.