Vintage Dealers: Swanky Service Areas In The 1950’s

It’s finally the weekend and you know what that means. It’s time to deal with that silent family member; the car. And hopefully, you already set up an appointment for some much-needed maintenance at your dealer. What did you use to schedule it? Email, app, or phone call?

However, for today, let’s get away from cold emails, apps, and whatnot. Instead, let’s take a look at these rather swanky service areas from the ’50s; where attending you in style was part of the deal.

A sense of reinventing the dirty repair shop is evident in these promo shots: the streamlined workstations, the spotless floors, and the white uniforms. Everything speaks ‘designed’ to fit the task at hand.

One common theme with ‘usual spaces’ like repair shops or supermarkets is how they slowly evolve under our eyes, until suddenly much has changed without us noticing. I can’t recall if I ever saw workstations such as these, and it’s been a long time since I saw a dual/single post hydraulic lift in action.

I can see why some of these concepts didn’t reach much use. While designers love to micromanage every single activity humans delve into, users have the final say; and products and markets adjust to real usage. And then there are doubtful ideas like white uniforms. I mean, talk about defying fate!

That said, I would love to see one of these stations still in action. As it’s noticeable in this shot, most of these were taken in a few upscale dealer brands such as Cadillac and Buick. And whatever the plan was with these fancy concepts, it was a rather short-lived effort.

I know some commenters will provide more details on some of these tools, like the workstations above, also known as ‘Service Merchandisers’. For the time being, I’ll just say I would like to play around with some of these, as long as I don’t have to wear white uniforms. After all, I’m rather messy when handling tools.