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The New Models Are In at Knapp Chevrolet

  • Knapp-1
  • A 1951 DeLuxe Styline Bel Air draws a good crowd at Knapp Chevrolet

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.

Knapp-2      Knapp-3      Knapp-4

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.

7 responses to “The New Models Are In at Knapp Chevrolet

  1. I can still remember all the secrecy & fanfare involving the introduction of the 55 Chevrolet product line at Village Chevrolet in Wilmette, IL. The showroom was papered over and huge thick curtains covered the new models until the introduction date. I still have the sales piece from this introduction. When the date finally came, the dealership was mobbed.

  2. I remember when the new 57 Fords were to be introduced. Advertised as lower, and longer and all new. The dealer in our neighborhood a vehicle in front of the dealership covered with a thick tarp. On it was a sign “See the new 1957 Fords this Friday.”
    My brother and I went over after dark and lifted the tarp with excitement, only to see a 1953 Nash sitting on its hubs with no tires or wheels. It was longer and lower all right.
    The 57 Fords eventually went on to outsell Chevrolet by a few thousand units that year, but the 57 Chevrolets are highly collectable now.

  3. My father, who regarded cars as nothing more than a necessary evil, dutifully took me around to all the car dealers at intro time. For me, it was better than Christmas and my birthday combined. The excitement was electric and it also provided great bonding time with my dad. Definitely some of the best memories of my childhood.

  4. Pictures Knapp 2 and Knapp 4 are from 1949. You can tell by the 1949 only accessory Deluxe steering wheel in the convertible, and the beige dash knobs in the sedan vs. the similar appearing 1950 models.

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