Jere W. Smith Dodgetown, Sunnyvale CA, 1965.
Boulevard Dodge, San Diego CA, 1962.
City Dodge, Decatur GA, 1964.
Delta Dodge, Davis CA, 1966.
Fairway Dodge Sales, Hamburg NY, 1972.
Putnam Dodge, Burlingame CA, 1976.
I can’t decide if the photo of the service area at City Dodge was carefully staged with a Chevrolet front and center – as if to say “We service all makes and models”, or perhaps “Dodges break so rarely, that we needed something else to fix”. Or was the photographer lazy or uninformed and just walked into the shop and took photos of whatever was there.
“Corvair trade in”?
Closer to the camera is a 62 Buick Skylark. JT may be right. both were trade-ins.
Reverse engineering being performed.
What I notice is that there are three 50s models in the service bays – the 51-52 on the far wall, then 55-56 Dodge and Plymouth on the near side.
How did the Dodge nameplate survive but Plymouth didn’t. I still don’t get it.
Dodge was a stand alone brand that was approached by Chrysler for a merger. Dodge decided not to go with the first offers, so Chrysler created DeSoto and Plymouth. Afterwards, Dodge met with Chrysler for a merger deal, which gave Dodge a great deal of power within the new corporation. Chrysler Dodge was always the original concept. Yet Chrysler had these two house brands, (three if you count Imperial). As Dodge executives entered the new merged company, they kept their loyalty to Dodge. Dodge executives successfully controlled a lot of the Chrysler Corporation for generations. These former Dodge executives favored Dodge.
In 1957 – 1958 the industry sees a 40% plunge. This means that brands need to go, and there was no way that one of those would have been Dodge – not with the former Dodge executives around in Highland Park. So DeSoto is axed and replaced by the Chrysler Newport, and Plymouth is axed and replaced by the Dodge Dart. As a reprieve, Plymouth was given the new Valiant division, saving Plymouth.
From there, it was all downhill for Plymouth. Chrysler and Dodge are the golden children, and DeSoto, Plymouth and Imperial were the red-headed stepchildren.
That’s why Dodge is still around.
Also, in the 60s and beyond, Dodge dealers were stand-alone franchises, while Chrysler and Plymouth were almost always paired. If Dodge had been killed, there would have been massive dealer fallout, but killing Plymouth did no such thing because the Chrysler line got supplemented by what had been (or could have been) Plymouths.
That is absolutely correct, as always JP!
The real paradox is Plymouth arguably was the most successful in the Muscle car field during the era, for which the modern day Dodge brand draws all of its imagery and history from. The Roadrunner, the Duster 340, even the Barracuda by virtue of being a “pony(fishy)car” were all submodels Dodge COPIED for their entries in that market. The Charger was really Dodge’s only unique hit model in that era.
Unfortunately being a player in just that one limited segment wasn’t enough to sustain a brand, especially when that segment evaporated in the 70s. Plymouth at least had decent sheetmetal differentiation from Dodges through the 60s but by the end of the 70s they were badge engineered with different grille textures at most.
The Dodge brand was established in both automobile and truck markets, Plymouth not. And as a brand, Dodge had more imaginative clarity and consistency with its ‘Ram’ imagery. Plymouth had its boat.
Well, there was this Plymouth…
Putnam is still selling Dodge in Burlingame, as well as every other domestic brand and pretty much all the big Asian imports plus VW and Volvo, in the Bay Area. Jere Smith Dodge in Sunnyvale is long gone, but I recall test driving a 4 door Suzuki Sidekick at the Sunnyvale Dodge store about 30 years ago.
“Bring your spouse, your pink slip and your checkbook to Putnam [insert make of car].”
Yes, the Putnam dealership group is still running strong. Our family bought a Buick from them in 1980.
All of that great signage makes me miss the Chrysler Pentastar. Even more.
You can just feel the optimism ooze from those two 1965-66 postcards of the California Dodge dealers. The last one brings feelings of forebodings, like watching the beginning of a movie about a real life disaster. You know what’s coming, but nobody in the story does.
I was always confused that there seemed to be Chrysler, Plymouth, Imperial dealerships and then Dodge, cars and trucks. Did Dodge dealerships also sell De Soto u til it expired?
Until the 1960-61 reorg there were Dodge, Chrysler and DeSoto dealers. All sold Plymouths.
I have to admit I’m one of those cliché people who put the 68-70 Charger’s styling on a pedestal above all other generations but those 66-67s in the context of their times are increasingly attractive to me, and in that Dodge lineup they undoubtedly stand out from the crowd.
Just looking at these postcards makes me want to schlepp on down to my local Dependable Dodge Dealer and see what’s on sale…..
Hard to choose just one from all these beauties .
Maybe the step side pickup in the corner of the Ga. Service Dept. .
As alluded to in prior posts about Mopar dealers, note the common type signage was instituted approximately the mid 60’s. Prior to this, it was all over the place.
Actually Plymouth was so named for Plymouth binder twine..to depict ruggedness, I assume.
Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *
Notify me of follow-up comments by email.
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.