Last summer I got an e-mail from Bill Ruh, the Montclair councilman, who in response to my Seven Wonders of the Inland Valley column expounded nostalgically about “things that aren’t here anymore.” I’ll share that in a column, or maybe a blog entry, sometime soon.
I just found Bill’s followup note involving the old days of new cars. Here it is:
“In Pomona the Chrysler dealer — I believe W.R. Shadoff — used to have a large sign which lit up
with the names of all the brands he sold – Chrysler, Imperial and Plymouth. If memory serves there used to be a large podium and a new car would be placed on top. The podium rotated (slowly to be sure).
“In those days of the late 1960s the car dealers were located along Holt from Pomona through to Ontario and along Foothill.
“It seemed that the introduction of each year’s new car was always shrouded in secrecy. The dealers would place butcher paper or some type of covering on their windows. There would be ads about having a ‘peek at the new (fill in the blank).’
“When the big day would arrive they would tear off the paper on the windows, have marching bands playing patriotic music on the lot; I guess purchasing a new car was a very patriotic thing to do. The Daily Report and the Progress Bulletin would have special sections dedicated to the new cars with black and white photos, etc.
“Leading up to the ‘big day’ the dealers would advertise ‘only five more days to the new (fill in the blank),’ then ‘only four more days,’ etc.
“Whenever a neighbor would purchase a new car, the entire street came over to take a look. It was an event. Today when one purchases a new car it’s a rather pedestrian event.”
Wasn’t that great? Thank you, Bill.