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Fred Bryant Motor Co. – Used Cars For Sale Lexington Kentucky

Today’s images are promotional photos taken of the Fred Bryant Motor Co. used car sales lot in Lexington, Kentucky, on Route 25. The Company, as early as 1930 operated a Chevrolet dealership located at 728 Bullock Avenue in the City, and was still in business as late as 1953 selling Oldsmobiles.

The office building was a converted street car, a relatively common and inexpensive choice for service stations and used car lot structures at the time in the south. Surrounding the office are mid-1930s to early-1940s used cars and an early restoration of a small low-horsepower Franklin with a barrel hood. The year the photos were taken is not known, although it appears to be 194o or later in the pre-WWII days or possibly as late as the early post-war period.

Share with us what you find of interest in the expandable photos below courtesy of the University of Kentucky that show the facility and vehicles in detail.

30 responses to “Fred Bryant Motor Co. – Used Cars For Sale Lexington Kentucky

  1. The Olds is a ’41 not a ’40. The ’40 Olds would have had frog eye headlights like the ’37 Chevy next to it, although they would be fender mounted. Forty one was the first year for in-fender headlights on most, if not all GM cars.

    • Ron… Actually AML is right, all the GM marques in 1940 except Cadillac( Buick did them the year before) either integrated the headlamps into or nestled them on the fenders, even Cadillac put them into the fenders on their LaSalles . Check it out… II think somewhere later in the comments here it was said in the 2nd foto there was a Lincoln Zephyer nose to the right… I think, instead it’s a ’40 Studebaker?

    • It is a 1940 60 series and may be a 2 door sedan. Just like our family car that got us through WWII. The 1941 models had a much larger grill.

  2. I noticed the 40 Olds too, (I owned one for a while.) I like everything about this picture, wish I could be go there a kick the tires no for a while.

  3. Wonder what the asking price of the poor Franklin might have been , 200 perhaps? some fine TOM reader might know the value in those days ?

  4. I really like the USED CARS sign. It reminds me of one I saw at a tiny car lot about 35 years ago before they screwed modern signs over both sides. It was originally neon with letting just like this one but with the background color of deep cobalt blue and had rows of bulbs around the perimeter instead of the curves this one has. The lot is closed down now but the sign is still there. I’ve wondered many times what it would take to remove and restore it. Probably a lot. I bet it’s 6′ x 8′. Like highway signs, they always look smaller from the ground to me until I see a guy up there working on one.

  5. Kick some tyres wander over to The Shanty …drink a beer …nice hour or so…the repurposed street car does it for me though… I think I would like to have met Fred Bryant.

  6. I just looked up Royal Crown thinking it a beer but its not ita a cola,note the small c .Nehi bottling took on Coca Cola and won…

        • I would say more regional than local – it was/is mostly popular in the South and, oddly, Chicago. Royal Crown held ~10% of the soda market in the US back in the ’60s because of innovations like the first diet cola and first pop-top can. Mediocre management on their part and very good marketing campaigns from Coca-Cola and Pepsi made that the peak of RC’s market share, and it’s now owned by Cadbury as part of the Dr. Pepper Snapple group.

  7. The large sedan parked alongside the office is a 1937 LaSalle. It looks like a Zephyr nose on the far right. But my favorite is the Franklin. Now that looks like fun to drive. Probably there for promotional reasons but it’s fun to think that someone just traded it in on a used Hudson. Given the the old car hobby was just starting at this time and cars like this were highly desirable, it is very possible that this car is still with us today.

    • Right you are.
      Seeing that Franklin stirs memories. Thirty five years ago I lived across the road from one. It was concours condition. The owner was a retired restorer, he also ran (I forget the year, late 20’s?) a sedan.
      That barrel nose makes quite a statement.

  8. Very unusual to see that anyone kept a car as old as the Franklin. The preservation movement had only just begun before World War II. In the 1930s, almost everything old was junked, and then when the war came along, scrap drives rounded up the rest. Hope this one survives. Someone should send this image to the H.H. Franklin Club and see if they can identify the car.

    • H.H Franlkin’s nephew, Howard Franklin operated a Franklin dealership in Newark, NY. during the 30’s. I have never been able to find a photo of the building

  9. Growing up in the 1950’s, Royal Crown was a brand recognized as much if not more so than Coca Cola in our part of the country. Even back then it was just called an RC. I remember whenever I would come across a dime, riding my bike to the local market and asking for a cold RC and a moon pie. What a treat on a hot summer day.

    • There was an RC jingle, the first line went “Me and my RC”, and I think the line was repeated a few times. Still an ear worm, I am hearing it in my head now.

  10. I’m always slightly surprised but very pleased to see the mirror finish on these cars when they were new or close to it.

  11. Lexington, like so many other cities then, must have given up its streetcars at the time. Practical folks reused those for used car offices, gas station shacks, diners, etc. This unit looks to be a Brill curve side.

    Displaying an ‘oldtimer’ to generate lot traffic was still common in the 1960’s. By then, it might be a 1930’s car but was pretty much guaranteed to get the curious to stop by for a look.

    Love that large “Used Cars” neon sign which were so common at one time.

    • Yes, the Belt Electric Line was replaced by buses during the 1930s as car owners complained about the tracks and the effect of streetcars on traffic. They last ran a streetcar on 21 April 1938. Their original cars were Pullman, but that was in 1890, and I don’t have record of what they used later in their history.

  12. Another too cool entry.
    I like to think that at one time that streetcar had been a diner.
    Who remembers Route 22 in New Jersey and its broken down diners/
    Brian 64SS you sound like you know your stuff about signs and what makes them
    The Shanty is too cool to be called a bar.Thats a tavern.I think the original meaning of the word “tavern” is a watering hole where the owner lives on the premises.

    • Though I now live in No. Carolina, I was raised in NJ, and can easily remember the Rt. 22 diners, as well as the fake ocean liner in the middle island in Union or Springfield. There were, at least as late as 2011, a few greasy spoon diners still left on 22, further west in Somerset County. One of them was the unofficial meeting place for Central Jersey Soaring club members before the days’ soaring started. I guess the food must have ok, as I never recall any members or visitors heaving in flight due to the nature of flight in a glider, and some of the pilots were known to get carried away in a strong thermal, banking steeply and whooping like a lunatic as the plane shot upwards.

  13. The “Mirror Finish on the cars —might be a quick wipe-down with Turpentine !; especially in a hurry- up publicity photo!!! The material used in the Photo, Looks to me – like: 600 Volt D.C . Streetcar Power Poles, cut into quarters, at a local Saw-Mill, from the Line that originally powered the Streetcar — that is “Now” a Car Lot Office, the brackets that are fastening the wooden: over the curb Ramp sections are galvanized cross- arm diagonal straps, with holes, bent to their “next application” as ramp hold- down stakes ! Clever re-purposing for profit margin advantage!
    Edwin W.

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