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Lincoln Mercury Introduction Days – Carr’s Motor Sales Austin, Texas

The lead image shows the scene on the evening of October 21, 1955, introduction day of the new 1956 Lincoln and Mercury models at Carr’s Motor Sales in Austin, Texas. All eyes are on the impressive new Continental Mark II. John Reinhart was the chief stylist of the Mark II and Gordon Buehrig the chief body engineer of the refined and tastefully styled top of the line personal luxury car. A Lincoln Premier is in front of the showroom window, and a Mercury Monterey four-door sedan in the foreground. 

A more subdued scene is shown above in a press photo taken on November 28, 1956, of the new 1957 models. This year may have been the first time the Mercury was referred to as the “The Big M” and its new styling as the “Dream Car Design,” other attributes of the car were spelled out on panels of a pair of mobiles hanging from the showroom ceiling. In the foreground is a Mercury Monterey two-hardtop, a Lincoln Premier two-hardtop takes center stage, and another Mercury in next to the front window.

Carr’s Motor Sales facility seen below in 1956 was located in Austin, Texas at the intersection of 501 West 6th Street and San Antonino Avenue, the building has not survived.

Tell us what you find of interest in the photos by Dewey G. Mears courtesy of the Austin Public Library.

24 responses to “Lincoln Mercury Introduction Days – Carr’s Motor Sales Austin, Texas

  1. New car introduction days were always a source of excitement for me as a kid. Not far from home was O’Daniel Oldsmobile. I’d ride my bike down to their back lot in mid August in time to catch a glimpse of the first new models arriving! I remember when the `67 models showed up, and how different from the `66 car they were! My fixation at the time was taillamps–I’d always want to see the rear of the car to notice the big changes. Then I’d ride my bike to a strip of new-car dealers referred to here as ‘auto row’ and look for the new cars coming in. I’d get caught on my bike cruising through the back lots where the transporters unloaded, but all they would say is, “Don’t get in the way of the trucks and car moving around, OK?” I feel thankful for those memories of a time we’ll never see again.

  2. New car introduction day and those leading up to it were exciting times, trying to get a glimpse of the new models. Doubt if anyone gets excited much any more. Glad to have experienced it when it was still going on. When the time traveler is perfected, set it for October 21, 1955 at a large Lincoln-Mercury-Continental dealer!

  3. Looking through the window in the 2nd pic, is a vintage Coca Cola delivery truck. They were yellow with red wheels and lettering. That red top rail says, “Delicious- Coca Cola- Refreshing”.

  4. The Continental Mark II. FoMoCo created a separate division just for this car. Often called a Lincoln Continental, but not technically correct. Still an attractive automobile , which goes to show that good design will survive the comings and goings of styles.

  5. Like other’s have commented….The new model introduction was serious business ! Dad would let me ride my bike up busy Lorain Ave. in Cleveland to the dealerships so I could gaze and collect the new model brochures.
    I was allowed to cross the street !! I gathered one for each model at 6 dealerships.
    It was like the Las Vegas strip for a 10 year old ! We would spend hours pouring over them. That would prompt going to the local department store to buy a couple AMT model kits that we would build together at the kitchen table, late into the night on the weekend. Irreplaceable memories !

  6. I must not be getting the same pictures as some of you. In the 2nd photo I see a full length Mercury at the bottom with a counter behind it. No inkling of a Buick or any other car.

  7. I was there. My parents were taking the ’56 Mercury 4 door Monterey hardtop that was on the showroom floor when I was 14 years old. The dealer was near Cherry Hill N.J. Parked there also was a new eggshell blue 1956 Continental. I spent every second looking at every detail of the Continental, ignoring the Mercury we were buying. My dad was very
    upset by my lack of interest in his new choice. I got my drivers license with that all white/blue trim ’56 Monterey and became quite fond of it.

  8. As others have said, the new model introductions were a special time. I got shooed out of many a showroom with armfuls of brochures on all the new cars. They knew a kid wasn’t there to buy. I still have them all, and remember how exciting it was to do recon at the dealers. I know that kids of the same age today just browse the Internet. Not the same as seeing the leather interiors and chrome I think, but the ones who’ll grow to be car guys seem to still get excited–R8’s and similar high dollar super cars– as opposed to the new Coupe DeVilles, Eldorados, Electras and 98’s that made me want a car so badly.

  9. Were potential customers allowed to sit inside the cars? If someone wanted a test drive, were there other new models parked outside of the showroom to be used for this purpose?

    • Always. Even today they are called Demos. Also used after-hours by the dealer big wigs and wives then sold before they accumulate too many miles. They are still new cars as they were / are operated with dealer plates.

  10. Looking at the dealership in 1956 , last foto with the gentlemen on the corner I was struck with a reality check… like many of your 14 respondents to this article of the Old Motor… at that time I was in my 2nd year college , Hugh Hefner had just begun to publish Playboy, hello he just passed- I did not live that life- and I was your typical college sophomore, knew more than my parents, smarter than anyone I knew… well , David as many of the responses read there are other responders among your devotees who may recognise themselves… here I am in my early ’80s, very well seasoned. I realise how little I know about that time… Like, I observe the Carr building that was obviously not air conditioned, had 2 stories… did that second story contain autos , parts inventory, more service bays, administration, or? What was there? Maybe someone else whose life has dealt with that world will enlighten me and others not so experienced, and other observations of the ’50s. Thanks.

  11. I remember the week leading up to introduction day of our local Ford dealer in 1957 . There was a car in front of the dealership, presumably a new “longer, lower” 1957 Ford. It was covered with a thick tarp and a sign “wait until introduction day.”
    My older brother and I sneaked over after dark and looked under the cover and there it was- a 1954/55 Nash, no wheels, sitting on it’s hubs. Longer and lower all right. Ha!

  12. Picture #1 with the Continental Mark II on display.
    The dealer must have had lots of clout or some kind
    of an “in” with the right people in Dearborn to land
    one of those $10,000 coupes for display. Maybe it
    was sold and the new owner let the dealer taunt the
    ‘regular’ customers for a few days. Regardless,
    it seems to me to a bit unusual to me to see one on
    display. Maybe there are other reasons that I am not
    aware of. Either way, it is a beautiful automobile.

    • If you read my memories above you will see I remember almost the exact scene as a 14 year old. I don’t understand why it would be unusual for the Continental to be displayed on the showroom floor of a Mercury dealership. I’m sure Ford wanted to get as much exposure as it could for this beautiful new vehicle. Also these Continentals were not selling like hotcakes ,so I bet there were many to put out on display around the country.

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