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Bright Leaf Motors Chrysler-Plymouth and Edsel Dealerships

Today we return to Greenville, North Carolina for a look at three images used in advertisements placed in the Greenville “Daily Reflector” newspaper for new car dealerships operated by Bright Leaf Motors Inc.

The enlargeable version of the photo (below) of the Chrysler-Plymouth dealership was published in the newspaper for a sale held on July 14-16, 1965. The lineup of cars out in front of the buildings contained both new and used vehicles along with older used models visible in the far-left-center of the picture in front of a fence.

  • The line-up of cars on offer for a Bright Leaf Motors Chrysler-Plymouth sale held in July of 1965.

This earlier set of photos is of the Bright Leaf Motors Inc. Edsel dealership located on North Green Street, in the City of Greenville. The images were taken for an advertisement placed in the August 31, 1957 edition of the “Daily Reflector” newspaper during the run-up to “E Day,” September 4, 1957, the date the Ford Motor Company chose to roll out the all-new Edsel to the general public. Note the odd-looking silhouette of a car under an Edsel pre-introduction cover in the showroom.

Share with us what you find of interest in the “Daily Reflector” photographs courtesy of the East Carolina University Collections.

29 responses to “Bright Leaf Motors Chrysler-Plymouth and Edsel Dealerships

  1. In the 2nd picture [1st expandable photograph], in the background on the left, are a 1955 BUICK Riviera and a 1954 BUICK, unsure of either model.

  2. The optional “racing type” wheel covers (that’s what Chrysler called them back then) and the V-8 in the Valiant wagon around mid-pack in the second photo would make it a pretty rare bird today.

    • Hi Gene, weren’t those wheels standard on ’65 Barracuda’s? I always thought they were just wheel covers. I see the new Plymouth wagon has the “Chicago style” wheel covers. I like the 10 year old “beaters” agin the fence,,,

      • They ARE just wheelcovers, Howard. I believe they were standard on the Barracuda and were optional on all Valiants. BTW, my book shows that only 6,133 V200 and 10,822 V100 wagons were produced. I’ll bet the vast majority of them had Slant Sixes, making that one quite uncommon.

        • Those “sport wheel covers” with exposed lug nuts were optional on Barracudas and Valiants, for the base 13 inch wheels. They were standard, in 14 inch versions, on the Barracuda Formula S. The only differences between the 13 and 14 inch covers were the diameter of the grippers that were crimped onto the back side of the wheel cover, and the location of the stamped hole for the valve stem. The wheel covers completely covered the lip of the 13 inch wheels, but since the 14 inch covers were the same outside diameter as the 13 inchers, they left the lip of their 14 inch rims exposed. Interesting that the wagon has a V8, while the convertible just behind it has a six.

  3. In the 4th photograph [3rd expandable picture], on the far right, is four-door 1956 DODGE Custom Royal Sedan. This car missing from the 3rd photograph, but the other vehicles are present.

  4. In Item 1 of 3, from the right, four ‘65s: an Imperial, a New Yorker 4-door HT, probably a Newport sedan and a Fury III wagon with something other than a 318 but not even hubcaps, then a ’60 Impala convertible followed by three ’65 Valiants: a likely V-200 wagon, a Signet convertible and a V-100 2-door sedan. Then probably another New Yorker and a Fury III HT.

    At the far end of the lot I see a ’55 B-body Buick HT, a ’54 C-body Buick 4-door sedan and a ’55 Plymouth.

    In Item 3, on the left a ’53 Dodge Meadowbrook 2-door sedan with the 241 Hemi V-8 and a ’56 Dodge Custom Royal (kick-up in rearmost side trim) sedan on the far right

  5. In photo two there is a 1960 Chevrolet Convertible hiding behind the Fury wagon. How did that get in the front row?

  6. In Item 1 of 3, the visible difference between the distant Buicks is the ’55 B-body has its hood level with the fenders (and an unseen forward-leaning A-pillar) while the ’54 C-body has an elevated hood relative to its fenders (and an unseen vertical A-pillar).
    In Item 2 of 3, a ’47 or ’48 Ford with the high-mounted trunk emblem that I don’t believe the ’46s had.
    In Item 3 of 3, the Lincoln would be a ’54…straight bumper vs a ’52 or ’53, but does have 3 “teeth” below it vs a ‘55

  7. I wonder if they didn’t add some, say, empty cardboard boxes under the cover of the Edsel. I know if I saw that silhouette, I’d want to stick around to find out what the actual car looked like.

  8. Several uncommon cars are seen. In the second expandable photo I notice the 1947-48 Chevrolet Fleetline Aerosedan In the third photo is a Lincoln hardtop and next to it a Dodge hardtop, all of which were low volume automobiles.

    Don

  9. In the last photo, interesting that the Edsel dealership already has used cars, yet the Edsel wasn’t ‘officially’ introduced until 9/4/57! Obviously borrowed wheels from the Chrysler-Ply. dealer of the same ownership. In the first couple photos, I’m noticing the dealership itself, and how it appears to be a real hodge-podge of different building cobbled together to form a ‘dealership’. Almost looks like it started out some years before as a fruit/vegetable stand! As for the Edsel dealership, odd it is a stand-alone dealer, but it obviously was home to another make before the Edsel. I’m thinking maybe Hudson or Nash? A recently defunct make from around 1957.
    (NOTE: Some Hudson/Nash dealers saw the handwriting on the wall by `55, and dropped their franchises in order to take on a more ‘solid’ brand of car like GM or Ford.)

  10. I imagine weren’t many stand-alone Edsel dealers.
    My guess is Bright Leaf already had a used car lot with a building and put the Edsel store there.

    If the brand was a hit, then they could put it in a nrwer, large building for all the ’61s….

    • I’m thinking that in the beginning, all Edsel dealerships were stand-alone, a Ford requirement to help establish the brand.

  11. Car our left in the last photo is a 1953 Dodge 2dr sedan, with the first Dodge V8, a 241 inch Hemi with 140 horsepower. Two cars away, next to the Lincoln, is a 1952 Dodge, still powered by the old 230 inch flathead six. Between the two Dodges is a 1951 or 52 Plymouth.

  12. The Edsel dealership building is still standing and appears to still be utilized as an auto repair facility – Martinez Auto Shop. The address is 1600 N. Greene Street.

  13. I see my 65’ Plymouth Sport Fury down towards the used cars. Mine is Turquoise, this one looks like it could be too.

  14. Nice set of posi-traction tire streaks leaving the Fury 111 wagon without the hubcaps – possibly due to a quick exit after stealing the hubcaps off the Fury?

    In general the dealerships were not very well kept. The heater on the roof looks like junk and along with the weeds growing up around the cars doesn’t say much positive about how they wanted to present their business considering these photo’s were to showcase the dealership in an advertising campaign.

  15. By the stains on the shop part of the Edsel dealership, it wasn’t new construction. Most likely it housed an independent make dealership recently. As cars sales heated up in the mid-’50’s, Big Three marketing departments recruited the more successful independent make dealers to jump ship. As selling Studebakers, Packards, Nashes, Hudsons and Kaiser-Willys became more difficult, the promise of greater volume and higher profits with a Big Three car was irresistible. Locally, a Studebaker dealer dropped it for Mercury in 1954-’55; the Kaiser dealer took on Nash-Rambler.

  16. Evidently, based on the signage at Bright Leaf Motors it had only one Chrysler and multiple Plymouths to offer to the buying public?

    • I was wondering about that too. Possibly a tight floor plan with the local bank and a low wage area? But then there’s the used Imperial in the lot. Also wondering about the “Bright Leaf “name since the only reference I have is the Gary Cooper movie of the same name. (Basically: Guy fights local tobacco planters to establish his cigarette rolling machines in order to make $ and win gal; ultimately wins and gets rich but becomes such a jerk doing so he loses gal and friends. There, I saved you an hourand a half on TCM.)

      • Bright leaf refers to the top few leaves on a tobacco plant. It was, and I believe is, considered desirable and more valuable than the rest of the crop.

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