What a saint!
Waterbury Ford – from my hometown!
Is this Waterbury, Conn? That’s my hometown too!
From having seen it on Flickr before, Honest John’s picture was taken in 1946 which made me wonder if the “50 (nearly) NEW CADILLACS!!” were govt surplus 1942 models. One careful previous owner, some member of the Joint Chiefs or a European government-in-exile.
Boy you just know you’re getting screwed at Honest John’s on one of his 50 new Cadillacs.
I always thought that “Honest John” as a car dealer was a joke…
Another home run of great postcards. That picture of Raymond Scott Oldsmobile is from Wynnewood, PA, one of Philly’s Main Line suburbs. My grandmother bought a long series of Oldsmobiles from that place.
I think they moved on to Honda at some point.
If I’m not mistaken, I think Scott Oldsmobile picked up a Saab franchise as well at some point. In retrospect, not the best combination of brands for long-term survival.
I just did an edit, but I know that they took on Honda – sort of the perfect modern replacement for Oldsmobile, don’t you think? 🙂
Well, I guess someone in the Scott family had some good business sense, then! I looked it up and it seems that Scott Honda is still in business.
Yes, I have recognized the same sailboat logo from my grandmother’s Oldsmobiles on the backs of modern cars on trips out that way over the last several years. The new ones are stickers instead of these great old diecastings, of course.
I just saw his obit – he died in 2015.
Yes, it’s the sailboat badges that I remember most about the Scott dealerships. Reading his obituary, I saw that Mr. Scott was a sailing enthusiast, so I suppose that’s where the boat motif came from.
The Scott Oldsmobile dealership in Wynnewood is now Piazza Nissan (after famous Mets catcher Mike Piazza who is from nearby Norristown, PA). The building is still standing, but they’ve tried to “modernize” it and make it fit the corporate dealership palate with some generic grey tiles. If you look it up, it is listed as being in Ardmore now. Not sure if the boundaries changed. I live about a mile away. The other Main Line dealership in this series is Ray McGowen Ford, which is now Martin Honda. The property is incredibly crowded and jammed on what is now considered a pretty small lot for a car dealership. In both cases, it looks like the buildings are still standing.
Thanks for the update — I had no idea that Mike Piazza got into the car business.
I had completely forgotten the name of Ray McGowen Ford, but Martin Honda is memorable, like Scott Oldsmobile, due to their dealership logo. In Martin’s case, a stork holding a blanket with a car in it and the phrase “Martin Delivers.” I have no idea if they still use that image, but if I remember it 25 years after I moved away from Philadelphia, it was a pretty good logo!
Yes, Martin still uses that logo. They have some other dealerships in the area, including in Newark, DE. I just noticed that I had missed another Main Line dealer in this set, McGowen-Lane Lincoln Mercury. This one is also a dealership and the building is also still there. It is the used car building for Wynnewood Audi, which is a couple of doors down from Piazza Nissan. Until a couple of years ago the building was the main showroom, but they built a new much builder bigger building next door, where it looks like the home is in the picture here. From googling, it looks like the Ford and Lincoln dealerships closed in 1982 (https://www.bizjournals.com/philadelphia/stories/1997/04/28/newscolumn3.html). Great to see such a representation for the Philly suburbs here!
The Scott dealership looked very much the same as that photo when I was in college just up the road on the late 70’s.
With a building like that, I’d have bought an Oldsmobile from Mr Scott.
Jim Davidson has a nice selection of Shelby Chargers out front. I’d love to take a spin in one, just for old time’s sake.
Gil Ashcomb Rambler was in my hometown of Berkeley, California and Herrera Buick was nearby in Oakland. That was a significant building, designed by Bernard Maybeck, that should not have been demolished … though I suspect it may not have survived the 1989 earthquake. Jim Loose in Palo Alto ((Mercedes, RR, Lotus) rings a bell, So I checked the address; it’s now a Jiffy Lube and across the street from a Tesla showroom, and not far from a dealership that’s made an interesting migration from Ford, Volvo, Subaru to McLaren.
15th pic (Reliable Motors Studebaker): interesting; I’ve seen that oval-and-torch logo with “AMOCO”, of course, and with “STANDARD”, but never before with “PAN AM”.
I want Twin Buick to be my house
Vic Morbidelli’s Y-job makes an interesting contrast to the pure Victorian building. And speaking of saints, isn’t that a BVM on top of the Victorian building?
Sure looks it. I was curious about that building so I looked it up, and the building is still standing and is still a used car lot (current address is 1316 John F Kennedy Blvd., Union City, NJ).
Modern StreetView is below, and there’s a chimney in the middle of that building, exactly where the BVM is located in the vintage shot. Maybe Vic put up what looks like a BVM statue as a cover for the chimney? It sure looks as if it’s on the roof of that building (i.e., not from a church steeple behind it).
That house at Vic’s (a.k.a. 2 Manny’s) probably looked like this when it was built c. 1870. The people who built and lived in it I’m sure would be utterly shocked at what would become of their French styled gem in the mid-20th/early 21st centuries.
Which makes me wonder–what will our own homes and familiar places look like in 100 years? Impossible for us to imagine…
Definitely true. One of the things I like about my current house is that it’s 100 years old, and has improbably remain largely intact and unaltered. I somehow doubt that it’ll survive the next century in the same condition.
I’d like that white Continental in the first picture.
Mastro Subaru is still in the same location in Tampa today. And still sells Subarus. Some things just don’t change….
Honest John? I’d be running from that place. The placement of wording for Cooks Chrysler Plymouth is certainly interesting “Chrysler Cooks Plymouth”
Love the simpler times when a dealer owner decided about the “visual identity” of his business. Today, with all of this “visual identity” crap, the dealers look all the same. But the major difference is that in the ole days, the dealers sold true cars, and not all of this CUV, SUV, wannabe off road garbage on wheels that we see today. The romance and magic of the car dealer had long gone. Today’s looks of cars is much more for a nightmare than for a dream.
I don’t know, if you look at the Chrysler stuff from the early 70’s and on they all followed what had to be requirements from above. Blue for C-P dealers, Red for Dodge, Same signage designs and by the mid 70’s same building designs for new dealerships and many old dealerships remodeled to look like Columbia Dodge and Tri-County C-P above.
“Let’s trade cars, we’ll both feel better” has got to be one of the weirdest slogan I’ve ever heard.
Lots of good ones this time around. I’m surprised at not one but two stand alone GMC dealerships. The one looks to be on auto row and focused on retailing pickups. Easy to see a business case for that today but in the 60’s? The other looks more like a typical truck dealership that wouldn’t be on auto row and was focused on a full line of trucks.
Stand-alone GMC dealerships were typically located in rural smaller towns with a large agricultural surrounding market. Otherwise, GMC franchises were teamed with Pontiac and Pontiac-Buick or Olds and Olds-Cadillac dealers. Never with Chevrolet dealerships, for the obvious reason.
GMC would also grant a franchise in a market to an other than GM-brand dealer to have coverage.: McClurg DeSoto-Plymouth, Perry, NY in the 1950’s had a GMC franchise too. Odd situation as the town also had Frank Murphy Pontiac and Magliose Oldsmobile, neither of which sold GMC trucks. Probably a legacy franchise left over from the times before GMC was teamed with other GM car makes.
A few observations:
Those rims on the gold Colt at San Leandro Dodge? Stock?
What car was the basis for Vic’s Rocket? Looks cool!
Danville CP must have also been a Subaru dealer, 3 on the front forecourt line
The holder of the road flare looks like he’s ready to torch Herrera Buick because of a bad deal LOL.
4″!” Shelbys in front of Jim Davidson Dodge, he must have been/is a high volume dealer!
Aweseom Shelby blue/white Dodge A100 shop truck pulling out of Pistoresi CP!
 911s parked in the VW dealer lot!
“Those rims on the gold Colt at San Leandro Dodge? Stock?”
No, I’m sure they were dealer added, along with the vinyl top. Dealers frequently added these “options” on early seventies Japanese imports, since they came with a big mark up (and some wiggle room during the price negotiation).
That’s a clever mash-up for Lesher Moorhead Oldsmobile. The “building” behind and above the dealer is the main building copied above the billboards at the back of the used car lot.
Even the cars in front of the second building are duplicates!
I had to do a double take on that one. I wonder if that was done because they couldn’t decided on which view to use or if there was something in the back ground they wanted to hide, like the signs/building for competitor next door.
These post cards have pointed out many of the ways the industry has changed over the years, but the Tri-City C-P really drives home the point of why so many of these photos show competitive makes in the front row. That was of course that ordering your new car was very common and Tri-City is noting in the window that they are now taking orders for 78’s.
Now of course people expect to buy off the lot so the front lines in front of the showroom are filled with new cars, not used.
Toyota City and the Datsun dealership really drive the switch that was taking place at the time home as they have their new cars neatly line up with nary a used car to be seen. Meanwhile that C-P dealer has a Mercury on their front row, while they are taking the promo picture. Seems like they could have taken the time to move it out of the picture and find a Plymouth or Chrysler to fill the spot.
Impressive collection as always. Besides the cars, I’m always curious with regards to the lot presentations, and building architecture. This early 60s building belonging to ‘Twin Buick’ is one of the most impressive I’ve seen. Given how tacky many early 60s lots appeared, this very progressive ‘modernist’ style is popular today. This architecture could host most any premium brand today, such as Mercedes. And remain beautiful. It appears too high end for Buicks in fact. The dated signage, the flags, and the cars, are the main elements preventing this from looking like a 2020 shot. It is remarkably advanced in many ways.
Sadly, no, it’s been corporatized.
Thank you. That is unfortunate, it was well worthy of preservation. It would have looked state of the art in many ways now.
I agree that this is a very unusual and very stylish dealership building. I actually think it “fit” the Buick brand at the time this shot was taken–mid-1960s Buicks were considered upmarket cars, more or less akin to where Lexus is positioned today.
Jacobs Twin Buick was on Grand Avenue near Harlem on the western edge of Chicago, next to what used to be Brickyard Mall. My parents bought a new 1981 Century from them. Years later we found out the “new” car had crash damage when getting something fixed on it; the dealer had just repaired the body damage and sold as new. Perhaps it was damaged off the truck, or a porter got a little nuts.
There’s now a Honda and Hyundai dealer on that site.
But if you go to Google street view and look for 6783 W. Grand Avenue Chicago, you can see that a little bit of the old building is still there. Apparently they build the new ugliness around the old modernist-style dealership.
It’s funny, I’ve never noticed that! Hard to see from street level, I guess. Unless you’re Google and have a camera on top of your car.
Also, I believe that is the only Applebee’s in Chicago.
So ironic, given the 1960s structure would have garnered much praise today for its beauty. It would have been a landmark.
Well, everything about that Hyundai dealership building says “cheap”. It looks like nearly every other Hyundai dealer I’ve ever seen, so clearly it was ordered out of a catalog of franchise designs. And I’m sure it was much less expensive to just clad the old building than to tear it down and start over.
Great thread! I can never see enough pictures of ephemeral architecture. 🙂
I couldn’t agree more. If only someone had more foresight when these decisions were made. In the town where I grew up, an art deco-style 1940s GM Canada dealership was preserved, and repurposed with other small businesses. I wish more real estate owners were this progressive.
Cool I love seeing those remaining remnants, of course I’d prefer if it were original instead.
The building Fred Ward Hudson in Denver is still there, it is now the Clifford Still Museum (art).
Ar first I thought it was 10th & Broadway, which for the 40 years I lived in Denver was the Gart Brothers Sports Castle, home of the Singrab (Bargins spelled backwards!) sale Labor Day weekend (a very big deal for skiers).
Y’left out a letter; that was SNIAGRAB. Wow, I haven’t thought of that in many years!
(Gart Bros, Dave Cook’s, Holubar’s…bunch of sporting goods stores that got recursively swallowed up…)
Oh, wow, C.H. Dimmette Chrysler Plymouth in Santa Monica. Of all the dealerships in this series to jump out at me, this is where my dad and I found my very first car in January 1965. It was a 1964 Pontiac LeMans, just traded in, with all of 12,000 miles on it, less than a year old. I was just starting college. I fell in love with that car the moment I set eyes on it. I don’t remember the asking price, but I do remember Dad negotiating them down to $2400, he loved schmoozing with car dealers and sales persons. I hadn’t thought of all this in many long years. Great memories!
If anyone needs me, I’m hurrying in to Currin-Massey Dodge (pic № 28) to snag a brand-new 1961 Lancer. I’ll be awhile; I gotta stop by the parts counter and order a Hyper-Pak kit and some other goodies for it.
‘Honest John’s’ caricature reminds me of the original San Diego Padres logo.
So nice to see COLOR on the vehicles instead of the boring achromatic palette of black/gray/white that consumers are, like blind mice, stuck with purchasing today!
Waterbury Ford was looking a bit worn and threadbare, by the time the photos were taken in 1960 or so.
Great Lakes Motors Corp, Dodge-Plymouth, if its the dealership by that name in Buffalo, NY also had a Studebaker-Lark & Mercedes-Benz in the late 1950’s, continued into the 1960’s remaining with M-B after Studebaker fell by the wayside.
I never could look at Mann’s for the Victorian home. The need to watch where you are driving on the road precludes viewing the background. Great photos, gents!
“Kliff Motor Truck Co.” in Dallas, according to Google, was a few hundred feet east and across the street from the gravesite of Clyde Barrow. “Kliff” is a play on Oak Cliff, the name of that neighborhood in Dallas.
The 1954 Kaiser-Willys dealership photo is the rarest in this fine group. That combination of ’54 Kaiser Manhattan and Darrin plus Willys Aero wouldn’t be possible just a year later.
‘Honest John – 50 New Cadillacs’ such dealers were commonly found in cities in the immediate postwar years when the demand for new and near-new Cadillacs was at a frenzy pitch. Slick operators, they found connections to sources new and ‘slightly-used’ Cadillacs from franchise dealers willing to play the game. Pricing well over list was the norm, the healthy mark-up allowed Cadillac dealers to sell all the cars they could get, to whoever was willing to pay the inflated price…even if it was another dealer who would flip the car for even a greater mark-up. Cadillac frowned on the practice, but there was little they could or would do about it. It calmed down once the postwar pent-up demand for new cars became satisfied, though Cadillacs still commanded pricing other makes envied, both new and used.
I would give my left you know what to have the opportunity to go back in time for an entire week and spend time in many of these cool car dealers. Even the buildings back then were interesting and had so much more character and flare than the cookie cutter seen one seen them all look of today.
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