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Step Inside the Deal and Davie Oldsmobile-GMC-Cadillac Showroom

The Deal and Davie Oldsmobile-GMC-Cadillac dealership was located at 1107 Main St. in Susanville, California, and today we take you for a tour of the firms’ combination salesroom and parts department in 1952.

This set of photos are large-sized, which enabled them to be enlarged for a clear view of the parts room counter and some of the items contained in the view. Two vehicles were on the showroom floor at the time and are a 1952 Cadillac two-door hardtop and presumably a 1952 GMC pickup truck; the telltale tire marks on the floor show that the Cadillac had just been moved into the building.

Please share with us what you find of interest in these photos courtesy of the UC Davis Library.

39 responses to “Step Inside the Deal and Davie Oldsmobile-GMC-Cadillac Showroom

    • It could also possibly be a Sport Coupe, but given that the Coupe De Ville cost around $400.00 dollars more and that car looks very fancy I would say that it is likely the latter. Either way, a lot of steel went into making that colossus. I saw beat up a ’51 coupe back in the mid 1980’s and was amazed at how big that car actually was, though probably not any bigger than other fishtail Cadillacs of that era.

      • MP,

        You’re correct, the ’52 CADILLAC could be either a Series Sixty-Two Coupé or Coupé De Ville. I can’t tell the difference on the outside.

        Never cottoned up to the 1950 through ’53 CADILLAC vehicles. To me, the cars look like the company just added on bulk and chrome trying to disguise something which, in the end, made them look cheep.

        By the way, it looks like the car must have come in through the front door.

        AML

        • In 1951, 109,00 buyers “cottoned” up to Cadillac, in 1952 a down year for all car makers, 90,259 bought Caddies, and 1953 109,000 once again picked the Standard of the World” Lincoln couldn’t even come close with 27,271 but dying Packard achieved 62,921 sales in 1952. Damned customers!

      • ’52 Cadillacs weighed several hundred pounds less than did forties models through 1948 due to the lighter weight 331 OHV engine introduced in 1949 that went on to become the predecessor to the Chevy small-block V8.

        • I must mention the Olds 303 CI V/8 also introduced in 1949. My 1951 Rocket 88 with
          the small light Chevrolet body , made it quite a favorite with hot rodders for years.

  1. What great product juxtaposition! Covers a lot of their market, and it’s nice for a change to see that their three buildings (though dormant) are still standing, with the Deal and Davie name still displayed.

  2. It’s hard to tell whether this might be a Coupe deVille since the only external indication of that is a small 2-line gold script of that on the C-pillar. There does appear to be something there but it could just be a reflection. Anyway, it was Cadillac’s 50th Anniversary model commemorated by gold “V” insignias on the hood and deck. It was also Cadillac’s introduction of the exhaust-through-the–bumper feature that would continue for six more years.

    • I recall that with the introduction of the new Cadillacs in 1950 and later that were so stunning but expensive, that people would form little groups to buy one together, and then share driving time. You can image the fights that ensued…

  3. Was it common to have the parts dept. in the showroom back in the day? Seems like it would send the wrong message to potential customers. It is cool as all get out though.

    • Actually in rural towns the “showroom” often shared space with service, parts and maybe one salesman’s desk (probably the owner!) I spent my youth at the family cottage in the town of South Lyon Michigan. The only dealer in town represented Ford and most times with only room for two vehicles to be displayed. Many times one of those slots was a Fordson tractor parked next to an F-1 pickup. That was the inventory except for the Galaxie at the curb the owners demo. Still have the brochures with the dealer stamp “Spitler Demmer” on the front.

      • My dad’s Ford dealership in Ashland, PA was a one-car showroom (until they expanded it to 3-car in 1968) and shared parts and service write-up space.

  4. Something new every day. I’ve been in the car business my whole life. My dad was a small-town Ford dealer. I’m a trainer and consultant working with dealership personnel. I’ve never, ever seen a dealer license plate on the front of the car. Thanks

  5. Yes, that was fairly common.
    My father’s friend had a Ford dealer and the parts counter was about 6 feet long to the left d the showroom. Then again being in a Wisconsin farm town, it only had a one car showroom,one for office and the shop area in back.

    I visited my dad’s hometown last year, the building is still there and the back is used as a fgabrication shop.Nothing has changed !uch.

    • My Dad was a parts worker for Soule Chrysler Plymouth Dodge in Susanville from 1949-1958. I showed him this picture and he recognized it immediately. He told me they always ran a clean shop. My grandparents bought a 1971 Oldsmobile Delta 88 2-door H/T from them.

  6. Oldsmobile wheel cover on display under the cash register. My dad put a set on his 56 Studebaker Golden Hawk for several months back in the day (then switched to Chrysler wire wheels).

  7. I noticed the National cash register on the parts counter. My Grandfather had the same register in his men’s haberdashery store.

    • Tim, I believe those two boxes to the left above the cash register don’t appear to be those of the plastic promo models often made by AMT, and later Johan, since their boxes were usually plain and without a picture. More likely they’re so-called “tin” versions made in Japan and labeled “made in Occupied Japan” through April 25, 1952 that generally featured colorful drawings of the car on the box.
      I know the promos came in plain boxes at least through 1958 as I won a Johan ’58 Olds Ninety-Eight from a drawing at the Minneapolis Auto Show that winter.

  8. I spent my entire 40-year-plus career as a factory rep, both parts and service, and that is the cleanest parts dept. I have ever seen! They must have just moved into that building!

  9. One thing for sure, this dealer was proud enough of the Advanced Design pickup, to have it share showroom space with a Coupe de Ville. Trucks, at least in the midwest, catered to a different type of people than Caddy’s, and trucks, even new ones, were relegated to the back row of the used car lot. I don’t think they made a lot of money on trucks. This is from a time when accessories were king, and could double the price of a new car, unlike today, where modern showrooms have a dozens seats, for people with their head in their hands awaiting the final tally of the repair bill. Hard pressed to find any accessories at all.

    • I think modern showrooms still vary a bit by manufacturer (and probably location as well). My local Subaru dealer doesn’t really have a showroom (there’s room for one vehicle in the accessories department, and they display a 360 and a Brat next to the front desk), and the accessories department has more floor space than the repair office. Subaru may be a bit unusual in that regard because of their long history of road racing and rally racing. Since those involve modified street cars, it seems to encourage a modification mentality among a subset of the owners of Subaru cars.

  10. Deal and Davie later became one of the earliest Toyota Dealers in California. They also sold AMC cars in the ’60’s.

  11. Anyone want to hazard a guess about the pickup truck we see in the corner of the photograph? Rolled and slanted side rail of the bed is a clue.

    • I’ll give you a hint, 1953 was the last year for the rolled and angled side rail on Chevy and other GM pickups; in 1954 the top of the side rail was horizontal and the side rail itself was not slanted as is the rail on the pickup glimpsed in the above photo.

    • Re-reading the caption at the head of this post, I see I missed the administrators comment regarding the pickup on the showroom floor. My apology, David; you’ve already covered it!

  12. Deal & Davie was one of my customers back in the 70s. At the time Mr.Deal had sold to Mr. Davie and was still at the business every day. Their service dept. was just as nice as their showroom, and was taught a lesson in business at the time. “You can judge a business by the cleanliness of their bathrooms” and how true it is.

  13. What is that round, black, object inside the display counter? It’s just beyond the tailgate of the pick-up truck. It’s too small to be a tire.

  14. Just as I remember it. I was only two in 1952, but we didn’t remodel the showroom until the 70’s. In the end, my desk was in the back left corner. I was the dealer then. At that time the parts desk and service desk had been moved back into the next room to the North. For years we used an Olds rocket 88 for a loaner car. Notice the dealer plate on the Cadillac. I still have it in by basement. Also the safe on the end of the parts counter. Ahh lots of memories.

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