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Atlanta Georgia -Through the Years at Mitchell Motors

Recently we featured “Follow the Spotlight to Mitchell Motors Oldsmobile New Model Introduction” were the spotlight out front and an amazing neon sign were blazing away in front of the dealership in the fall of 1954. Today we return with another set of images that date from 1962 to ’70 of the new car dealership located on West Peach Tree St. (auto Row) in Atlanta, Georgia.

The lead image was taken in November of 1960 and includes a new 1961 full-sized Oldsmobile and a banner on the showroom window touting the 1962 F85. Included in the F85 line up was the new Olds Jetfire hardtop equipped with a turbocharged 215 c.i. “Turbo-Rocket” engine. This addition was significant because it was the first production car sold in the US equipped with a turbo.

Share with us what you find of interest in this set of photographs courtesy of the Georgia State University Library. 

  • A group of women and 1962 Olds hardtops photographed on May 5, 1962 for some sort of a promotion.

  • Four full-sized Oldsmobile four door hardtops in front of the Dealership onSeptember 31, 1965. 

  • The “71 Olds Is Here” banners and new 71 models in the showroom on October 9, 1970. It appears Mitchell Motors also handled the Rolls Royce at this time, note the sign on the left rear corner of the building.

20 responses to “Atlanta Georgia -Through the Years at Mitchell Motors

  1. In the Lead photo, that would be a ’61 Olds Ninety Eight 6 –window Holiday Sedan…the first modern Oldsmobile allowed to share GM’s Cadillac and Senior Buick C-body. Around the corner, a ’60 Pontiac.

    Item 1 of 3 displays 7 or 8 ’62 Olds Starfire Coupes in their new metallic colors that while certainly shiny, had an almost matte finish…you didn’t get much sharp reflection off them (that was popular for 2 or 3 years on everything from Christmas ornaments to household appliances) . There’s a pair of Holiday Coupes in the window: a white 88 and a dark Starfire.
    The reflection seen in the furthest left side window could possibly be that of a two-tone ’56 Ford Parklane 2-door wagon.

    Item 2 of 3 shows a ’65 Ninety Eight in the corner window and a lineup of four ’65 Jetstar 88 Celebrity (fixed pillar) and Holiday (hardtop) Sedans with what could be a white 4-4-2 Coupe and a light Ninety Eight Town Sedan in the front windows.

    In Item 3 of 3, on the side street I see a ’69 or ’70 Electra 225, a ’61 LeSabre sedan and a ’68 Firebird (visible side marker light an no apparent vent windows vs a ’67).

  2. Dave, former Delaware Olds in Wilmington DE had a beautiful Art Deco building constructed in 1948. It was razed in 2003, but the fabulous large art deco terra cotta tiles that graced the front service entrance were kept. They were hand made by the O.W. Ketcham Terra Cotta Works Co. of Crum Lynn, PA. Fast forward: Delaware opened a new DMV and the picture tiles grace the inside of the entrance. The tiles depict tools and car parts etc. A google search “vintage delaware oldsmobile wilmington delaware” images, then scroll down to Delaware Backstory: Historic … . Worth checking out!

    • I believe that Olds shared the big GM body with Buick and Cadillac from 1942
      through 1949 and then reverted to a stretched “B” body during most of the 50’s.
      I’m pretty sure the ’47 through ’50 ‘s convertibles also had the hydraulic windows, seat and top reserved for the bigger open cars.

  3. Mitchell Motors knew how to promote Oldsmbiles. I see between 1962 and 1965 they did a facelift to the building. I wonder what happened to the hugh neon sign. Great photos. John

    • In St. Petersburg, sometime in the 60’s they refaced the old Pfeil Building with some sort of aluminum fascia that looked just like this. You can see the windows through it if you look closely. It got the name of “The Cheese Grater Building.” I always thought it was an eyesore until they finally razed it a few years back. I’d bet that’s what was done with this dealership to give it a contemporary look.

    • Many dealerships used the first floor for a showroom and offices and put the service department on the second floor. Because customers entered the first floor, it may have been air-conditioned, but the open windows on the second floor lead me to conclude that it was not blessed with that luxury.

  4. The overhead wires tell a story. Between 1962 and 1965, the overhead trolley wires had gone (though a few wires on the left may have been retouched out of the image), and between 1965 and 1970, the sky had been cleared even more.

    • Somehow while looking at the cars I missed the clutter of overhead wires. I’m surprised the sunshine made it through that mess.

  5. I think the ’61 Olds was the nicest one, Starfire even better. So what’s the deal with all the identical ’62 Starfires, and do the ladies correspond somehow to them? Everybody in the office gets a new Starfire. Nice boss. They all have a dot on the door. Too fancy for drivers ed. Now, the ’65 , 4 doors, I could see those as driver ed cars, poor things. That banner on the rear door probably tells the dealer name. It was great advertising. Last pic, the Buick looks pretty tired. It’s odd there’s no mention of Rolls Royce in the front anywhere. Flashy banners are for American cars, Rolls didn’t need to do that, apparently.

  6. For a large Oldsmobile dealer, in my estimation they had a shabby looking dealership with weeds growing up through the concrete walk and curb and a generally poor presentation. Dealers today seem to take more care as far as how they want customers to view their business. Maybe expectations were just lower in the 60’s or in the deep South?

    • Yep. The building in the ’65 picture has an “other side of the tracks” feel to it. Things must have started getting soft, leading to the decision to change the facade.

  7. Interesting how the building receeived a face lift in the early 70’s. With the surge in “retro” styling, I wonder if the grille work on the upper stories was torn off in later years in favor of some other type of “modernization.”

    When Rolls Royce and Bentley came to a fork in the road in the early 70’s many dealers were given the choice of becoming Rolls Royce “servicee only” dealers (which looks like that may be what happened here.) Hence the small sign at the side of the building. Some dealers chose a second option, dropping Rolls and becoming exclusively Bentley dealerships. This happened in the Indianapolis area.

  8. I recall a boy in my high school who had one of the turbo F85s. It was a blue ’62 model and I still remember the hoses running over the engine when he lifted the hood. This was around 1967, so it was pretty impressive to a schoolboy like me. This is the first I’ve seen reference to it since those early days. I wonder where they all went?

    Wikipedia indicates the Corvair Turbo beat the Olds to production by a couple weeks. Of course I’d rather have the Jetfire. Thanks for posting!

    • Hi Johnny, I believe many of those Olds turbos were ruined by people not adding the special “Olds Turbo Rocket Fluid”, which was nothing more than distilled water, methanol and a rust inhibitor to cool the turbo as the cars became beaters. I don’t recall the Corvair having that.

  9. I remember visiting Mitchell Motors several times with my Dad. We lived in East Point, several miles from The dealer which I believe was on Peachtree St. My dad bought a ’63 F85 Deluxe wagon from them after considering the Buick Special and the Pontiac Tempest wagons. I remember Mitchell being a Rolls dealer also.

  10. I’m guessing the 13 women in the picture is the accounting department of the dealership… took a large workforce for manual bookkeeping, typing, ordering, in those days… most of that workforce today, is eliminated by computer…
    inside the window, about 5 sales reps…
    in maintenance would be 6 or 7 mechanics…

  11. I clearly remember a 1948 Olds 98 with the ‘C’ body. A Neighbor had purchased it in Atlanta. It was owned by a Mr & Mrs Jim Higgs.

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