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Oliver Motor Co. Chrysler – Plymouth Dealership Columbia, South Carolina

Today’s featured images contain the Oliver Motor Co. located at 2101 Main St. in Columbia, South Carolina. The 1955 or ’56 Plymouth sedan on the far right of the lead photo has a license plate dating to 1958, so we assume that was the year the photo was taken. In addition to selling Chrysler Products Corporation automobiles, the 1958 City Directory lists the sales agency as handling Chris Craft boats.

The second photo below, dated by the source to May 11, 1959, includes a view of some of the Oliver staff members and a pair of 1959 Chrysler Imperials.

Please share with us what you find of interest in these photographs courtesy of the Richland Library.

27 responses to “Oliver Motor Co. Chrysler – Plymouth Dealership Columbia, South Carolina

    • As a senior in high school my brother owned a 1956 Plymouth Fury. It must have been a very expensive Plymouth in 56. It had AC, power windows, power steering, power brakes and a power front seat.

      • Wayne,

        You’re absolutely correct, your brother’s ’56 PLYMOUTH Fury must have been expensive especially with air-conditioning !!


  1. What I think I see…in the Lead Photo and Item 1 of 2, a ’55 Plymouth (non-Plaza) 4-dr sedan, a ’55 Chevy Bel Air 4-dr sedan, a ’57 Chevy Two-Ten 2-dr sedan, a ’55 Chrysler Windsor 4-dr sedan, a ’55 Mercury Montclair coupe (accent panel along window sill vs Monterey), a ’57 Ford Ranch Wagon, a ’58 Plymouth, a ’57 Ford Custom, no idea, a ’55 Chrysler New Yorker, a ’57 Plymouth Belvedere, likely a Sport Coupe, with body-side two-tone and trim.

    In Item 2 of 2 from the left a ’56 Plymouth Savoy or Plaza, a ’59 Imperial Custom or Crown Sedan with another ’59 in the showroom. To the right side a ’57 Plymouth, likely Belvedere Club Sedan with two-tone side trim

  2. Lead picture, the Plymouth on our right is a 56, not a 55, as shown by the wings on the hood ornament, “Plymouth” being spelled out in individual letters across the lower hood, the Indian/Mayflower medallion in the center of the lower hood trim, and the mesh in the center of the grille. This one is a flathead six, as shown by the lack of a “V” in the middle grille mesh. The front license plate is bent, as they all were, because the front bumper bowed out right behind the plate, making it an excellent target for bad parallel parkers.

    On towards the left, a 55 Chevy, 57 Chevy (V8), 55 Chrysler Windsor, 55 Mercury, 57 Ford, 58 Plymouth, another 57 Ford and a 55 Chrysler New Yorker.

  3. Interesting fonts on the building. The prominence of Chrysler over Plymouth reflects the days when all Chrysler Corporation dealers could sell Plymouth, prior to the reorganization after the demise of DeSoto. There were Chrysler-Plymouth, Dodge-Plymouth, and De-Soto-Plymouth dealers.

  4. 5 cars down in the front row, I’d love to have that `55 Mercury Montclair hardtop! In the last photo, a `59 Imperial Crown 4dr. sedan.

  5. First picture, nice Imperial sign on front of the building and I’m wondering if it may be a neon sign. Second picture, I don’t see any boats however across the street is a Renault and Simca dealer. And it looks like the birds have built nest behind the Plymouth letters on the building. The woman in the show room looks happy. Did anybody else notice the many oil spots on the ground where the three gentlemen are standing? Nobody worried about that back then.

  6. I see in the second photo, across the street is a Simca and Renault dealership. Either one of these cars would have fit into the trunk of the Imperial in the foreground.

  7. Assuming that the lead photo is the dealer’s used car lot, it looks like a lot of Chevy and Ford owners were trading in relatively new cars for something with the Forward Look.

  8. Funny to see Fords and GM products on the “front line.” Back then, most dealers put used off-brand cars in the second or back rows.

    • Hi Richard, I think the contrary. Dealers may have put late model other brands in the front row to show everyone what people may have traded in for one of their cars. Heck, they could even be on “loan” from their buddies Ford dealer, as if to say, “I was unhappy with my one year old Ford and traded it for a Plymouth”. That would be a pretty strong sales gimmick.
      I too saw the Renault / Simca dealer. That was quite unusual for the 50’s, and directly across from the “Big Car dealer”. It may have been part of the Oliver dealership, as I read Chrysler bought Simca around this time.

      • You’re both right. It has been common practice to put your own make on the front line of used cars. However, another theory is to put other makes on the front line. The thinking is that if a customer is looking for a used Toyota he’ll likely start at a Toyota dealer. (Of course online sales changes that entirely). If you’re a Honda dealer and you have a used Toyota, putting the Toyota on the front line increases the chances that the prospect for a used Toyota will see it on your Honda lot.

      • Hi Howard, that’s exactly what I thought…show that relatively new competitive makes are traded in for your dealership’s cars. I hope you’re doing well there.

  9. You guys consistently amaze me with your ability to discern different years and models by the slightest variations in trim!!!! I can generally get the year and the make, but the extra bar in the grill or the different script on a badge — those are beyond me.

    • I believe it’s easy for those of us who grew up back then and saw the changes every year. I was 17 in ’59. For years my friends and I would go the the dealers as the new models came out. We would inspect the cars, grab a brochure, and study them for hours.

      • We lived one street away from “automobile row”. In Oct. of 1956 my friends and I walked over to the Ford dealer who had “the new longer lower 1957 Ford out front covered in a tarp.” We uncovered a portion of the tarp and guess what we saw? A 1954 Nash resting on it’s hubs!

  10. Get a load of the number of oil spots on the pavement in the second picture. Looks like every visitor to the dealership had a drip or two mark their territory.

  11. Neat photos.
    A couple of things…
    Notice the large magazine -like ad poster on the right side of the showroom in photo 2.
    Also, doesn’t the older guy on the right look like Perry White in the then current “Adventures of Superman ” show?
    In photo 1, doesn’t the 55 (and 56) Chrysler look great? Too bad thaey didn’t become an icon like the tri-five Chevys.

  12. And what’s missing on the white Imperial is a “Monroney Sticker” (federally mandated price list) that wasn’t required until sometime starting in 1958. Interesting reminder of the different world back then in which sellers had huge bargaining advantage (hence the mandate). Today, only used vehicles can be sold without a price list and that’s why there’s often more profit in the sale of used vehicles than in the sale of new ones.

  13. it is rather interesting to observe that motor salesmen on the Australian side of the Pacific, look, dress and have the same stance as these guys. Must be something in the “auto sales” genes that creates the same look.

    as always nice photos much enjoyed each week in Myrtleford , north east Victoria, Australia

    stay cool
    Bernard S

  14. Thinking of a Simca estate wagon, are all station wagons “estate” wagons…no matter the size/make? Just curious.

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