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Introduction Day of the All-New 1949 Model at Southwest Chevrolet

Today on a new car introduction day at an automobile dealership the only visitors that you are likely to find there are car owners in the service department waiting room watching reruns on the television. Back in time car dealer’s showrooms would be packed with people checking out the newest, latest, and greatest models an automaker had just released.

This set of photos is dated by the source to January 23, 1949, apparently the day the first all-new post-war Chevrolet was introduced at Southwest Chevrolet, located in Fort Worth, TX. The lead image and the enlargeable version of it (below) contains a view of the main showroom packed with visitors.

The second image (below) of the right side of the building contains a view of three well-dressed people watching a new 1949 Chevrolet “Fleetline” sedan that may have been rotating on a turntable in the window. Visitors used to get all dressed up for new car introduction day and the two men on the left wearing suits appear to be about to enter the building. The “Texas Motor” structure visible on the far-left was a Ford dealership at the time.

Share with us your stories about new car introduction day and what you find of interest in these photographs courtesy of the University of Texas  Arlington.   

13 responses to “Introduction Day of the All-New 1949 Model at Southwest Chevrolet

  1. In the lead picture, parked in front of the front-door, is a 1946 CHEVROLET Sport Sedan, unsure of model; following this ’46 CHEVROLET is a 1941 BUICK Sedanet.

  2. It must have been startling to see the new ’49 Chevys…granted, the ’47 Studebaker and ’48 Hudson were even more revolutionary, but in the coming days you weren’t gonna see one of them on nearly every block in town like the Chevys.

  3. I am surprised that the new Chevrolet was introduced to dealerships so late as Ford had already introduced its new model back in June of the previous year. As a result of a jump in the sales calendar, plus that the new “shoebox” Ford had created a sensation with the public, they were able to slightly outsell Chevrolet that year with both makes selling slightly over a million cars, which didn’t happen too often back then. But why was the sales race so close? One reason was that those post war Chevrolets were really beautiful looking cars, and that it was still a seller’s market at that time. Plymouth, due to production problems, didn’t introduce its new “boxy” model until March of 1949, but the old Plymouths still continued to sell reasonably well and yet they fell far behind the two leaders with only around 600,000 models sold that year and continued to lag behind them for most of the following decade.

  4. If that is the big dealer on Camp Bowie Blvd., it is odd that the street isn’t brick there. Seems like it was all the way up to town from the west end when I was there, but maybe not. I think that is Texas Motors Ford beside the Chevy dealer in the last photo. I bought my 1st new car there in 69. Wish I had taken more pics and paid more attention to something other than how much rubber I could “lay” or whose car I could beat, ha ! If this is the Chevy dealer I remember, it had parking on the roof , at least in 68-70. My pals new 69 Corvette was stolen before he took delivery from the roof-top parking area. Some of you that were in Texas longer than I are more than welcome to correct any of my hazy memories, but please be nice….I was so in love with your fair city !

  5. Introduction day was an important time at the dealership. The 1949 Chevrolets were not warmed over models, but a brand new car and quite a departure from the 1948 automobiles. I love all of the fanfare that went along with the promoting of new automobiles to the public. Great looking dealer is also a thing of the past.

  6. Bet it was standing room only in there. All the cars parked outside were rendered instantly old fashioned looking and obsolete by the sleek style of the new Chevys.

  7. In the first picture on the side street is a 1941 Chevrolet sedan and a 1948-49 Chevrolet pickup. Was the 5-window truck cab available in 1948? It’s interesting that the postwar truck design was introduced by Chevrolet in 1948. The postwar cars didn’t come out until 1949.

    In the second photo the car at the corner is a 1946-48 Plymouth followed by a 1947-48 Chevrolet Fleetline aerosedan and a 1937 Ford. At the right side of the building is a 1942 or 1946 Chevrolet Fleetline.


    • Chevrolet came out with this new style in the summer of 1947. The deluxe models had a chrome grille and “Nu-Vue”windows, which we call corner windows today or a 5 window cab. Non deluxe models came with grilles painted the same color as the cab.

  8. I see the dealer has extensive use of a Scotsman on banners, possibly promoting the frugalness of the Scots, although, I can’t find any vintage ads saying that. Studebaker used that idea on their bottom of the line “Scotsman” models. I wonder if they ever took offense to that? And judging by the reflection, that’s one big thermometer across the street, 60 degrees and a light rain, a Texas winter day and judging by the dirty cars, paved roads were a luxury then.

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