…now don’t forget to pick up your free turkey with your new Dodge!
A Dodge Challenger with a smaller engine than an Omni. How basic was that Aspen if they were featuring the cigarette lighter?
Not the Challenger that you’re thinking of. The 78 was an import. Good old Wheaton Dodge. My parents got their 71 Dart there. Couldn’t kill that car.
Ahh… I’d forgotten those. That also explains the 5 speed! Also kind of interesting to notice that (except for the conversion van) it’s by far the most expensive vehicle in the ad – a cool $1,000 more than an Aspen with the 225.
This was at the point where cars no longer had a cigarette lighter as standard equipment. But, did they have the “power port” that we now have? I think most just stopped including the insert with the heating element in it. You could buy that piece of you wanted one. Soon, nobody did.
The first car I drove – my parents’s ‘74 Maverick – had a chrome blockout plate in the ashtray where the lighter would normally reside. I pried off the plate and found the wiring behind it. I eventually installed one I bought for a few dollars from the local K&B Drugs.
I imagine most cars that didn’t come with a lighter as standard equipment were the same; the wiring was there, but none of the hardware.
……from the local K&B Drugs……
You’re showing your NOLA roots!!
K&B also sold cream cheese ice cream….another NOLA favorite 🤩
We moved to Baton Rouge by the time I drove, but close enough. And K&B cream cheese ice cream is definitely missed!
#YehYouRite, dawlin’ !
No power port. My dad bought a dart 69 or 70. He was a smoker at that time. He folded down the ashtray only to see a round hole where the optional lighter would be. Surprise.
No wonder I never bought a new car back then .
Buy a car and get a free turkey? Throw in a free oven mitt and you’ve got a deal.
I wonder how many people of that era scoffed at the price of the Omni, when a leftover, stripped Aspen from the prior model year could be had for over $600 less? I know my Dad would’ve been one of them.
And Happy Thanksgiving to my fellow U.S. readers (and belated or early wishes to those in other countries).
For some reason this holiday always brings back memories of the P76… 😆
The Omni’s pretty well-equipped for that. No air or automatic (you don’t want the latter…) but the mid-line Custom interior and some exterior trim. Radials aren’t mentioned but were standard on Omnis as was an AM radio.
I linked the Horizon brochure below because it shows the Custom interior and the high-zoot Premium on the same page.
IIRC the Aspen wasn’t overly popular but it was available with a i6 or V8 correct ? .
I’m one of those few who thought the Omni and Horizon’s were O.K. little gas savers, I think I’d rather have an Aspen I think .
Whenever I look at old ads like this I generally marvel at the prices, simplistically of course not accounting for the inflation since then (as that ruins all the fun.) This may be the first one though where I don’t even want to even spend unadjusted dollars from today for those particular cars at those yesteryear prices. Free turkey or not.
I want to guess that the stick shift Aspen was bought by the dealership as a “bait-and-switch” car. I would venture that by 1978, 80+% of Aspens were sold with TorqueFlite automatic. I only ever saw *one* F-body with a manual transmission, and that was a 3+OD.
I saw it in my Driver Education class, in which there were two paths one could study. If a student only had a Learner’s Permit, they took the road portion in automatic F-bodies, but if you started class with license in hand (you’d get an insurance discount for taking the class) you could opt to learn in a 4-door F-body with the floor-mounted 3+OD.
Another domestic inline six with a 2V carburetor I was clueless about:
1979 ASPEN 2 Dr.
225 2 Bbl. Eng.
Yep, I was surprised by the 2 Bdl., but it looks to be accurate.
That’ll be the “Super Six” package offered in the US from ’77 to ’80ish, plus or minus California on some models, maybe a year or three more in Canada. It was good for about 10 per cent more horsepower and vastly better driveability, with equal or better fuel economy.
I was in grad school then, and my whole yearly income couldn’t have bought every new car listed.
I went looking for automotive “Free Turkey” ads–the earliest turned up was Washington DC, 1932:
Oooh, neat topic there — I wonder when free turkeys became a popular incentive?
Here’s one from 1928 from a Tampa, FL Chevrolet dealer:
“Here is your chance to get a Turkey Dinner at Our Expense”
Like your Washington example, this is for used cars only. And I bet that $295 Willys-Knight roadster was pretty interesting.
Also, I hadn’t realized that the “OK” symbol for Chevy dealers’ used cars was in use that long ago. Our local Chevy dealer still had some “OK” signs up until about 10 years ago.
I was guessing it was a Depression-era thing, but I’ve learned that **everything** seems to have been around longer than one would suspect. (I learned recently how old Mitsubishi’s three-diamond logo is—who knew?)
I would have guessed so too, but just from doing a bit of browsing around, it looks like free turkey giveaways (for various products) became popular in around 1925.
My favorites are promotions that would give away free turkeys “live or dressed.” I bet that hasn’t happened in a while…
The 3-diamond logo for Mitsubishi goes back to the company’s origin. The name means “three” (Mitsu) “diamonds” (bishi). *
*Well, actually it’s a little more linguistically complicated than that, but it’s not worth typing it all out. Mitsubishi Corporation has already done that so I’ll just link to their explanation.
Willys-Knight used a sleeve valve engine, I used to have a dealers promotional cut away engine, you’d turn the large knurled knob ad the piston and sleeves went up and down .
Didn’t look like a lasting thing to me .
Here’s a pamphlet showing a cutaway of the Willys-Knight sleeve valve engine:
The AACA Museum in Hershey, PA has a large Stearns-Knight touring car, and next to it is a factory working cut-away of the Stearns-Knight engine.
Since a boy, I have been familiar with how the sleeve valve engines operate, but to see it in action as a full size display is fascinating, and well worth seeing if you are in south central PA.
Here’s a nice video of the car, and a close-up of the display engine in operation.
Never seen a used car ad from back then; not that different than from the seventies or so.
Happy Thanksgiving to you all!
I was in PO playing Paul Bunyan. But I sure could have used a blue ox, to haul up the logs.
Given the mockfodder poor quality of ’78-’79 Dodges, I’m tempted to crack wise about this turkey thing being more of a buy-one-get-one-free deal.
We had the same thought!
Or – buy the turkey and get a free uncooked entree for your Thanksgiving feast. 🙂
A Mopar dealer in 1979 was a pretty grim place. Chrysler had worked extra hard for the prior 5 years to make sure no buyer of their cars would consider buying another. They weren’t perfect at it, but they were pretty successful. Notice that the year-old Colt cost less than the year-old Aspen.
I remember that it was around then that Chrysler was advertising the base Aspen and Volare on network TV as a 6 passenger car that stickered for under $5k ($4,999). The discounting was fierce in those ads.
I remember going to Wheaton Dodge with my folks to look at an Aspen in 1976 (didn’t buy one, fortunately). We did buy a dirt-cheap leftover ’76 Chevette at the Dick Stevens Chevrolet which was next door to Wheaton Dodge.
The Dick Stevens Chevy location ended up being taken for the property needed for the Metro subway. When I heard they were closing, I went to visit the day before they closed. I knew the parts department was filled with obsolete GM stuff, even old promo cars. I was told nothing was available, whatever GM didn’t take back, it all had to go for scrap. No exceptions.
They had two 40′ open top dumpsters out back. I kept checking the place every early evening, and finally one of the dumpsters had goodies everywhere inside. I had my Dodge van and my mechanic Alex with me, so we began loading, but I realized I needed help, so I called a friend with a big box truck. We emptied about half of the stuff out, the other items were either damaged or of no real value.
Came back the next night, and we both filled the 2 trucks. Of course we spent the days unloading items into my big building. The 3rd nite the County police came cruising by, but when I showed them my [expired] Military police and BATFE licenses, and explained what we were doing, trying to save hard to find stuff, and keeping it out of the dump, etc, etc, they told us just don’t get hurt! The 4th evening we drove by and found the dumpster’s emergency chains on the back door, padlocked, and tarps tied over the tops. Never found out if the cops told ’em, or they realized so much stuff was missing!
Stevens Chevrolet had been in business at another location in Wheaton, and moved to the GA. Ave. location in the 1970s, but they brought over ALL their Chevrolet inventory, no matter how old. I found stuff like accessory wheel locks for 1931 Chevrolet side mount and rear mount tires, brand new in the boxes, and there were cases of them! I found case lots of boxed promotional cars going back to about 1954. Chevy stuff was easy to sell, made more than a few wholesale deals from the lot.
Was it the old or new Stevens locations that was taken over by the Metro subway? I remember it being where the Best Buy is now, to the right of the former Wheaton Dodge location which is still a Fitzpatrick dealership – or was it on the other side? I’m not aware of any Metro-related construction there.
First I need to make a correction. It was not Stevens Chevrolet originally, The company was called Tom’s Chevrolet into the 1960s. I don’t remember when the name change happened, and have not been able to find out online when it changed. I’m including a photo of a 1957 postcard for Tom’s Chevy at the original location.
Building the Metro system required a lot of land along the route, even if the underground tubes were not under locations the construction needed, and that location was needed for Metro’s construction.
The location is indeed where the general area of Best Buys is today. I haven’t been there in 25 years, but looking at a map I think your estimate is accurate.
Tom’s Chevrolet’s original location was on the opposite side of Rt 97 [Ga Ave.] and if I remember correctly, in the block between Rt 193 [University Ave W] and Blueridge Ave. The buildings dated back to the early 20th century, and the company needed to expand.
Into the 1990s the original building was used by the US Postal Service as their repair garage. I don’t believe it exists today.
Apparently they had a location even before that in DC, as this advert from Sept 29, 1954 shows Tom’s opening at their new location “after 30 years”. But now some more confusion: the ad shows what appears to be the same address as your postcard but a different address on Reedie Drive, with the used-car showroom listed as next door to Georgia Ave. address on the postcard. It also shows the management – Tom Amatucci and family, including his son Jack. Ah, that’s a name I’d forgotten all about – Jack Amatucci Chevrolet which I vaguely recall became Dick Stevens Chevy after a management change. This obit from the Washington Post notes the sale of the Wheaton dealership to Jack and also describes several earlier dealerships Tom owned, starting with Studebaker: https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/local/1987/06/19/car-dealer-realty-investor-thomas-a-amatucci-dies/c0bf6036-3376-435e-bebc-332bf09d7381/
My memory is not 100%, but I think in the 1960s the Reedie Drive location was the body & paint facility. What I suspect is the Reedie Drive location listed in the ad was their original Wheaton location, and as it says in the ad, the big drawing at top is their future home, probably under construction.
The Thanksgiving of my Sr. yr. of high school 🙂
“There’s No Beatin’ Wheaton”…I do recall that tag line from living in Monkey County at the time. It wasn’t quite to the radio/tv jingle level of “You Always Get Your Way, at Ourisman Chevrolet!” or “Don’t Say Drug Store, Say Drug Fair!” but it still had earworm potential.
We really need more jingles in our modern world. I miss them.
Happy Thanksgiving to All!
Ah, the unforgettable Ourisman jingle! Nobody who grew up in the DC area in the ’70s has forgotten it, or the woman (Susan Gailey) who starred in Ourisman commercials for 25 years or so. Lustine Chevrolet had a great jingle too that I can’t find online, and Bob Peck Chevy City’s wasn’t bad either (the latter two had great buildings too, the former which still stands though it houses a fitness center now, the latter gone but the building that replaced it reused its distinctive design). One of the local Olds dealers, Templeton if I recall correctly, had what I thought was a catchy jingle as a kid, but it doesn’t count because I later learned it was just “In My Merry Oldsmobile” with lyrics modified to be about Templeton Oldsmobile. Ourisman Dodge had their own jingle, a country song, decent but not as good as the Chevy one.
I’d been looking for the original version of the Ourisman jingle online for years and someone finally posted it recently – the guy who did the animation for it, which was his first animation job ever and admits was incredibly crudely done with a rotoscope cel, but it got him a job thanks to a longtime salesman at Ourisman named Bob (anyone remember his last name?) that led to a career in broadcasting.
The late Seventies. The nadir of automotive history!
@ Jeff ;
Interestingly I’ve been noticing new radio jingles and thinking about the many old ones….
Interesting. Maybe my problem is that I don’t listen to enough commercial radio to hear the new ones. We REALLY need jingles on Public Radio.
BTW, “Wheaton Plaza” was one of those early 1960s outdoor malls…which came before the indoor malls (which came before dead malls, which is what we have now). Lovely place that was the go-to destination in the mid-to-late 60s to see Santa and the Xmas decorations, etc. Good memories.
NPR somewhat depends on the station .
I can get KPCC and it’s all news these days, back in the early 1970’s it had many fantastic music programs .
THANK YOU Eric ! .
Wheaton Dodge was owned until 1966 by the Divver family. They started with Divver Dodge in Bethesda. in 1966 Jack Fitzgerald , Sr. bought Wheaton Dodge, but Divver kept the Bethesda location a few years longer. I think it was about 1971, shortly after I had graduated high school and was away at College, old man Divver sold the Bethesda location, and of course Fitz bought it, changing the name to Colonial Dodge.
The reason I bring all this up is because Mr. Divver had a lovely red headed daughter by the name of Clydie. Clydie and I dated for a long time, she made sure her reputation as a high-spirited redhead was not a myth! During the time we dated, she had daddy wrapped around her little finger. She literally had her choice of any car in the dealership inventory. Clydie liked fast cars. On one of our earlier dates she came by the house in a bright red 1967 Charger. But not just a big block Charger, of course it was a hemi & 4-speed!
Did I mention I like the color red? A red 1967 hemi charger and a red head girlfriend who knew how to drive hot cars hard. The late 1960s had some bad times, but I also had a few good times, and both involved the color red. I had the pleasure of driving “red” long and hard, and I learned a lot from both of them.
Mr. Divver sold the dealership, and we both went off to college. Don’t know what happened to the Charger, but I think about it from time to time. in 1979 Clydie and I got back together for a while, she had just been thru a bad divorce and had a 6 year old son. She had also developed a desire for really hard partying to excess, and I decided that wasn’t for me. I have 1 old photo of the Charger, and only have a few photos of her, but my favorite is a series of her laying on my roommate’s Kawasaki Bike, playing with my 5′ Boa constrictor.
Oh, well, back to today’s world. Happy Thanksgiving everybody!
@ Bill ;
I’ve never met a red head that wasn’t wild .
No more for me thankyouverymuch =8-) .
As a kid I was friends with a Paul Divver who lived down the street from me, about a 15 min. drive from Wheaton, but I’m guessing no relation since I don’t recall any redheads in the family.
The Divver family I knew lived in the North Chevy Chase area, and Clydie had no brothers that I am aware of. That said, it’s a rare family surname, and Clydie often said that anyone with that name was probably a relative.
Okay now you guys are just being _mean_spirited_ .
My head is now jammed full of earworms of 50 year old advertising jingles….
I am also in shock at this ad. A cigarette lighter is an included free-be option with the turkey day special? Whooo the fricken hooo! How much more for an ashtray? I didn’t see an ashtray mentioned in the advert.
I know of someone who won’t be shopping there!
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