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Elke’s-Onized Good Will Sells Late-Model Used Cars

This Elke’s Pontiac used car sales lot was located on Grand Central Avenue in Tampa, Florida when this promotional photo dated October 20, 1953 was taken. Elke’s new car dealership was situated on Florida Avenue in the City. The first two rows of cars on display appear to be nice and clean and for the most part are late-model automobiles.

It is relatively common in the car trade to hear that most of the money made by new car dealerships is by taking in good used cars at favorable prices for resale and in the service department. Apparently that was the case at Elke’s because this sales lot is neat, clean and attractive with a professional-looking building and excellent signage, some of which is neon.

Share with us what you find of interest in the enlargeable images by Robinson and French below courtesy of the University of South Florida at Tampa. View 100s of earlier Car Dealership photos here on The Old Motor.

18 responses to “Elke’s-Onized Good Will Sells Late-Model Used Cars

  1. Nice picture !!

    In the front row, 3rd car from the left, is a four-door 1952 STUDEBAKER Commander [non-Land Cruiser] with a V8 engine.

    • Two cars to the right of the ’52 STUDEBAKER Commander is a light colored 1950 STUDEBAKER Champion four-door Sedan.

    • That Stude V8 was on overbuilt, but thus, sturdy engine that was capable of greater things. Forged pieces throughout, an abundance of head bolts, timing gears instead of chains, solid lifters, etc., all point to a design aimed at compression ratios of 13:1 or so, far ahead of the gasoline blends available then. No wonder Agajanian used them as a base for several Indy motors!

  2. The tyres look blackened with something as used to do now with those rubber revival products… –

  3. Grand Central Avenue was renamed in 1964, and is now John F. Kennedy Boulevard (State Road 60).

    The new car dealership was at 1101 Florida Avenue, which no longer exists. Based on comparing old photos to modern ones, it appears the Vista 400 Apartments are now on that site. In the 1940s, the Southern Furniture Company was located nearby (at 1110 Florida Avenue) and used the dealer’s paint-drying ovens to bake the finish on the furniture for MacDill Air Force Base.

    The used car lot was 1119 Grand Central Avenue, but since I don’t know if it was renumbered (and there are two 1119 Kennedy Boulevards, East and West), I’m going to leave that site alone as far as speculating what’s there now.

  4. Seem to be plenty of Mopars traded in. Was this about the time Pontiac and Plymouth were neck and neck for third place? I only see one lonely Ford!

  5. Parked on the right, 1st car behind the front row, is a dark four-door 1946 to ’48 DeSOTO, might be a Suburban.

    • Jeff,

      Convertibles are a bit hard to find in the photograph, but there are two; front row, 2nd car from the left, is a 1950 PONTIAC Chieftain convertible and in the second row, 5th car from the left, is another unknown convertible.


    • Florida has never been a big conv. market – too much shot sun. Interestingly for many decades Chicago was the #1 rag top market. Not sure if that is still true.

      • I lived in Florida for 18 years. Never had a convertible but a co-worker did. With the region’s sticky-steamy summer heat and humidity, he quickly regretted the purchase. He used to say “If you’re moving, it’s okay. But whenever you come to a stop for a red light, you’re miserable.”

  6. It’s interesting that most of the ’50s vintage autos in the lot still have split windshields. Note that the ’50 and ’52 Studebakers have one piece windshields. Just sayin’.

    • Actually, the ’50 Stude DOES have a two-piece windshield. If the body style had been a business coupe, 5 passenger (Starlight) coupe, or convertible it would have had a one-piece curved windshield. All sedans (from ’47) had the two piece windshield until the switch in ’51 to all bodystyles having the one-piece curved windshield.
      Studebaker was first to have the one piece curved windshield on a regular production vehicle with the 1941 Sedan Coupe in the Commander Six, Custom, President Eight, and Skyway.
      (Yes, there was a Chrysler Airflow Imperial Limousine with a curved one-piece windshield, but with only eight made it can hardly be considered a regular production model.)

  7. He must have had a lot of loyal customers, as there sure are an abundance of used Pontiacs on the lot; apparently taken in trade on the latest model?

  8. The Robertson and Fresh photogrphy firm was active in the Tampa area from 1932 to 1960. The signature and reorder number likely was hand-written on the front of the large format negative in India ink so that it would print out white. The negative film stock does not accept ink particularly well so something like a Koh-i-noor Rapidograph technical pen would be required. These must be used somewhat slowly in a near vertical position so achieving a “graceful” signature is near impossible as evidenced by the one shown here.

  9. Convertibles ? A Pain in the neck in the humidity+ cold states!!! Example : ONLY:
    Six 1946 Nash Convertibles were sold in Washington state. Excellent car, but NOT for Seattle!!! Southern California? Different story!

  10. Most two piece windshields went to one piece in 1950 in GM cars – Chrysler Corp cars about ’53, Ford in “52.

    Charlie D.

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