How did Utahns sell their cars before Google? They called Big Tane

Thirty-four years ago, when he was just starting out in the used-car business, Tane Wanlass had an idea.

The tricky part, he’d come to realize, was finding cars in the first place — you couldn’t sell them if you didn’t first buy them — so one day, on a hunch, he walked into the offices of the Newspaper Agency Corp., the advertising arm for the Deseret News and Salt Lake Tribune, and placed a classified ad in section 495, Vehicles Wanted:


Then, like a fisherman wondering if he’d ever get a bite, he sat back to see if anyone would call.

27,000 cars later, his phone is still ringing.

Of course this story has a wistful twist because Salt Lake City’s two daily newspapers stopped printing on an everyday basis at the beginning of this year. The last day Big Tane’s ad ran in section 495 was Dec. 31, 2020, ending a continuous string of 33 ½ years, which may qualify as some kind of record.

But by then he had three-plus decades…

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