It’s easy to underestimate the value of low depreciation of a new car. It’s like a substantial guaranteed discount off the price, collectible when it’s traded in, or at purchase, if you already have a low-depreciation car. The Chevy Impala consistently had the lowest depreciation in its class for years during its glory days, which drove more buyers to it, thus supporting its value further.
These postcards sent out by Kinney Chevrolet underscore that reality.
Apropos of (almost) nothing — the body style of that (1966) fullsized Chevy is, I think, my favorite of all. That said, from the mid-’50s into the (early) ’70s, they were almost all good looking vehicles.
I do like that ’65/66/67 design, though. 🙂
The grille of the ’66 full-size Chevy makes it my least favorite of the mid-to-late sixties’ cars.
With that said, any big Chevy of that timeframe goes a long way to being regarded as the last, greatest Chevrolet (especially the fastback), which is really saying something since Fords, Pontiacs, and Chrysler products of the same era were nothing to sneeze at, either.
Was status to get new car often then, even Chevys. Neighbors had new LeSabre every 2 years. The ones I remember were ’66, ’68 and ’70, then we moved.
Honda and Toyota used “new style models” to help sales. While in long run, VW Bug hardly changing in the 60’s led to its eventual demise in US. After its 1970 peak, sales declined. Why get an old Bug when Japan has fresh new designs? VW had to get the Golf/Rabbit out fast, after the 411/412 flop.
Good marketing concept for Chevrolet dealers. However, you can’t beat a sexy girl for drawing eyeballs (still true)!
If the girl turned up with your Dart for Christmas your wife would have some thing to say. ” No honey ,she’s just my dedicated personal contact with Dodge”.
I think it was almost necessary to do something… *anything*, to draw eyes away from the product Dodge was featuring here. While I do have a soft spot for Exner & Co’s later styling efforts, they were quite far out of step with what the market in general was looking for circa 1962.
@Mark Hobbs – She was the one who warned me that I could be Dodge Material… sorta came with the car and all…
Did this ad’s sexy model distract you from the big blunder it also contains?
No sir! A Lancer that is not, though I’ll admit that I’m not knowledgeable enough to tell whether the fuzzily pictured car is actually a Dart or a Polara.
Yes, I did a double-take on that one! Where’s the Lancer, the pictured car looks like the new downsized ’62 Dodge?
This was a very common thing back in the day of these cheap dealer ads. I used to get a kick out of them at the time “why don’t they hire me to get these right?”
I wonder if Car Salesmen, New or Used, really dressed that way back in the sixties.
Most dealers in my area in the 60s and up (always men ,NO women allowed 🙄) wore casual slacks and golf or dress shirts with no ties.
My parents’ 64 Chevy serviced them well until 1978. Darn drunk driver hit it hard while parked, totaling it
It was a widely held belief in those days that a car was “used up” by 60k miles, and if you rolled the 5-place odometer over, it was something like a miracle. Sometimes I’m amazed at how much better-built cars are today.
Have to respectfully disagree. Electronics and computers often cause irritating and costly problems. A friend had a Cadillac with Northstar. That was in for repairs almost more than driven. Will be interesting to see longevity and repair issues for ELECTRICS. 🤔
Assume the year is 1966. How much are you willing to pay for a 1956 Chevrolet Two-Ten with 120,000 miles? $25? $50?
. Modern vehicles are far, far more reliable and long-lasting. I just sold my eleven year old Acura MDX with 170,000 miles for $8,000, and could probably gotten more. I’m sure it has years of good service left. Electronics and modern engines have also expanded maintenance intervals greatly. Who wants to go back to 1,000 mile oil changes, yearly tune ups, radiator flushes and lube jobs, brake adjustments and the like. 100K was about all you could get from a pre 1980’scar.
Honda and Toyota electronics and computers last long, which is why still many 90s/00s/10s models still running.
The whole “irritating and costly problems” was from poor quality designs, like the Caddy Northstar. At same time, Lexus luxury models last up to 300k+. Cant judge all modern cars from the Northstar.
While I’ll agree with you that the Cadillac Northstar tends to be a poor choice from which to gauge modern automotive reliability, I think you’re over-generalizing when it comes to Toyota and Honda being a magic bullet for reliability… A Honda Accord and a Toyota Corolla actually remain at the top of the list for vehicular crappers in my family, with both suffering catastrophic automatic transmission failures, and the Toyota burning two exhaust valves about 15k after the transaxle was replaced. While my experience wasn’t typical, it does point towards the fact that anything can poop its trousers hard enough to render it useless. The majority of newer cars DO go much, much longer than those of yesteryear, but many of them end up being one mechanical failure away from the wrecking yard due to their mechanical complexity. It was and still is feasible to rebuild a small block Chevy when it got/gets tired, where 32 valve quad cam V8’s often end up being cost prohibitive in the same situation. Double edged sword, I guess.
Oh, and there *is* a 1960 Chevy in our driveway that has a completely worn out 283 with 58k miles on the odometer. It does look like the original owner was using non-detergent oil and changing it once every leap year, so there’s that. My 1962 Studebaker Lark has 110k, and is still very healthy.
You’re right Evan, a 100k miles on a car was like a 100 year old person, something you hardly ever saw or even heard of. In those days my father would trade just before the warranty was up.
I don’t agree. Cars were considered “used up” at around 100k miles. My parents’ ’65 Coronet wagon was sold to the neighbors at 80+k miles and they had it for quite a number of years after that.
My brother’s ’66 VW and my ’64 and ’63 VWs all went well over 100k miles, and were in great shape still, and were worth quite a bit of money yet ($400-500).
I was familiar with lots of old cars that had 100+k miles on them.
60K was not “used up”, unless it was really old and rusty and abused.
100K is my recollection also. There was an article in Popular Science or Popular Mechanics around 1962 featuring an owner of a ’56 Chevy who had kept his car going in good shape for that many miles, as it was quite the accomplishment.
Thinking back, there was no reason my mom had to replace her ’55 Chevy after just 6 years and 30K miles. I don’t remember it having any problems including rust. She sold it to my uncle who had it for at least another 2 years; then his son (my cousin) took it over, and the last I recall seeing it was in 1964.
I remember way back when a car hitting 100K in our neck of St Louis was almost unheard of. Believe me, if a car hit 100K word got around with friends and family.
Back then a car was considered spent at a mere 60 000 miles in the UK so used car buyers would avoid them. This attitude carried on well into the 1980s!.
In 1976 my 1966 Dodge Dart needed its motor, brakes & front end rebuilt. When i sold my 1999 Nissan p/u in 2018 it was in fine shape mechanically. Thank goodness they don’t build ’em like they used to…
I imagine the figure was also cultural and location-based. Certain cultures and regions were known for their parsimony, and getting rid of a car before 100k would be seen as wasteful. Rust belt regions might find a car rusted beyond usefulness after 6 winters, regardless of mileage.
I grew up in the near suburbs of NYC. Between the salt and the road condition and the way the city abused cars, 6 years was a lot. I can see other parts of the country keeping cars for 10 years and 100k, very likely.
But today (in most cases) a 100k car is considered well within its prime.
Given Big Three build “quality” hitting 100K in the 1970s or 80s was an accomplishment!
As a kid in the Chicagoland area I remember winter slush and salting the roads after snowstorms really rotted out fenders, doors, and rocker panels.
After 11 years of Chicagoland winters and salt (and a good wash to get that gunk off) my 2003 S-10 was just starting to show some rust bubbles before I traded it in 2016. A 1982 S-10 would be Swiss 🧀 cheese by 1994.
It wasn’t just vehicle build quality. Engine oils were a lot poorer right out of the can, and they got severely contaminated by unburned gasoline dumped wholesale into the cylinders by carburetors and sloppily kinda-more-or-less-mostly burned by iffy ignition systems. Even the unleaded gasoline of that time burned much dirtier; chemicals in leaded gasoline, once combusted, actively attacked every metal thing they came in contact with. Greases, too, were enormously inferior. So were air filters and oil filters.
My 68 Cougar had it’s engine rebuilt at 75,000 miles because I felt like upgrading it when I was 24. The 68 Mustang was acquired at 117,000 miles and the 289 was dog tired but the C4 perfectly fine. The 65 F-100 was acquired around 125,000 miles and one day had a half gallon of water in the oil pan so rebuilt also. The Cruise-O-Matic fine here too. Those two were not under my care. The 67 Park Lane has gotten to 153,000 miles on the 410 and a confluence of little things have made me go into rebuild mode. I’ll do a story on that one day when finished.
I’m the dealer’s kid. Back in the day you started serious parts replacing on a car at 50,000 and the usual ‘conventional wisdom’ was that a car was spent at 100,000. Now, if you were born and raised in Europe you might be seeing economics a little differently. I keep reading that cars weren’t quite as common, not quite as throwaway as they were here in the Fifties and Sixties.
And you’re also talking Volkswagens, the first time Americans saw what an incredibly built car was like.
Question about how dealers dressed brought up a memory of 1960 something TV ad for Chicago Rambler dealer. A gruff sounding guy looking like a Mafia dude and female looking like a hooker, invited people to Come On Down to TOWNE RAMBLER promising many free gifts ending with Mickelberrys, The ONLY baloney we hand out at TOWNE RAMBLER! Impossible to forget that 😅 🤣 😂 😅
So common back then to trade in cars every 2 years. The neighbors on either side of us were 2- or 3-year traders, one for Plymouths, the other for Fords.
My mother held out for 6 because our annual mileage was so low. Both her ’55 and ’61 Chevys were sold or traded at only 30,000 miles.
Parents kept our ‘59 Rambler until 1970. Trading at 5-6 year intervals was more common. I think my parents got away with keeping the Rambler so long because as a traveling salesman, many of my dads job offered a company car.
My parents traded for new every 2 years, though there were exceptions. Dad kept his 68 Bonneville until trading it for a 72 Buick Centurion. Mom got a new car every 2 years, 61 Coevair, then a 63, 65, 67, and 69 Grand Prix. Kept the 69 until 73. then kept that GP until trading on a 78 Regal. Dad kept the 72 Buick until trading on a new 77. Seems the length of time keeping a car lengthened as they aged.
Our Saturn salesperson contacted us and we knew her for at least 10 years. She said that she would be able to sell our VUE, pay off what we owed on it, and then get us a trade in for a new Saturn.
She was correct. We always got service there and it was time, so we scheduled to meet. Saturn paid off what we owed on the VUE, gave us a fair trade in value towards a new Relay3 mini van. The dealer had too many vans which weren’t selling, and too few VUEs, which were. So we got a very elegant, fully loaded Saturn Relay3 mini van in time for our next kid’s arrival. Which turned out to be twins. We were already struggling to make the VUE fit our family, so we were ready for that deal. This was one of the only cases where we actually came out ahead. The Relay was a great trouble-free vehicle until it reached 165,000 miles but then old GM 6 went. Saturn was already out of business as well by that time.
Those post cards were good dealer practice. I bet they had one for Vegas as well.
GM 6? I thought the 6 cylinder engine in the Vue was made by Honda. Although 165,000 still isn’t bad by GM standards, depending on what specifically in the engine went wrong.
Things like timing belts or water pumps I would expect to fail well before 165k. I had a Civic that required both at 60k or 80k miles. (don’t remember which)
Never mind. You were talking about the 6 in the Relay, not the Vue. Should have paid closer attention.
Long ago belts failed early and 100,000km change itervals were common both my present and previous diesel Citrons have 100,000 mile 160,000km belt change intervals, timing chains wear out faster on some cars.
Yep, the Chevy Impalas from 1961 to 1970 are some of my very favorite styled cars of all time! Great cars.
Long time Impala fan here, but I grew up with them. The first family Impala was a 1966, just like the one on the post card, but in Non-SS trim level. 283-PG in that same color.
I don’t know if my Dad got sucked in or not by such a post card from the dealer, but he traded that fastback 2 years later for a Grecian Green Custom Coupe in 1968. That car had the 307, but the transmission was a 3 speed auto… THM maybe?
Anyway, like LongHornAccord says above, “Imaplas from 1961 through 1970” are some of the best styled cars of all time. I’ll even extend that a bit on either side and say from 1958 thru 1972-(with a ’73 back bumper ;o) do the trick for me.
Absolute Fav: 1968, followed by the ’61, and then perhaps the ’63. ask me tomorrow and that could change of course. ;o)
Heck, FFWD to the downsized years, and I’d take a ’78 bent wire backlite coupe in black over silver two-tone with red crushed velvet interior and matching red pinstripes. I’d happily drive that around!
Regarding Dealers contacting past customers:
This past weekend was my Lovely Wife’s birthday. Yesterday we were sitting on our couch watching TV. During a commercial break she checked her email on her phone and burst out laughing.
She handed me the phone and had me read the email.
It was from the Illinois Mazda dealer we bought our 2010 Mazda 6 from thirteen years ago. (It’s been traded in nearly four years now).
It was a birthday wish delivered on her birthday, addressed to her, wishing ME a Happy Birthday and reminding me I can still get a great deal on a new Mazda!
Check your customer lists folks. 🤦🏻♂️
(All the worse as her email address is First Name.Last Name @ email provider .com)
Car dealers need good, low mileage, late model used cars on the lot. These cars would bring in potential buyers, and the salespeople would try to upsell them to a new model. During the pandemic, not only were new cars in short supply, but so were late model used cars. Dealers had traditionally sent five year and older car trade ins off to the auction. I bought a used car during the pandemic and I might have paid too much, but it was a well equipped model with only 30k. There weren’t too many choices available on the lot, and rental cars were really in short supply. That’s why I bought when I did, family issues were pressing in Southern Ca. and we couldn’t depend on a rental to tide us over. Under normal market conditions I prefer to buy a low mileage, late model used car, let the first buyer absorb the depreciation. Plus any initial “bugs” have usually been eliminated.
Nice piece, though-provoking.
In “my time”, I’d say Toyota in general, and Camry in particular, benefitted from low depreciation like the mid-60s Chevrolet.
But, not to upstage Paul, I have an even better candidate for low depreciation, a car our host knows well.
The VW Beetle!
With the exception of his 4th and final Beetle, a Euro 1968 1300 (which BTW, I consider “peak” Beatle, for what it’s worth), my dad bought 3 Beetles, drove them for a couple of years each, and later in life, he told me he broke even or made money on each one.
“They were hard to get, and people would pay good money for a used one”
VWoA’s marketing strategy definitely helped maintain that high resale value. I doubt they were the first with no-negotiation auto pricing, but it was pretty common knowledge that the Beetle’s MSRP was the selling price, take it or leave it, and a lot of people were perfectly fine with the former.
So, yeah, no domestic auto dealer dickering to buy a Beetle, but the trade-off was they also maintained their value quite a bit better. The lack of any significant competition and the higher quality certainly didn’t hurt the situation.
Interesting how Toyota and Honda would follow the same sales model when they hit their stride in the seventies, too. Of course, when you have the superior product, not exactly a no-brainer, either.
I did not know about the “no-dicker sticker”.
I’m not disagreeing–or totally agreeing.
There were many factors, for VW Beetles especially (but also the Japanese, who learned from VW).
To be a VW dealer, one had to commit to service and parts. VW itself made sure there were plenty of parts depots, so parts could get delivered quickly.
This removed the negatives associated with imports.
Now to the positives. The Beetle was well-built. It was inexpensive, but conveyed quality. It was also pretty durable in real life.
The sticker price was low to start with. So it represented a good value.
And since VW could not (would not?) make enough Beetles for the US market, supply was not abundant.
So all these factors contributed to the car’s low depreciation rate, and contributed to “no dicker stickers”, or made the policy viable.
Many of the same factors were at play in the late 70s, early 80s with Japanese cars.
And in the early 1980s, the Reagan Administration put the “voluntary quotas” in place, artificially reducing supply, which dealers exploited charging MORE than sticker on many Hondas and Toyotas.
I paid full list price for my new ’75 Rabbit; there was no negotiating as the dealer made clear. So VW was able to maintain that policy at least into the early Rabbit years (and undoubtedly with the diesel variants during the second oil shock).
The other obvious factor in Beetles depreciating much more slowly was the styling continuity over the many decades it was built — no planned obsolescence.
Impalas sold themselves here nobody had to chase down customers they fronted up of their own accord pledged their over seas funds and waited for delivery,
cars appreciated in NZ in that era thanks to restricted supply and strict finance controls
I would image there’s a Kia or Hyundai in the driveway of 3975 Bedford Ave in Brooklyn today.
Or maybe, its been stolen…….
I had to google it, and two things:
3975 is quite a opulent home but was built in 2005, presumably over the home Mr. Frank Friedman lived in. It is also at 2.3 million dollars almost double the market value of it’s neighbors. The driveway contains a Honda CRV – pretty close to the modern iteration of the best-selling ’64 Chevrolet (the RAV4 would be it, vis-a-vis market leadership).
3977 (built in 1930) caught my eye more though – despite being minuscule in comparison it has an underground garage! Although there seems to be a concrete lip barring use of it for parking – not sure why, maybe flood concerns?
I had to Google it also, because as it turns out, my younger son lives just off Bedford Avenue about 5 miles to the north of the pictured houses.
3975 is so typical of the houses with current or recent owners with more money than taste. They tear down or build over existing houses that once fit in nicely with the rest of the neighborhood. You see this more often in Queens than in Brooklyn.
You could be right also about 3977 having basement flooding issues, which might be why the garage is blocked off. This part of Bedford Avenue is only a few blocks away from the water to the south.
An absolutely stupid looking chimney. Must double as an outlook or machine gun nest.
Kinney Chevrolet was my old stomping grounds. Throughout the 1980s I used to stop by every year to get all the new brochures. By then the name was shortened to Kin Chevrolet, but there were still plenty of older Chevys in Brooklyn with the Kinney sticker. Coney Island Avenue used to be the auto mile in southern Brooklyn, Waldorf Chrysler was across the street towards Kings Highway and the Ford dealership a couple of blocks in the other direction. All now gone. Kin Chevy closed some time in the 1990s.