As a child, Lloyd H. Swenson developed a knack for sales going door to door selling honey from his father's beekeeping business. One customer prophesied that he would become a car salesman. She was right.
Swenson, who had a passion for cars, made his career in the automobile business, first as a salesman, then as manager and president of the Porsche-Audi dealership in the Twin Cities. In his later years, he realized his dream of owning a car lot, said his daughter, Judie Dupre, of St. Cloud.
Swenson died Dec. 27 of congestive heart failure at the Country Manor Health Care Center in Sartell, Minn. He was 93.
Born the fifth of eight children in 1915 in Spring Valley, Minn., Swenson began his career as a chauffeur for a psychic, later was an over-the-road truck driver and during World War II worked as a private contractor at a military base on Baffin Island.
He entered the Twin Cities automobile scene in the early 1940s and gained respect from fellow dealers and customers alike. He began as a salesman at Ulrich Motors on Central Avenue and a small lot on Lake Street in Minneapolis, but carved out his niche as a top-notch seller in the 1950s while working at Larson Bros. in Minneapolis, where he ascended to the position of manager.
From there, he went to Hennen Chevrolet in Forest Lake; Countryside Motors in Maplewood; served as general manager for Plombon Volkswagen in Eau Claire, Wis.; and was president of Carousel Porsche-Audi in the Twin Cities.
"He was always getting offers from other dealers," Dupre said. "Everywhere he went, he made changes for the better, and people [other dealers] would ask him, 'How do you keep your employees?' He'd say, 'I treat them well; they are my greatest asset.' And his customers would come back again and again. He had their trust."
Swenson realized his dream of owning his own dealership when he bought a Volkswagen business in Ames, Iowa. He later sold that dealership and bought the Honda of Ames dealership, which he ran until he retired at age 80.
He was a member of an antique car club in the Twin Cities and had his own fleet of prized vehicles. Among them were a 1917 Dodge roadster, a Ford Model T from the early 1900s and the first Corvette that arrived in the Twin Cities in 1959, his daughter said.
"He just loved cars," she said.
Swenson also enjoyed fishing on Lake Mille Lacs and pulling his grandsons and visitors to his lakeside cabin on water skis, Dupre said.
In addition to his daughter, Swenson -- who was preceded in death by his wife, Gladys -- is survived by two grandsons and three great-granddaughters. Services have been held.