LeBaron Bonney Company, one of the auto industry’s oldest manufacturers of interior soft trim for antique cars, has filed for bankruptcy, according to a court filing.
Repeated calls to LeBaron Bonney Company went unanswered on Friday. Attorney Joshua Burnett, who represents the company, also did not return requests for comment.
LeBaron Bonney Company has deactivated its website and most of its social media accounts. What’s more, owner Scott Holbrook’s email address is not functioning.
According to LeBaron Bonney Company’s Chapter 7 court filing, it has assets valued at $500,000 to $1 million, as well as liabilities valued the same.
Chapter 7 is the strictest form of bankruptcy under the Federal Bankruptcy Code. While Chapter 11, 12 and 13 allow for some form of adjustment or restructuring of debts, Chapter 7 mandates that assets be sold to repay debtors.
In most cases, Chapter 7 bankruptcy will close a business for good, as it no longer possesses assets to operate.
News of LeBaron Bonney Company’s bankruptcy comes as a surprise to industry insiders, who’ve noted the company’s recent plans to expand its operation. In 2018, LeBaron Bonney Company was granted approval to open a new plant in Wilton, Maine.
Prior to its closing, the company’s website boasted: “Many of our 35 employees have been with the company over 30 years.”
A storied history
Brothers Lee and Jack Atherton founded LeBaron Bonney Company in 1938 as a bicycle rental business in Cape Cod, Massachusetts. As time passed, the business transitioned to selling maps, model sail boats and other handcrafted accessories. After World War II, the company began producing furniture and providing household upholstery services.
In 1959, Lee purchased a 1930 Model A Deluxe Roadster to restore with his son Barry. While Lee took care of the mechanical repairs, a local auto shop handled the body and paint. However, Lee had a difficult time finding an auto upholstery shop to restore the interior.
When furniture upholsterers at LeBaron Bonney Company suggested they could try duplicating the car’s top and interior trim, Lee agreed. They did such a great job that other Ford owners began asking if his team could upholster their cars.
As demand grew, Lee saw an opportunity to manufacture a line of pre-fabricated interior upholstery kits that hobbyists could install themselves. The company grew from there.
Until recently, LeBaron Bonney Company sold everything from seat covers to carpets in their online store. The store was a go-to destination for auto enthusiasts across the world.
It’s unclear if LeBaron Bonney Company will continue to exist in some form after bankruptcy proceedings are complete. The process can take up to six months.
This is a very sad time for the old car hobby but the computer and the young help that ran it made it almost impossible to buy or order anything from them , I would call them and if they couldn’t find it easy on the computer they would say we don’t have it. Not any old employees left with the knowledge needed. I hope someone picks up the pieces.
Dale Watson , Skowhegan, Maine
Tom Rogers says
I’ve had an order with them since December 2018 for a complete interior kit for my 1936 Ford 4 Door Deluxe. Now what do I do!!??
Natalie D. says
Hi Tom, we are in the exact same situation for a 32 Coupe. Have you gotten any answers? This is such a shame. Best wishes.
Tom Rogers says
No answers. I couldn’t get returned phone calls so sent a snail mail letter. Then found out they closed their doors. Lucky I received my sunvisors back in February. I did pay for them but not the complete kit.. I’m checking with Ecklers now. Waiting for a sample chart.
Russ Clifton says
Sad news indeed for the old car community, I had paid and was partial shipped a complete interior for my 31 Dlx Tudor. I am missing the headliner.
Dan Plaizier says
They shipped my 31 roadster pickup top to me, but just patterns for the side curtains. I need the material to match the top, it is T-39 tan. Any ideas as to how to get material to match?
For those who made a deposit on their order with a credit card, contact the credit card company for a credit. I had a $1,600 deposit (VISA) on my interior kit order and received a full credit based on non-delivery of product.
Now I’m looking at Mac’s Auto Parts to see if they can come close to what LB would have provided.
Best of luck!
Hoping they work out the issues and get back on their feet!
Dennis Siciliano says
I order a seat cover in March didn’t know they close . I guess won’t be getting it .
samuel cebrero says
lost my whole interior deposit for a 1936 buick special what now
George Rawlings says
Was just getting ready to order a headliner kit and all cardboard for a 1940 Ford “Opera” Coupe. Previous LB kits I have used were perfect! So sad at this news.
ge dryer says
somewhere along the line, management MUST have fell in bed with some very bad people, who were stealing this good company blind..someone needs to do a check on what mafia outfit was holding this good company for ransom..hope some of the younger employees realize what a good product they have, and start up again; this time with a shotgun near the door..
I’m looking for the 1932 Chevrolet coupe deluxe interior kit. Is this something your company can produce ? Thank you