Many of us remember when the annual model change was a big deal. Although it was decried at the time by industry critics as planned obsolescence, it generated great excitement among both car buyers and young automobile enthusiasts like your writer. Big sheets of brown paper or curtains would cover the inside of showroom windows in late September or early October. Next year’s models would often arrive under cover of darkness. Within a few days, the official unveiling would take place amidst great fanfare.
That appears to be exactly what is going on in our photos dating from 1951 and 1953. No doubt much of the crowd’s interest in our top photo can be explained by the presence of one of the great style leaders of 1951, the Bel Air two door hardtop. Although both Ford and Plymouth would introduce their versions of the airy, pillarless body type this same year, Chevrolet was the first of the low-priced three to do so in 1950. You can revisit Knapp Chevrolet in an earlier post and see many more dealership and garage photos on The Old Motor.