Not to be a nitpicker, but I’ve never seen a dealership whose signs used the plural for the brand they sold. Didn’t GM have any standards for signage back then? Apparently not.
There are other older postcard of this Caddy dealer from 1955, again in about 1960-62 taken from different angles.
I think I’ve read about this place before. They were not a Cadillac dealer but sold used Cadillacs.
Then maybe the plural protected them from getting sued for impersonating a franchised Cadillac dealer.
I have a 1960s book on trademark protection and one of the cases they reference is how GM successfully got these dealers to stop playing this ‘Cadillacs’ game. Courts took an especially dim view of mimicking their script and logo.
And yet it’s the seventies and here they are.
That explains it. Thanks.
Over the service bays and I’m going to guess by what is visible behind the sign it says Cadillacs by Bayless. Bill Pressler above noted that they weren’t a franchised Cadillac dealer. I couldn’t imagine a franchised dealer substituting the Cadillac crest emblem over the V for the street number 505 on the sign.
Makes sense that it was not a franchised dealer. it could have been worse: “Cadillac’s”
That would have been the locally correct spelling in Michigan, where everyone worked for Ford’s, GM’s, or Chrysler’s and shop at Meijer’s or Kroger’s.
That sounds like one of those themed casual-dining chains with reproduction tin signs hung on the walls.
As noted above, it’s likely a used Caddy dealer, but when I first glanced at the picture, it appeared to me that all of the cars in the front row are of the same model year, ’71 maybe? I don’t know my Cadillacs (sorry, that was too easy).
But upon further review, there appear to be a couple of ’67(s) inside the building on the left, and a few other stacked headlight versions in the second row.
Bill’s used Caddy dealer hypothesis is likely a correct one.
1969 to 70 body style in the front row. The 71 to 73 body style had the 2 headlights slightly apart from each other.
That tells us all we need to know about what Cadillac used to be – that used car dealerships sprung up that restricted their wares to Cadillacs. I remember a period when Cadillac even included 2-year-old models in the background of their magazine ads, pushing a used Cadillac as an alternative to a new lesser car.
Cadillac must have been a little more relaxed about trademarks than some others. My wife’s father ran a business that specialized in VW repair. She remembers him getting a letter from VWOA threatening legal action if he used the “Volkswagen” name in promoting the business because he was not an authorized dealer. I think he settled on “Vol-Care”
I’m wondering if the trademark issue is why this dealership seems to be known as “Cadillacs by Bayless” – to shuffle the name around so it doesn’t sound as much like a franchised dealer.
(Of course, that bears an amusing resemblance to the “Cimarron by Cadillac” absurdity a decade later…)
Also, the “Cadillac” script in the Bayless signs is similar, but not exact to the real Cadillac script. My guess is that this dealership was constantly pushing the envelope regarding what GM would allow, and GM’s legal department was very familiar with this place.
When I was a kid, a local car dealer sold new Internationals and slightly used Cadillacs. That was a combo! He had a dark green ‘57 Eldorado Brougham stashed in the back of the warehouse, for his own personal use. It was scruffy but absolutely spectacular to this ten year old. He went by “Lassman Motors” with the “I-H” symbol painted on the building, but the small showroom up front always had a Cadillac in it.
In the 1960s two VW mechanics opened up a shop in Bethesda, Maryland, and they named it “Volkswagen of Bethesda”. It wasn’t long before VWOA threatened to bring suit unless they dropped the Volkswagen name. So they rebranded the shop VOB.
They did very well, and were soon offered several manufacturer’s dealer franchises, including Triumph, Datsun, Subaru, and BMW. It wasn’t long before VOB opened up a large dealership location in north Bethesda. About 1972 they elected to concentrate on the Datsun and BMW brands only.
With the double gasoline shortages in the 1970s, VOB did well selling Datsuns, and as Bethesda is a high income area, they did well selling BMW cars. They did so well in sales, that both Datsun and BMW said they were one of the top sellers in North America.
When the Volkswagen dealership in nearby Rockville, MD was nearing bankruptcy, VWOA contacted VOB about taking over the VW franchise, and they were turned down! When the local Volvo franchise became available, they wisely grabbed that one!
Was the Rockville VW dealer where it is now (Ourisman VW of Rockville), adjacent to a Mazda dealer? I vaguely remember Mazda and VW both used to be near the intersection of 355 and 586/28 but didn’t know they were doing badly. I recall VW business was slow in the early ’90s but it was everywhere in the US.
I moved out of the area decades ago, but the VW location was on the west side of 355, almost opposite of the Hechinger’s location. If I remember, this was near the intersection of 355 and Beale Ave.
I don’t remember exactly when VW sales were not going well in north America, but I remember one of the 2 guys [Tony S] talking about how much he enjoyed turning down VWOA’s groveling, almost begging them to take over the franchise.
Pay back time. Must have felt so good turning VWOA down. Does two must have left work with the biggest beaming smiles in town.
For several years I lived in the Western Suburbs of Chicago. A fairly prosperous area. Porsche, Audi, and Saab dealers. But there were several independent dealers selling pre-owned Benzs to Bentleys. Point being that decades ago used Cadillacs filled that same role. People that could afford a new mainstream car instead wanted nearly new luxury. It is a market they have largely lost. And this from a person who has owned 3 CPO Cadillac SRXs over the years.
Local used car dealer in Chicago burbs was called “Cadi used cars”, selling mainly Caddys with some Lincolns. The ‘Cadi’ sign was using the trademark script from brand logo. They later removed it for generic letters.
They did well until used FWD DTS’s faded away. Clients also.
They sure put up enough Cadillacs signs. Cheaper by the dozen.
Not many used dealers limit themselves to one brand, but at one time, Cadillac resale value was high enough, and significant model changes frequent enough, that many people bought new ones every year or two without leasing.
The sign in the tree appears to say “When up a tree, ___ Bayless.” Can anyone read that word? Could it be a bay tree? Odd place to put one.
That’s great! I didn’t notice that before.
Looks like it says “WHEN UP A TREE, SEE BAYLESS”
A bay tree?
Interestingly, the address is still a car dealer and it seems like it may be the same building…modified over the ensuing years. Tree’s gone though.
Looks like it’s Acura’s now.
As a kid in the mid 70s, I don’t recall seeing any new car dealers, with bollards at the front of their lots. At least in Toronto or Ottawa.
Paul, I found a little more. Bayless was, as previous posters have said, a used car dealer specializing in Cadillacs. He’d been there since at least the late 1940s. Not sure when he went out of business.
Brand Boulevard in Glendale, as I’m sure you remember from your time in L.A. is one of those “mile of cars” streets with a couple dozen dealers. At 505 Brand, Bayless was seven blocks from the actual franchise Cadillac dealer, which, in the 1960s, was Modern Motors Co. It’s now a Lexus dealer (Lexus of Glendale):
I used to work very near there, at KVEA. I remember Brand Blvd; I probably drove by it.
Lexus’s first Glendale dealership opened in this spot, and moved to their current expanded facility down the street at 1221 S. Brand in 2003. Acura of Glendale repurposed the building for their use and opened the following year. The structure shown here would not have been used by Lexus; it’s safe to say it was razed by the end of the 1980’s.
I can remember a similar used Cadillac dealer in the Culver City area of Los Angeles in about 1962-63, J.C. Fortune Cadillacs. My dad and I visited that dealer at the end of the 1962 Cadillac run, but dad passed on them. Don’t remember how long it stayed in business, but I can recall the L.A. Times advertisements.
Everyone in the Philly area is familiar with this nomenclature, as used for many decades by F.C. Kerbeck “Cadillacs”, located just across the river in NJ.
Ahhh, Yes, Kerbeck Cadillac. In the fall of 1972, I was driving back from Ft. Dix to my home in Maryland, when I was forced to detour off I-95 because an accident had closed the interstate. I eventually realized I was lost. I pulled into Kerbeck’s used car lot to turn around, and spotted a vehicle in the back area that stood out from the crowd of cars, so I stopped to look closer. As a devoted Packard collector, I suspected I had seen the top of a rare Packard. It was a Sunday and no one was around, so I walked over to check out the car.
What I had spotted was a 1941 Packard with a Darrin convertible coupe body, but not like any I had seen before. While it still had the Packard outer grill assembly, the louvers had been replaced with a square grid like a Mercedes, the bumpers were from a 1934 Cadillac V-16, and the front sections of the front fenders were off a Duesenberg J or SJ, as were the headlights. There were many other changes to the car as well.
I took a few photos of the strange looking Darrin and eventually found my way back to the interstate, but didn’t go back to check it out until a couple of months later, and one of the guys at the lot told me it had been taken in on trade towards a late model Cadillac, & sold off to a used car wholesaler cheap.
Fast forward about 20 years and while attending a Packard Club National meet I was chatting with a Darrin owner from the Philly area, and I mentioned the strange car I had seen. He replied; Ahhh, the Walsh Darrin! He explained the car had been sent to a car customizer not long after it was first built, indicating the owner’s name was a Mr.
Walsh, and the guy was quite a character, always driving unusual cars. He said Mr.
Walsh felt the Packard Darrin needed more “Pizzazz”, hence the “Walsh Darrin” became reality. He said the car had been written up in an early car customizing magazine, but I’ve never been able to find anything more on the Walsh Darrin.
If I can find my photos of the car and learn more about it’s later history, perhaps I can do a story for CC.
Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *
Notify me of new posts by email.
This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.
Copyright 2011 - 2023 Curbside Classics. All Rights Reserved.
Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.
Type your email…