Kelly Dicker, the owner of Wine Country Motors, grew up in the automotive field; his father, Doug Dicker, was a former car salesman and long-time car dealer in Northern California. As a teenager, Kelly began as a detailer and later gravitated to the mechanical end of things. He paid for his college education by working as a journeyman mechanic and later became the service manager of Napa Valley Motors. When that dealership was sold to a new owner who emphasized sales and disdained service (and even required that the service staff wear coats and ties!), Kelly decided it was time to start his own business.

Wine Country Motors was established on April 15, 1982, in a one-car garage behind Courtesy Ford on Soscol Avenue in Napa. Wayne Ralston, the head Fiat technician at Napa Valley Motors, made the move with Kelly. The customers who followed them, and the ones who came after, made it possible for the business to expand.

In July of 1982, Wine Country moved into its permanent home at 755 Sixth Street, just off Soscol Avenue, near the Napa Town & Country Fairgrounds. The building had been used in earlier days to overhaul railroad cars -- the tracks were still visible in the concrete floor -- but it had been vacant for three years. There was no electricity except for two overhead lamp fixtures. It took a lot of hard work to wire, plumb, and furnish the facility.

Today, two building expansions later, Wine Country Motors has 4,500 square feet of inside space, and 10 employees. We still maintain the same philosophy that we had when we started: that the customer deserves the best service that we can offer, for a fair price.


Wayne Ralston spent 20 years as a mechanic in Florida before moving to the Los Angeles area. There he worked for Peter Satori Motors, the Rolls Royce and Jaguar franchise which also dealt in Fiat and Alfa-Romeo. He moved to Napa in the early 1970's and became the Fiat technician at Napa Valley Motors in 1973.

Wayne was a remarkable man. With roots in Southern dirt track and drag racing, he was a master technician who could fix just about anything. He was also a marvelous teacher who willingly gave of his time to help others progress in the trade. Without his help, Wine Country Motors could not have become what it is today. Four years ago Wayne retired, and he and his family moved back to Florida. His many friends were saddened to hear of his death in December of 1996, of a brain tumor.

We at Wine Country Motors offer our deepest sympathies to Wayne's wife, Irene, and his sons, Keith and Jerry. He was a skilled mechanic, a gifted storyteller, and a loyal friend, and he will be greatly missed by all who knew him.

Here's to you, Wayne-o! Keep those heavenly Fiats running until we get there!

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