Woodward Ave Landmark Closes After 91 years

Vinsetta Garage has been a landmark on Woodward Avenue for nearly a century, but last week the Motor City institution closed its doors. The business first opened in 1919 at its location at Woodward Ave. and Eaton Rd.

Owner Jack Marwil, told a local newspaper that closing his shop was “an excruciating decision,” but a necessary one. “I’ve loved working at this place, but it was time for me to move on. I decided that I’m going to law school, which is something I’ve wanted to do for 30-plus years.”

Renowned for its art deco architecture and vintage gas pumps, the Vinsetta Garage was celebrated as a monument to the ‘50s and ‘60s and as a favored spot for Woodward Dream Cruise drivers and spectators. Rather than sell the garage to a new owner, Marwil expressed interest in allowing it to stand as a historic Berkley location.

Berkley Mayor, Marilyn Stephan, on hearing of the Vinsetta Garage decision, said, “You hate to see an old, established business like this leave the city. It would be wonderful if there were a benefactor who would be willing to restore it.”

A primary concern for Marwil in making this decision was that none of his customers are left out. To that end, he has transferred all records to, and fully endorses Fourth Street Auto Care Center in downtown Royal Oak. On Marwil’s web site, he says, “I wholeheartedly endorse Rick and his staff and charge them with providing the same level of service excellence that you have come to expect from our many years and I remain confident that you will be delighted with the road ahead. Please accept my heartfelt thanks for the honor of having been able to provide you the services that you have come to expect and deserve.”

Marwil’s wife, Mary Kay, died of cancer at the beginning of October. She was 58.

About the author

Gordon McDonald

Gordon's background stems from the print media world. He has extensive knowledge of the entire motorsports industry.
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