I hope you’re not getting tired of these yet. I’m not.
A sampler from Alden Jewell’s Flickr page
One from my hometown of Hermosa Beach. Ronald E. Moran both Oldsmobile and Cadillac. My dad would take me as we went to see the new model years (I always thought we were out to buy one!), visiting the dealers was common place before the big auto shows at convention centers.
My dad’s first new car, a ’55 Pontiac was purchased in Hermosa Beach. The smallest beach city seemed to have most of the new car dealers. What was the address of Moran’s dealership before it moved to Torrance?
The original showroom building and service bays in back still exist as different businesses. It became Newcastle Dodge after Twin Pontiac.
Wasn’t Moran Cadillac the dealership that saw the mayhem from the original “Gone in 60 Seconds” movie?
Yes, it was, the Torrance location. I was one of the many people lining 190th street hill when it was filmed.
I’m sold with the Lancia Aurelia GT coupe in photo two. Rare even for then, wow.
“Hello, Ed Clancy Imported Cars? Do you still have that Lancia Aurelia GT coupe? You do? Fantastic, I’ll be right over!”
Ed Clancy! Hold that blue TR3 for me, it’s already outdoors and I can just jump in and head up the canyon roads in Laguna Beach.
At Beglin Motor Sales in Beaver, PA there sits at the curb an apparent twin of my Uncle Bob’s vintage burgundy 64 Galaxie 500 4 door hardtop.
Forrest Hughes was a big and active Studebaker dealer in Ukiah, CA and stuck with the company through 1965. You have to admire the optimism of a Studebaker-Packard dealer taking publicity photos in 1958.
He probably photographed every 58 Studebaker and Packard he sold that year. And you’ve probably seen the entire collection.
“He probably photographed every 58 Studebaker and Packard he sold that year”
Haha, I would suspect that no salesman ever appreciated an individual sale like one of those guys did in 1958. “Hey Marge, I got a check today! Better stock up on hamburger and hot dogs.”
Forrest Hugues made more eleborate artwork than the official 1958 brochures that S-P issued, which were b&w single or two page deals. The local Packard dealer, Covington Packard, kept it up right to the end in 1956, after which they became Covington Buick, which moved out of the city a few decades ago and still is in buisness, they have postcards of the Packard days on display in the sales/service departments
Car dealers smile a lot, but Forrest looks genuinely happy that he palmed off one of those horrible ’58s on an unsuspecting sucker.
Looking at it another way, this personal attention might be why he stayed in business so long. Every customer gets a moment of celebrity.
Nope, not getting tired of these at all, they just keep getting better and better! Who knew that if a Caddy or Olds wasn’t your bag, the same salesman at Wheeler could perhaps direct the kind Sir to something in a Fiat 124.
Or being able to choose from multiple colors of ’77 Celica GTs at Anderson Toyota. Or multiple Fairlady’s at Escondido Nissan. Or the prime box of chocolates at Ed Clancy’s….it goes on and on. An excellent assortment.
Holbert’s Porsche was quite a place. Its founder, Bob Holbert, was a race driver from back in the 1950s, and one of the early promoters of Porsches in the US. His dealership was in Warrington, PA, about 20 mi. north of Philadelphia. I think the building pictured was his original showroom (though I can’t recall just what that building looked like) – at some point in the 1970s, he opened a dedicated Porsche-Audi showroom about a mile away, and the older showroom became a VW showroom.
Bob Holbert’s son Al was a very accomplished race driver (NASCAR, Indy, LeMans, etc.). He eventually owned his own racing team, and Porsche Motorsport of North America was headquartered behind the dealership. Tragically, Al Holbert was killed in a small plane crash in 1988.
I was at this dealership quite a bit around that time. A friend of my father’s worked as a salesman there, and also I used to take my 1981 Audi there to be serviced (getting to browse the showroom was a bonus). As late as the 1990s, Bob Holbert still worked there regularly — he looked quite elderly but always drove a 911.
My fondest recollection of Holbert’s is when my father’s friend called one day and let us know that they had seven 959’s there. Dad and I immediately drove up, and his friend was kind enough to let us browse among the 959s, and I even got to sit in one.
These are great fun, Paul–though as a midwesterner it always seems exotic to have mountains or palm trees in the picture.
Here’s Holbert’s in 1970. I’d love to take a pocketful of today-dollars back there to snap some of these up:
A restored ’57 Thunderbird in 1970? That’s saying quite a bit about the ‘Bird as that would be, timewise anyway, like restoring an ’07 something now.
Hard to imagine in current times, but less so for then.
The ’55-’57 T-Bird became an instant classic the day the four seater ’58 T-Bird arrived. I was quite a ware of that as a kid when a next door neighbor bought a ’56 in about 1963. They were invariably loved and carefully maintained, as there would never be another one; until the next millennium, anyway.
I would take that description of “completely restored” with a healthy dose of salt. That probably meant a new paint job and maybe some other cosmetic refurbishment. The definition of that word has evolved over time.
The Spitfire and Spridgets, presumably trade-ins, on the lot at Escondido Datsun concisely tell the story of the change in the US sports car market in the early ‘70’s.
Not getting tired of these at all, Paul!
My favorites, and ironic because I’m supposedly a Ford guy:
The red ’57 Chevy convertible in the lead in picture.
And although sedans aren’t my favorites, the light blue and white ’58 Chevy speaks to me.
And I like the ’63 Chevy Impala nestled in with the all the black-Birds at the Ford dealer.
In that rather odd placement, it really stands out in that olive green.
Don Allen WAS one of Pittsburgh’s most prominent Chevy dealers. It was a victim of the 2009-10 dealer cull, but by that time it was no longer prominent.
Don Allen was the only dealership in the Pittsburgh Zone that regularly outsold my dad’s dealership, Hallman’s Chevrolet in Johnstown. Dad and Mr. Allen got along pretty decent, would often trade cars.
My mother bought her 67 Chevy Bel Air from Don Allen, after my uncle convinced her to get a better price at a volume dealership. (She had traditionally bought her Chevys from a much smaller dealership in the Bellevue area, and we knew the salesman personally.) At Don Allen, the price was right, but the service was not.
The first one: Newport Chevy-Olds, Hominy OK.
Here’s what was on their used car lot in 1957:
I love the selection at Coyle Hampton motors. Almost all sports cars with few others like the Jaguar saloon. I would have a hard time picking a favourite.
I could spend hours fantasy walking around these dealerships, but I’d go shopping at Ed Clancy Imports for that Lancia Aurelia coupe, I’d love to know what it went for.
Newport Chevrolet was definitely a big supporter of the Corvette back in the days when very few Chevrolet dealers took it seriously. Having two in stock at the time was bordering inconceivable.
I do not tire of gazing through these pictures at all. It seems a little like a trip in a time machine to see the vehicles as they originally appeared, ready to be purchased and driver. In all those bright colors! For some reason the 54 Bel Airs and 210’s speak to me today.
You also get a perspective for how really tiny those Saab Sonnetts were, parked next to the Vega sedan. How small did you have to be to fit in one?
That green Bug in the ante-penultimate photo has captured my fancy. Anyone have a time machine I could borrow?
Ace Auto Sales……hope I’m not to late to make an offer (cash, of course) on that 1951 Chev convt, pale yellow w/tan top, front row (right) side. If I buy it, I can put the top down and get a contract to throw the AM paper before school in addition to sacking groceries after class and mowing lawns on weekends.How about folks, will you sign?
I’ll never tire of looking at these.
MGAs, 356s, a white ’63 Monza coupe, the Signal Orange ’70 Karmann Ghia, heck, even that copper Vega amidst those Sonnets; it’s fun to at least wonder about which one I’d pick if I had the chance.
Peabody Motors was in my hometown, and as a kid I used to check out their cars all the time. There was also a Chevy dealer was right across the street, too.
There is a Chevy dealership in a small town in Northern Florida that looks like that 1st picture, the one of Newport Chevrolet. And then, in small towns that I have traveled through over the years, the buildings stayed the same but the franchise’s brand changed. So, fun to see these, and even more fun to look at the parked cars.
Not tired of them at all! These are like finding treasures. I used to work at a historical society and thumbing through the stacks of old photos and postcards was one of my favorite things to do.
In addition to the cars, there’s some great documentation of mid-century commercial architecture in some of these.
I don’t think anyone has mentioned the fact that the first picture (Newport) has their stock facing outward (as one would expect) except for three cars that have rear tire continental kits. These three are facing inward to show off their fancy rear ends.
I really like this series. I wish I could get one of these new or used oldies and pull it into the present. Nearly any car would do as most of them were on the road as I grew up and were all objects of desire.
With the exception of the 1931 Renaults (of course).
Wow, L&B Lincoln-Mercury in West Babylon, Long Island, NY. I think it’s still there….minus Mercury of course!
Haven’t been in that area in a long while, so who knows.
Not knowing about this dealer’s customer demographic, I’m a bit surprised that Peabody Motors lot is almost fully comprised of full-sized fuselage Chryslers and wagons. Even pre-Oil Crisis, I would think they’d have some then very popular Valiants and Dusters in their main lot. I may see one Duster in the back.
In this pic, the MERCURY LINCOLN signage appears facing the wrong way as they typically faced traffic in either direction. Not outward from the dealer’s lot.
Good point, although the building-mounted signage (both the backlit “Anchor Motors” box sign and the banner) are also seemingly facing the side of the lot. I wonder if the grassy/shrubby area is really some kind of a setback from a much more major road? It’s hard to tell from this picture.
Possibly, regarding a major road behind the photographer. That would also explain why the sign seems oversized as well. As if it was designed to be seen much farther away than the road in the foreground.
Not sure if branding standards would have been as heavily enforced at the time, but I’ve never seen this style of Ford pole signage not face traffic in both directions on the road in front of a dealer’s entrance.
Hmm… actually your first assessment appears correct. Seems the dealership is now Nissan of Yuba City in California. The building is still there — the front part has been rebuilt, but the metal shop building is still there, and the building is still oriented in the same direction.
The major street is, in fact, on the side, so the Lincoln-Mercury sign is pointing the wrong direction.
The aerial map below shows the current location. I wonder, though, if the strip between the dealership and the existing Golden State Hwy. (where Carls Jr. is now) was once a right-of-way where the road was planned for an expansion that never happened. That would explain why the building and sign seem to be oriented in the wrong direction.
We’ll probably never know, but it’s fun to speculate.
Great research Eric! Thank you. I suspect that in 1969 Bridge Street traffic was (very?) light compared to today. And that large sign was aimed specifically for Highway 99.
If you look at the original pic, there appears gravel and earth on the road, construction earth near the curb. And most importantly, indicating Bridge Street was a less important road or new, there are curb gutters, but no sidewalks. As there are today. Almost reminds me of a new road to a light industrial area. There’s also nothing beyond the dealer but an empty field. Meaning that big Ford sign was specifically aimed at Hwy. 99.
You are correct, when the dealership was built, Bridge street was a minor road passing the dealer. At the time, Hwy 99 turned onto Bridge street where the intersection is in the photo (left turn headed south) went over the bridge into Marysville made a right and headed south, however, the plans and construction were proceeding to continue Hwy 99 straight south. Until then all cars headed north, while still on Bridge street, had a great view of the whole dealership. When completed, 6 lanes plus turn lanes still had a good view of the dealership. When other businesses started on property between, another sign, about midway on the property, and more importantly 20 to 30 feet taller was erected, which was and is (changed to Nissan sign) visible over closer buildings. There are more businesses south of there with tall signs. Originally, both 99 and 70 (one mile apart) were to become freeways, but funds only allowed one, Hwy 70 to proceed, 99 will be four lane eventually, but not freeway. North of Sacramento, Hwy’s 70 and 99 become one for 20-30 miles
LRF, thank you so much for this local perspective & knowledge. You solved a mystery for us.
Most of that inventory is 69, pre Duater. And the Duster was hot when it was new. What you would see sitting in inventory would be E body Barracudas.
these are totally epic! thanks for posting!
The Schaefer and Strohminger Nash dealership shown was a Baltimore landmark in the forties and fifties. When Nash bit the dust in the late fifties the dealership was left teetering without a car to sell. Then, sometime in the late sixties, Schaefer and Strohminger rose from the ashes, opening one of the first dealerships in the area to sell some weird brand that no one ever heard of. I’m sure their Toyota dealership has made many family members millionaires many times over.
S&S may’ve rose from those ashes, but sadly they did not survive the GM culling as someone called it above.
My ex-wife worked there as a tech, not the one pictured in Baltimore, but at the Olds Pontiac (later Buick) GMC dealership in Perry Hall, just northeast of Baltimore on Belair Road. I bought my GTP there, and we also bought an S-10 off of the used car lot.
Schaefer & Stroghminger did sell other makes around town, but when the GM store closed, so did all the others.
Perhaps those ‘rich family members’ of which you speak decided to cash out, or they went bankrupt… that was a tough recession for car dealers.
Recall that S&S opened the Toyota dealership back in the late sixties, the first one I can remember in the area. Was on Dundalk Ave., a few miles from the old Nash dealership on Fleet St. in Highlandtown. This was before the era of multi-brand dealership groups, which came to dominate the industry. As with other large dealers at the time, they later expanded into other brands, as became the trend in the industry.
This change in the business model, along with the GM reorganization and ensuing consolidations and buyouts, and have greatly reduced the number of dealerships today. There used to be dozens of smaller dealerships throughout the community, where one could shop for say, a new Chevy, searching for the best deal. These all disappeared, leaving us to deal with a few mega groups operating slick, high volume “stores”. If you want to buy a new Honda in the Baltimore area, you have but four dealers to choose from. Want a new Lexus? You have a choice of two – both owned by the same guy.
Standalone luxury brands like BMW and Lexus usually don’t have multiple dealers in a market, tho they may have multiple stores. I live in a metro of 1M, and there’s 1 Lexus dealer with stores in North and South suburbs 1 BMW.store etc.
That powder blue ’57 (?) Corvette is cute as hell.
I love these, I could look at them for hours! I don’t recognize any, but I do remember Cadillac/Olds/Fiat being together in my NC city where I grew up. Even as a young child, I thought that was an odd mix.
It didn’t last long; Fiat migrated over to another dealer who also carried Triumph and Peugeot. Cadillac left to be a standalone store. The Olds store stayed until the very end. It then became our city’s second Ford store.
More of the same please. I could spend hours studying the post cards and pictures of dealerships from the past. It has only been in the last 10-15 years that many of the small town dealers in my area have closed their doors. I can remember when virtually any town of at least a few thousand people would at least have a Ford store and a Chevy store. I’m sure that the economics of selling cars forced many of these small town dealers out of the business; progress I suppose.
An ad from my uncle’s dealership, I can’t find a picture of it anywhere. The dealership moved from Springfield, PA to Hatboro, PA. If any of you have a picture of either dealership I would love to see it.
Oldsmobile, Cadillac, and..Fiat!? A strange combination.
Now I want to know where Ed Clancy was? The hills look like Southern California coastal sage scrub plant community. Seems like there is a little bit of British blood on the lot.
Eagal Ford–at the corner of Stanaslaus Street and Miner Avenue–was in Stockton, CA. Best I can tell, they folded in 1974.
Please keep these coming. The sixth image includes a sculpted wrought iron bug that immediately stood out. That bug has been in at least two art car movies. Unfortunately I cannot remember the titles as it was years ago on Netflix.
I believe one of those films was called WILD WHEELS; I have a copy on VHS or DVD. It’s an excellent film made in the early 1990s. I looked on YouTube but didn’t find it there.
A little anecdote about the Fred Oakley Chrysler/Plymouth/Imperial dealer shown in the pic roughly 10 from the top. Fred Oakley was located at the corner of Zang Blvd. and Davis St. in the Oak Cliff neighborhood of Dallas. Nothing remarkable about that. Where it gets interesting is that my grandfather owned a small used car lot catty corner to Fred Oakley in the late 40s, early 50s. My dad reports that in fact my grandfather used to buy a lot of cars from Fred Oakley’s fleet operation–mostly trade-ins that were a couple of years old with 50k+ miles on them. He also reports that prior to becoming the Chrysler/Plymouth/Imperial dealer, it was a Studebaker dealership into the 40s.
No remnant of the dealership today. All new construction on that corner.
Here’s a pic of my grandfather on his car lot at that location, taken likely in the late 40s.
The Sequoia Motors Nash building in Oakland still exists. It is now a paint store. There is a dip in the sidewalk in front of the entrance where the cars could be rolled in and out of the showroom.
After two dealers with the actual Imperial permanent sign I’m wondering why I don’t remember any at all from my past.
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