Officially, this dealership came to life with
the signing of its BMW franchise agreement in October 1968. But
real story began twelve years earlier when Otto and his young family walked
to freedom across the briefly
border separating Soviet- occupied Hungary and Austria. It was a moment of
by the short-lived and ill-fated uprising in the fall of 1956, and Otto made
the most of it.
was a bold move, one that required leaving everything - and everyone -
behind. It meant living in a Red
refugee camp until the day arrived when they were flown by military transport
to an airfield just north
New York City. There they were met by an Indian chief in full regalia who
presented the émigrés with a
offering of corn. The symbolism was auspicious and appropriate, for like
millions before and since,
and his family had come to this country to make a new start.
first step into American life was made possible by a generous Hungarian
businessman from Philadelphia,
arranged for temporary housing for ten families in nearby Upland and got a
job for Otto in a machine
in Brookhaven. After a few years and a brief partnership operating a two-bay
garage in Chester, Otto
to Eddystone to open his own repair facility in the lower level of a building
that ultimately became
was a fortunate day when a representative from Hoffman Motors, the sole U.S.
importer for BMW, walked
Otto's shop and offered him a franchise. With the encouragement of his
daughter, Lisa, who was helping
the business, financing was arranged and the deal was signed. Life as a BMW
dealership had begun.
next pivot point occurred in 1969 when Lisa married Michael Vadasz, a
childhood friend who had
from Hungary the previous year. Upon arriving in the United States, Michael
utilized his training by
a position as a mechanical engineer - and, in the process, learning English.
In January 1972, he joined
as its first and only Sales Advisor, while Lisa worked in the office and her
brother, John, partnered with
on the service and repair side of the operation. It was a modest undertaking
at that point, but filled with
BMWs were becoming noticed, and Otto's was quickly developing a reputation as
the dealer of
for the high performance enthusiasts who loved these amazing machines.
time passed, the popularity of BMWs soared and Otto's cadre of loyal
customers continued to grow - to the
where a new facility was the only option. That prompted the purchase of the
four-acre tract on Rt. 202,
of the current West Chester dealership, which opened in 1978. Significant
expansion and upgrades to the
occurred in 1984 and 2002, including the introduction of a MINI franchise. In
March 2008, Otto's
its operation once again by opening a BMW dealership on Rt. 30 (Lancaster
Pike) in Exton. It wasn't
however, before a dramatic increase in MINI sales and service made it clear
that more space was needed.
a result, the Exton property was completely renovated from the ground up, and
in November 2011, opened
a dedicated MINI dealership serving clients throughout the region.
the third generation now actively involved in its operation and management,
Otto's MINI continues to
on the dream of its founder.