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Dealership Postcards Lure Customers Into the Showroom

Currently, new car dealerships send out emails or direct mail letters to past and potential customers. Back in the 1940s, ’50s, and ’60s, new car dealerships used postcards with colorful Kodachrome images to entice car buyers to visit their facility. Usually, the photo contained the dealer’s building and inventory out on the lot, although pictures of the inside of the showroom were used on occasion. Today we are featuring four dealership postcards.

The lead image is a mid-196os postcard image of Coyle-Hampton Motors, located at 10200 San Pablo Ave. in El Cerrito, CA. The car seller’s stock-in-trade was, for the most part, used imported sports cars and sedans with a couple of Corvettes added in the mix. Autometrics, a dealer in used imported vehicles, is now at this location, and the building has survived.

Share with us what you find of interest in these postcards courtesy of auto historian Alden Jewell.

  • Valley Ford Sales was located at 2425 North Blackstone Ave. in Fresno, CA, when this picture was taken during the 1966 model year.

  • John Crisconi’s Oldsmobile dealership was located at S. Broad Street in Philadelphia when this image was taken during the 1955 model year.

  • Suburban Nash Sales Co. was located at 7050 Ogden Ave in Berwyn, IL, when this image was taken in 1954. Berwyn Kia is now at this location. 

27 responses to “Dealership Postcards Lure Customers Into the Showroom

  1. In the 4th photograph, in the used car lot, 1st car closest to the building, is a four-door, two-tone 1951 PACKARD 200.

  2. In the lead picture, on the far right parked on the street, is a four-door, light blue, 1959 OLDSMOBILE Super 88 Holiday Sport Sedan.

  3. In the lead photo the VW panel in the left corner appears to be a pre 55 “barn-door version.” My favorite would be the Mini Cooper far left.

  4. In the Lead Photo on the street of to the right a ’59 Olds Holiday SportSedan, a 1st gen Corvair Coupe and a ’55 Chevy, likely a Bel Air coupe. I believe the tan Corvette in the front row of the lot is a ’61.

    In Item 1 of 3, a ’61 Comet parked in front with a ’63 Chevy Impala passing. Probably a T-bird convertible, in white over black, behind the front row of cars

    In Item 2 of 3, from the left, a ’55 Olds (curiously parked among the “Used Cars”) a ’53 Pontiac Chieftain convertible and a ’54 Olds 88 or Super 88 Holiday Coupe. In the showroom, likely an pair of 88/Super 88 4-door Holidays in red and white and olive and white and a pale blue and white Super 88 convertible between them.

    In Item 3 of 3, parked by the curb a yellow and a blue ’54 Rambler on either side of a ’54 Metropolitan (both same as ’53s). At the far end of the lot, an early ‘50s Packard sedan, a ’51 Nash, a ’49 Lincoln Cosmopolitan Sport Sedan, a ’53 Dodge Meadowbrook Club coupe, a ’53 Chrysler New Yorker Sedan, a ’54 Mercury Monterey or Custom hardtop, a ’51 or ’52 Plymouth Cranbrook or Cambridge Sedan and a ’54 Nash Sedan with continental kit that appears to be an Ambassador ahead of a pale green ’51 or ’52 Buick

  5. Crisconi opened in 1933. John P. Crisconi ran it until his death in 1986 at age 92, and his daughter Jeannette Crisconi Darnall took over until 1990, when they closed. At some point in the 1980s it moved from Broad Street to Passyunk. They also sold Yugos at one point.

    John Crisconi was the head of the consortium that tried to keep the A’s in Philadelphia, only for Roy Mack to vote against the deal he’d negotiated with them in order to sell the team to Arnold Johnson. The Yankees are still suspected of backroom maneuvering in this sale, because Johnson owned Yankee Stadium and their Kansas City farm team’s stadium; the Kansas City stadium was where Johnson moved the A’s.

  6. Come on down to Suburban Nash and you’ll leave behind the wheel of a Packard. We’re so sure you’ll like it we parked jt right next to the door! Hurry, it won’t last.

  7. Coyle Hampton Motors would have stopped me dead in my tracks, and I’d go immediately to that Alfa Sprint coupe in the front row. Back then, every decent-sized town seemed to have one or two used-car lots specializing in sports cars. I bought a Porsche 912 from one of them in State College, Pennsylvania, and still have it. In Denver, we’d cruise by Hack’s Little Lot on Broadway.

  8. Is that a Saab parked behind the Alfa and beside the Jag?

    The Oldsmobile dealer looks like an old style of store that seemed to be popular during the 30’s. Very much retail looking like any retail store.

  9. Nice E-Type in the lead photo. Hopefully it survived, if so, Series 1s go for very strong money.

    Nice Sunbeam Alpine (it might even be a Tiger if the photo is new enough) next to it and a nice selection of post -58 Corvettes.

    Not many Mustangs at the Ford dealer.

  10. I love the old city dealerships like Crisconi Oldsmobile. They were replaced by a more modern building such as the dealer Valley Ford. Interesting photos

  11. Enlargement# 1 One of my first favorite memories – Ford Showroom, 1966, looking at and smelling the new Galaxies. I was 2 – This was the day while looking over Galaxie wheel covers and tail lights my interest in cars began. Notice stacked headlights all the rage, but was only a fad of certain makes from ’63 to ’68. Front row, Galaxies/LTDs, 2 Fairlanes and Mustangs, T-Bird maybe, with sedans out of focus near the vans. Front row for curb appeal: Up-line coupes and a convertible, with hub caps installed. Normally new stock had open painted wheels. The dealer has pushed the plain-Jane and stripper sedans to the back. 61 Comet on street was designed to be an Edsel. Merc held on to tail fins to 64, but Ford’s last were ’61. 1966 last year before pollution regs gradually intruded. In CA, ’66 was the first year. Regulations would choke 1970s cars, usher in the great malaise. No malaise to be found here in 66 . My dad bought the Tahoe Turquoise Mustang, and traded a 63 Biscayne. Apparently I cried and got cranky.

  12. The car beside the Jag is, I believe, a Triumph TR4. Saabs of the day had very curvy bodywork with a small grille.

  13. First picture-Sports Cars: Left to right first row: TR-3 looks like 1960; Jag E Type Series I looks like 1961 hard to tell if headlights have cover or not; Sunbeam Alpine Series 3 maybe 1963 but yellow turn signals are odd; TR 4 1962; Austin Healey 3000 Mark II 1962; Corvette 1958; Unknown red car behind tree, thought it might be an MGB but don’t think so; Alpha Romeo Giuletta 1960; MGA 1960. Corrections please.

    Have owned various sports cars, including an Austin Healey just like the black one, only it was Healey Blue (the only color for a Healey) , an MGA just like the light blue one and an MGB . Odd that it looks like no MGB’s are on lot but since they only came out in 1962 maybe they were still too new .

    • Seems entirely possible. Meanwhile, back in the far right hand corner, is that a Fiat 600? And what is the bluish car parked behind the white Corvette in the second row? The rear fender reminds me of an Allard.

  14. Its humorous the Ford dealership photo selected to print had a ’63 Chevy at speed on the street. One would think the owner of Valley Ford would have specified the printer use an image showing only his Fords, no competitive makes in view.

    It was common to see import/sports car dealerships such as Hampton Motors then, the run-of-the-mill used car dealer wanted nothing to do with ‘foreign cars’. They were notorious for being hard to get parts for, having unfamiliar engineering and electrical systems, requiring those metric tools. Not to mention the typical finicky, demanding type of people who drove them.

  15. 1st pic I’ve seen before, possibly on Hemmings. Someone from that area knew about that dealer, and said they had a regular rotation of sports cars. Apparently, it was not unusual in California, they were just used cars. 2nd pic, got to be a 7 Litre 2 door in that lineup. 3rd, lucky was the kid that grew up next to an Oldsmobile dealer, and last, Nash was hot. Judging by the trade-ins, Superman had quite an effect on car buyers then.

  16. The first picture is very interesting for me, because ther are a lot of European cars.
    I try to describe the first rom only, from left to right:
    Triumph, Jaguar E-type convertible with a hard top (1965-1975), next to the Jaguar not recognizable, Triumph TR4 (1961-1965), “big”Austin Healy 3000 (1959-1968), Chevrolet Corvette (1958-1960), next to the Chevrolet not recognizable, Alfa Romeo Gulieta (1957-1959), MG-A (1955-1959)
    The second row is interesting as well, but to much effort.
    The dealer must be British i suppose!

  17. The white Corvette looks like one of my Vettes. Also looks like fake loovers in the hood which would make it a ’58. The wind splits ( 2 fore & aft bumps) in the hood worked great in a snow storm defecting snow off the windshield. That and Positraction and a good heater for small interior made a good winter driver. Always seemed to snow coming home from skiing. This looks like it has a black interior, mine was red. A great car, won many trophies with it. Race, rallies, gymkhanas, even economy runs. Once got 41 MPG.

  18. First photograph: a non auto topic but the postcard is missing a large 3 story building on the hill over the car-lot building. The building, “Allinio’s Castle” is still there today.
    The castle was built in 1907 by Phillipe Allinio, who also built 4 aircraft in the basement and flew them from nearby lots between 1915 and ~1920. The area was more rural then ;>)

    The “castle” is notable on the current “street view” of the car lot and is in great shape today.

  19. I am amazed that not one has noticed the partially visible, black sedan in front of the VW panel van at the extreme left of the first photograph. But then it takes a special kind of fanatic to recognize a PV-544 Volvo!

    • Amazing that the Volvo is the tallest vehicle on the lot excluding the panel van.
      (and that the corvettes appear as short as the Healys . )

      BTW this lot is only 5 miles from the UC Berkeley campus, which may explain the viability of foreign vehicles.

      Also “mid-60s date”: the “free speech” events started at UCB in December 1964. Some students could be unloading their fancy cars.

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