How’d you like to step back into this one? A test drive, please?
You keep finding them and I keep loving them.
Just think, some poor schmo would eventually land at Ridgewood Rambler (3d shot) and take home a Renault Dauphine. Ugh.
That Dodge-Chrysler-Valiant combination was unusual. As was John Matthews still trying to hawk Anglias in 1966.
I can certainly imagine the guy who traded it in (for a likely pittance) grumbling constantly about what he shoulda done in the first place as he signed the papers on a new Rambler American.
The Dodge-Valiant-Chrysler dealership is Canadian. Valiant was a separate make through 1966 sold by both Dodge-Chrysler and Chrysler-Plymouth-Fargo dealerships.
D-C-V was a lineup in the alternative automotive universe of Canananada, along with the maroon Cheviac in the forecourt.
Funny that on the day the photographer shows up, nobody bothered to move the off brand cars out of the way. The Chevy and the Ford centrepieces at the Rambler dealer. The Dodge Dart stealing centre stage at the Pontiac dealer. Fantastic!
These are great to reminisce over the great colours and arrangements of car dealers and individual set ups of the past. Corporate guidance and standards have taken the place of such individuality these days. Keep these post cards coming!
I agree. It’s wonderful to see the architectural variety of Mid-Century America. Looking at these makes me feel like I’m looking out the right rear window of my Father’s 1963 Bel Air.
Also interesting to see the range of sizes of the dealers, like the big VW dealer and the next shot of VW’s being sold out of a converted Cape.
2919 Saw Mill Run Boulevard in Pittsburgh is now an O’Reilly Auto Parts. That area IS kind of an auto row but only for used cars, many of them driven hard and put away wet for buy here-pay here customers.
I had to think about that address when I saw it on the postcard. I know that stretch of road, as my wife grew up near there. It’s a pretty run down area now, but it appears that 54 years ago, it wasn’t that bad…
The 1st image (’56 Packards): So much effort, hope, and beauty put into them, and yet…nobody’s interested. One year later–gone!
What can we see/do/buy in 2020 that people 50 years from now will say, “If only I could go back…”
I can think of one “If only I could go back…” car…
In the 12th or so photo down (the VW Dealer) there is a VW Bus in the showroom that I’d hop back in my TARDIS and purchase and bring forward to about 2018 or so and sell it.
Isn’t that the coveted 21 window model that was worth a gazillion dollars a few years back now?
The 1956 golden hour Noll Auto Co. Packard-Clipper Pasadena, CA postcard is particularly poignant. Its the very image of a world about to depart permanently.
I’ve seen most of these years ago on Alden Jewell’s Flickr, one thing not obvious from the Jones Pontiac/Goodwill Used Cars picture is they also had a Honda franchise. Given that looks like 1979-80, the fact that new Hondas are few and far between is likely due to them selling immediately when they did come in.
Dew Cadillac in downtown Saint Petersburg, Florida! I hazard a guess that more than one reader’s grandma and grandpa either bought there or had their car serviced there back in the day.
Interesting to see the captive imports being sold. The Pontiac Vauxhall dealership has 2 peeking out left of the windows, and the West Palm Beach Ford dealer has an Anglia out front. There are no Simcas visible at the Plymouth Simca dealer. The import dealers had some interesting cholces, like the oddball mix at the one import shop with Dauphines, Isetta, and a mix of British cars, and the dealer selling ACs, Jaguars, and Austin sedans. The Rambler dealers certainly did take the oddball imports, as JPC noted with the Dauphine and the other with an Opel wagon in the used lot of Dahlgard. One question though, as I remember our local Rambler dealer also carried Renaults, so perhaps the Dauphine was a trade in that had been purchased there new? Or was our local Renault/AMC mashup an oddity? And I mean prior to Renault buying into AMC, rather back in the late 1950s and early 1960s.
AMC had a long-time relationship with Renault. In the 1960s Renault assembled Ramblers in a Belgian manufacturing plant for sale in Europe. I used to know a guy in Switzerland who had a 1963 Renault-Rambler Classic.
Régie Renault’s distribution in the US was independent of AMC. It’s a coincidence that a dealer with one shaky brand would look for another product to increase his sales volume. Historically, AMC dealers were one step up from the guys who specialized in late-model used cars.
Judging from what’s in the photo, the inventory at Los Gatos Ferrari might be worth more than all the inventory at all the other dealers combined.
‘Motorsport’ sells you a bunch of the ultra rare AC Ace Bristol with drum brakes. Maybe these were the ones that gave Carol Shelby the idea of making the Cobra.
Boy, would I love to have salvaged that illuminated Edsel sign!
I found most of the Rambler’s fascinating! When you looked at the trade ins there were everything from the above mentioned Renault to full size impala’s and galaxies. I’m a child of the seventies and eighties and the only thing you saw being traded in at AMC dealerships were other AMCs..
It was a different time I guess.
From these photos, it seemed to be a Rambler dealer thing to park all sorts of upper-middle end cars from other manufacturers in the front rows of the dealerships. The dealer version of filling out the top end of their offerings, perhaps, as Ramblers were generally smaller and more on the economy end of the curve. There seemed to be no shame in highlighting the cars of other manufacturers, right in the dealership postcards.
“Mack Massey Rambler,” I learned, was/is in El Paso. There’s a nice 2-minute video from the company here—-shows a few other “postcard” scenes about this time (went to Rambler about 1959); presently doing Chrysler vehicles:
Clarence Dixon Cadillac (Hollywood) = aha!—-sponsors of the Bill Thomas Cheetah: https://www.cheetahcars.com/Dixon.html
The Bitner Pontiac-Vauxhall 1960 displayed two Vauxhalls under the canopy in front, wonder if they keep Vauxhall once Tempest arrive for 1961.
As a Canadian dealership, the Henri Fortin Dodge-Valiant-Dodge Trucks-Chrysler combination makes sense since Valiant was a stand-alone nameplate through 1966. though, not many U.S dealers owned by an Henri…
Shilling Parkway Mercury-Meteor-Comet appears to have had its operation for those makes separate from their Lincoln dealership as late 1950’s and 1960’s Lincolns are visible off to the far right.
Long Motors Rambler-Metropolitan reminds me of the dealerships I saw for those makes back then, usually small operations in older garages. The 1960’s Rambler-AMC dealerships in modern facilities seem to appear once the success of the late 1950’s-early 1960’s sales enabled the upgrades. Anyone have a 1960’s postcard for C. Hettinger Rambler, 3900 Sheridan Drive, Buffalo, NY?
Odell Matthews Plymouth-Simca wasn’t that an uncommon pairing, a number of stand-alone Plymouth dealerships after the demise of DeSoto took on Simca. Tunningly Plymouth had a Triumph car franchise in the 1960’s.
Love these dealership postcards!
Love seeing these, especially the Rambler dealerships. Jones Pontiac on Manheim Pike, Lancaster, PA is now Jones Buick/GMC.
I never grow tired of this series. Thanks Paul. My favorites are the art-deco pre-WWII ones that are either paintings or colorized B&W photos, like Breitfeller’s Pontiac.
In those days, it was common knowledge if you wanted the best deal in a used car of whatever make, you sought that car not at the dealer who had the new car franchise for the make but at a dealer for the competing makes. Want a used Chevy, buy it at a Ford dealer!
Was Ritner Pontiac/Vauxhall in Canada? British cars had a larger presence in the Canadian market well into the sixties, until persistent quality problems (especially the Firenza disaster) sunk their popularity.
I remember one of the GM dealers in Corner Brook, Newfoundland keeping up its Vauxhall sign well into the eighties.
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