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Mike Salta, longtime Hawaii auto dealer dies

By Erika Engle

LAST UPDATED: 3:08 p.m. HST, Jul 8, 2014

Mike Salta, a longtime Hawaii car dealer and the owner of numerous island dealerships, died on Tuesday at his home in California. He was 91.

Born Michele "Mike" Fiore Saltalamacchia in Portland, Ore., in 1923, Salta served in the U.S. Coast Guard during World War II, and in the early 1950s, then opened his first used car dealerships.

In the subsequent years he became among the nation's first mega-car-dealers west of the Mississippi and later, one of the largest in the country, according to a statement from his family.

Franchises bearing his name in Hawaii sold vehicles from Pontiac, Lincoln, Mercury, Isuzu and Daihatsu.

The last of his franchised dealerships -- spread across California, Oregon, Arizona and Hawaii -- were sold in 2004.

A memorial service will be held on July 16 in Palm Desert, Calif. Family members ask that in lieu of flowers, contributions be made to the Eisenhower Medical Center in Rancho Mirage, Calif., or the Sacred Heart Catholic Church.

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