Category Archives: Auto photos 1946 – 1965
In Part I of the Reed Brothers Dodge story, we covered the changes the Rockville, Maryland dealer had gone through from its start in 1915 to 1930. To bring things up-to-date with the manufacturer, the Dodge Brothers name was changed in 1930 to Dodge, and the company started offering both six and eight cylinder cars for the first time.
Even though times were tough during the Great Depression, the Reeds were doing well enough to finance yet another face lift and renovation; the front of the gas station and the canopy was remodeled as shown above during the mid-thirties. You can take look at the earlier photos in Part I here for a comparison.
After years of hard work that also helped to establish an excellent reputation, once again the Reed’s needed to expand. At about the same time as the gas station was remodeled, the car dealer split up the sales and parts and service operations by constructing a new building; it was located nearby at the intersection of Dodge Road and the Rockville Pike.
At this point, eight new cars and trucks were being sold each month, along with a number of used car sales. Many purchases at the time, as had been the custom for years in the automobile business, were still initiated at a prospect’s home or job site; as many of the customers were farmers, the Reed’s had an active team of salesman in place who called on prospects right on their property.
After the war when new car production started back up, and the firm once again had new cars and trucks to sell, it continued to grow. By 1953 both more modern facilites and more room were needed once again. The photo above shows the demolition of the old service station and car salesroom to make room for a new free standing Gulf Service Station and a new showroom.
The photo above, and the left and center photos below show the new buildings that were constructed during 1953. The parts and service department seen below right, was also enlarged in the post-war years. Lewis Reed still going strong in 1961 can be seen above in front of the new car showroom. At this point, we are going to end the story here on The Old Motor as it continues on into the modern era beyond the time frame that we cover here.
You can pick up the rest of the story with Reed Brothers Dodge celebrating its 50th Anniversary in 1965 and continuing on to its end of selling Dodges in 2009, ninety-four years after it first started in 1915, at Reed Brothers Dodge History.
At first glance, this might look like the front line at a Renault dealership but the caption that accompanied this press photo explains that it is really a parking lot in Washington, D.C. in 1959. In order to maximize profits, the owner, a Mr. L.B. Doggett, Jr., hit upon the idea that if he could squeeze two small cars into a space usually occupied by a large one and charge the owner slightly more than half price, not only would he make more money per square foot but the car’s owner would be happy with the discount.
There was no mention about how this arrangement went over with drivers of bigger American cars, but the fellow in the Ford convertible on the right seems none too pleased. Photo courtesy of the Benjamin Ames Collection.
Many of the cars in today’s photos date from 1957, which was a significant year in many ways. Tail fins were approaching their peak. The new Chrysler torsion bar front suspension was unique in the domestic industry, as Packard returned to conventional coil front and rear leaf springs. Virtually all U.S. built cars had full ball joint front suspension, the last holdout being American Motors. The Ford Skyliner retractable hardtop also made its debut.
A 1956 Dodge carrying 1957 Plymouths – A 1955 Studebaker Tractor hauling the company’s 1955 Pickups – A 1956 Dodge tractor hauls 1959 Ramblers
The horsepower race was in full swing. Chevrolet introduced their Rochester mechanical fuel injection unit for the 283 cubic inch small block V-8, the first successful system offered on an American production car. It was billed as the first engine that developed one horsepower per cubic inch, which certainly was the first one in a low-priced car.
American Motors tried a new Bendix electronic fuel injection system on their high performance Rambler Rebel, but it proved to be so troublesome that they were replaced with conventional four barrel carburetors before the cars ever made it to the showrooms. You can see parts I to IV of this series here. Photos courtesy of Dick Copello.