I’ll take your word for it.
And so we’ve come to the end of my stash of these.
A sampler from Alden Jewell’s Flickr page
An Acura dealership postcard!? We should all feel very old now.
I know I’ve seen that Sunbeam ad before, because I remember making a joke that the Eastern representative was “Mr. Joseph Stehlin.”
To someone my age, the Bill Cairns Pontiac building is the height of once-was modernity. Dark brick, geometric shapes, and Helvetica signage. It might not be a style that aged particularly well, but I’ll always have a fondness for it.
Yes, it was featured here, last year:
It’s got to be the most ironic dealer-promotion ads I’ve ever seen.
Bill Cairns Pontiac may be the first of these old dealerships featured here that I’ve actually set foot in – and probably around the same time this photo was taken, in 1980 or 81. 5001 Auth Way in Marlow Heights, MD. Appears to be a Darcars used car outlet now.
I understand the reluctance of independent dealers to constantly remodel the showroom or the dealership structure. A dealer spent a fortune 10 years ago, yet still paying the mortgage. Now threaten with losing a franchise because the marketing dept is chasing the style du jour.
That’s why VW way back in the late 50s or early 60s insisted on a consistent theme for all dealerships, so that their dealers wouldn’t be constantly changing to chase the latest styling fad. All their stores looked the same. Airy and open and friendly. It improved customer recognition, too. That continued until the 80s.
Its fun to lookup the poatcards street addresses on google street view. Its interesring to see how theyve changed.
I’ve been doing that with the Chicago-area ones I recognize. It’s amazing how many are still standing, if not in their original state.
Becker Motors building in Detroit. Facia has been revised, but still the same structure underneath. Note the height of the 1st floor compared to the 2nd & 3rd. Also note the single story store front to the left. Bet this thing is made of concrete. Solid as a rock!!
Those Sunbeams look like cut-rate 1960 Corvairs.
I’ll take the ’59 Olds 98 convert in pic 5, thanks.
Love the styling of the Olds dealership in the 3rd to last pic, it looks like something Eero Saarinen could have done. Hope it still stands, wherever it is
The Corvair influenced the styling of several contemporary European cars. The Hillman/Sunbeam Imp was one of them.
Did Americans buy Imps even a a second grocery getter car!. Alpines were hot in the day but the others…
The S&K Chevrolet dealership is at 870 Redwood St, Vallejo, CA. Its now a Hertz Rental car location. Looks like the service garage behind the showroom turned into Toscalito Tire and Automotive. The property found a new use.
A Borgward (or Goliath?) Kombi in front of a ’59 Eldo is the most extreme pairing possible.
Those DeSoto dealer promotional ads were amusing – I looked into them at one point and was surprised to see ads promoting the virtues of being a DeSoto dealer ran in business publications as late as 1960.
Here’s another from the same series of ads as posted here… this one is from 1959:
“And when you go into your DeSoto dealer…tell ’em Groucho sent you!”
Franks GMC looks more like an industrial park than an auto dealership…
When did co-located car dealers/gas stations stop being a thing? The only ones I’ve ever seen were in small towns more than 40 years ago. (I still remember seeing my first Fox-body Mustang at the gas station in Castine, Maine that was also a Ford dealer. I was transfixed by that car – so crisp and Euro-look after five years of the Mustang II).
Very much a TRUCK dealership where industrial equipment is sold to business customers. It was reasonably common for freestanding GMC dealerships that didn’t carry them as a sideline to Buick, Olds or Pontiac not to have a showroom at all, just a sales office and the service bays.
You can see the difference that Ohio production had on Honda supplies. The first Honda dealer shot(1980?) shows a lot with with nothing in stock but trade-ins. The 1985 Honda dealership actually had Hondas in stock for customers to buy.
Someone is going to regret trading that 5 Series on a Jaguar at Ray Fladeboe (unless they traded it on a Honda, not as likely back at that time). And man, Hollywood could not have cast a better 50’s car dealer than Vernon Ball!
I like the Auto Empire VW building; looks more like a restaurant, bar, or nightclub than a car dealership. Or even a church. I wouldn’t mind those entry doors on my house…
The Willys, Jeep, Minneapolis Moline dealership is classic. Interesting to see the disc harrow on the back of the Jeep. In the early years they were marketed as light tractors. Even still, I’d bet that Jeep got pretty winded pulling that harrow and the cuts weren’t too deep.
That Rambler City location looks sort of forbidding, in an old industrial building with that security fencing all around. Not at all inviting like Cairns Pontiac.
Kee Rambler looks like a former 1950’s steakhouse type restaurant.
If I remember correctly, Max of Switzerland was in Scottsdale, AZ
Max was in Scottsdale. There is a pic of the same location as the postcard above, but a couple years later. It’s crazy… he had just picked up RR and Jaguar franchises. Picture that same building with a few Shadows, a couple series 2 E types, and in the used section- a Fintail 220SE and a 330GTC.
…Because the Simca area dealership was already taken?
The building in the 5th photo, Halladay Cadillac/Olds, is still standing and functioning. Currently the west or service side of the building is the Halladay body shop. The east or showroom side of the building is a scooter/atv dealership.
This MCM building is about five or so blocks east of the center of Cheyenne. Halladay’s main campus is on the far west side of town, near the intersection of I-25 & I-80. The dealership now sells Cadillac, GMC, Buick, Nissan and Subaru from three newer showrooms.
Here is a 1951 postcard for the Zell Motor Co of Baltimore. Zell was such a big deal to PMCC that the owner was one of only 2 Packard dealers who sat on the PMCC board of directors. He was not only a dealer, but a regional distributor, and every Packard sold in Maryland, was either sold or distributed thru Zell.
Zell Packard was indeed a showplace. Built in 1908, the building on Mount Royal Avenue is still standing and looks quite the same. There were several other dealerships nearby, Kelly Buick perhaps the most notable.
The MM/Willys dealer shows a brief postwar attempt by Willys to promote Jeeps as small tractors. Willys sold a complete variety of implements and attachments for the Jeep PTO.
The attempt didn’t succeed, but fortunately it wasn’t needed.
I have a great manual produced by Willys in the late 40s showcasing various applications and implements used with Jeeps. Each spread has a picture/pictures of the Jeep in question, with a testimonial letter from the operator on the facing page.
Here in Toledo Ohio where Wranglers and Gladiators are made, a 1946 Jeep shows up at Jeep shows that has a 120/220 volt generator, 200 amp arc welder, sickle bar mower, plow, and 36″ saw blade sawmill… the farm do everything vehicle…
During WWII Willys made a series of Jeeps with a power take off on the side of the transmission , I don’t recall if V-Belts or a stubby drive shaft came up between the seats to power a generator set where the small rear seat usually went .
I only learned of this one a few years back, might have been handy to power portable lighting for municipal work .
Seeing Irv Leopold brings back memories of his radio ads. A customer comes in looking for a Toyota Crayola that goes from 0 to 16 in 60 seconds.
Interesting that the Sunbeam ad shows the Deluxe Sedan, better known as the Hillman Minx series V, but the photo shows an early Super Minx, a different bigger car.
And I do like some of the buildings in the other shots
Like the Rusnak Porsche Audi pic too. “We sell two kinds of cars… the evergreen long hood 911, or the disposable and infuriating 100LS. What’ll it be?”
Carlsen Bros. is or was in San Francisco. That LO4 phone exchange was LOmbard 4.
They still have various stores further south in the Peninsula. I bought my Subaru in 2004 at their small Subaru-only store in Redwood City which I think is still there. The Palo Alto VW Porsche store dropped VW around the time we bought our 2001 VW, forcing us to go to the pretty awful RWC or Sunnyvale dealers for our “free” service and warranty work. A lot of Carlsen’s outlets were in older buildings.
Love these old adverts .
A “stash” old vintage dealer postcards. Who could have imagined?
Imagine Vernon Ball trying to sell Subarus to yuppie millennials today.
Paul just featured the 1961 Chevy Bel Air Sport Sedan (4-door hardtop) a few days back, and one appears in the front row of Wynn Sales & Service (VW) as a used car, plus there’s a nice maroon ’63 Pontiac Grand Prix just two cars to the right. Interesting that nearly all of the iron in the front row is a domestic vehicle.
The Acura-Honda dealer is an interesting combination I’ve never seen before. I’ve only ever come across those brands as standalone franchises.
I’d go immediately to MAX of Switzerland to purchase the MG TD, the Saab and 2 brand new Peugeot 404’s from the lot. My COAL.
Shortly after the Portland Trail Blazers won the NBA title in ’77, I was at Irv Leopold Toyota looking at Land Cruisers with my brother, when Bill Walton comes in and buys 2 of them!
Those couple of Lemans at the Trostle Olds dealership look mighty fine…
The Olds dealer full of 1969 models near the end looks like Collins Oldsmobile in Indianapolis. I believe it was one of Olds’ biggest volume dealers all through the 80s.
The Irv Leopold card is just an awful, contrasty photo of a chaotic scene. There’s a tilted, wooden utility pole foreground center. The floodlight stand. The overhead wires. A solid undistinguished mass of vehicles. The shitty looking pennants. The cheap-o sign that says:
GI V E US
The best thing in that whole mess if the plinth. or spindle or pindle or whatever you call it, that says IRV on it. I hope that has been saved and preserved.
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