Returning from Dallas this week, I spotted this 1959 Ranchero in a car lot in Tucumcari, New Mexico. Appropriately enough, the lot faced Old Route 66 (the I-40 Frontage Road). Older than most of us, the years have not been kind to this Ford. This lot contained many more aged and worn Curbside Classics, justifying the time I took to stop and frame up these pics.
This long shot shows about half the inventory. Almost all of the cars were pre-1960 and built by US independent automakers, rather than the big 3.
For example, a Henry J. Based on the sunburned paint and lack of rust on all these cars, I’m assuming most of them were found in the American Southwest.
Joining the Henry J in the front row were multiple Studebakers, an Edsel, a post war Chrysler, and that big sedan behind the light blue Lark. Unfortunately, the proximity of the fence obscured the front row cars, but I climbed into the back of the El Kylemino to get a few close ups shot over the fence.
Kinda sorta. The sign board completely covers up the back of the Lark convertible, the fence post and top rail obscure the sedan, and the Dodge pickup is almost cropped out. However, I included this shot because I’m betting someone can identify the sedan’s make and model. By the way, the Dodge could be the newest model in this lot.
Edsel, Chrysler, and another Studebaker. In the far corner, a 1952 Nash with more Studes, a Willys and Desoto.
And another five Studebakers along the East fence, including a pair of Champ pickups. Based on these photos, I’d say Tucumcari was the Western sales office for Studebaker. In the comments in one of last week’s posts, J. P. Cavanaugh noted Studebaker had a west coast assembly plant. However, it closed before the Lark and Champ came out, so these are definitely South Bend sourced.
But this late forties coupe tucked in the Northeast corner may have been assembled on the West Coast. On either side, even more Larks.
This ’39 Studebaker may also hail from the Studebaker LA plant, and the sign on the building identifies the local dealer. Once I got home, I Googled the name, but only found a Facebook page. Back in 2016 the TV show “Fantomworks” paid a visit, but I don’t know if they brought their cameras.
The aforementioned Nash. Sorry Nash lovers, this is the best shot I have. Keep going though, as I’ve got close ups of the Desoto and Willys Wagon.
This Desoto represents the big three, but at least it’s Chrysler’s first (of several) orphan brands.
In contrast, here’s an orphan brand that maintained a head of steam despite the failure of its parent company. As we all know, Willys morphed through several owners, and went on to make sure Chrysler’s remaining brands remain in business today.
Next to the Willys rests this very sad Henry J, perhaps the roughest car in the lot. We can assume this is the only dealership in America with two Henry Js available for purchase.
Stepping right along, we find another two Larks lurking. I’ve lost count- is that 14 or 15 Studebakers?
Well, it’s not really important. Here we have another Dodge pickup, but a decade or so older than its brother parked on the front row. Next to it is another Nash- For some reason most of these cars come in pairs (except for the Studebakers which came as a flock).
This Corvair was definitely a product of the big three, but as a developmental dead end for GM, fits quite well into this lot of the orphaned and the obscure. Another product of the sixties, it’s also in the running for newest model in the corral.
In the running for the oldest model is this Model A. Wearing neatly tailored threads, I’m reminded that Edsel Ford handled the styling, long before Ford brought out the Edsel parked up in the front row (see what I did there?). Out back, we see a Graham Paige Sharknose, but those signature streamlined headlights have gone missing.
A closer look brings the shark nose into focus, and we can see the fender blister where the original headlights mounted. Somewhere along the line, they have been replaced with traditional sealed beams. Yet another obscure model from our friends at Mother Road Memory Iron.
Well, that completes our whip around of the lot. If you’re interested, I’ve linked to several posts below that take a deeper dive into some of these models.