Category Archives: Auto photos 1946 – 1965
The American Austin Bantam was a hit from the moment the first one left the assembly line. The body design for the little car was by Count Alexis de Sakhnoffsky for the Hayes Body Corporation, of Grand Rapids, Michigan. As Robert D. Cunningham has stated in our earlier history of the car: “The Hayes designs captured the hearts and emotions of people who loved puppies, kittens and babies.
The cute little car should have been a runaway success, but it was the victim of bad timing. The company’s stock went public just nineteen days before “Black Tuesday” the day stock market crashed in 1929. You can learn the complete and interesting story behind the development and production of the little car in the four-part American Austin Bantam Story here on The Old Motor. Photo courtesy of the Benjamin Ames Photo Collection.
There aren’t many car dealers that can say they have been run by continually by the same family for seventy-eight years, but that’s precisely the case at the business shown in our photo today. After being orphaned in his native Armenia at the age of thirteen, John Mirak emigrated to the U.S. in 1920 and learned auto repair on the job. By 1932, he had saved enough money to open the Arlington Center Garage and Service Corporation with a few partners.
He began his long career as an independent businessman in 1936 after acquiring a Chevrolet franchise. A move to 1125 Massachusetts Avenue in Arlington Heights came in 1982, a location where they continue to do business today, almost eight decades after the company was founded. The rest of this series can be found here. You can find more photos and stories about garages and car dealers on The Old Motor. Photo by Nishan Bichajian courtesy of the MIT Libraries.
We are actually on Massachusetts Avenue in Cambridge today, rather than in Boston proper. That is Hadley Street between the DeVincent Ford and University Motors showrooms. While our photos are always about the cars, the great signage in these two images appeals to us, too. All the neon here must have been quite a treat to see at night. Ford used those highly visible red, white and blue crests on their products between 1950 and 1958.
The instantly recognizable “Chief Pontiac” trademark is very much in evidence at University Motor Sales’ Goodwill Used Car Trading Post. We also spotted two separate painted totem poles in these images which, although they would be considered quite politically incorrect today, must have been dazzling examples of the sign painter’s art when this photo was taken. You can view an earlier image of the entire sales lot here. You can also see earlier installments of this series here. Photos by Nishan Bichajian courtesy of the MIT Libraries.