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Picturing the Past 11: When GM thrivedPosted Tuesday, June 2, 2009, at 9:32 AM
Lowe Oldsmobile was one of three GM dealers in Shelbyville in 1965. (T-G File Photo)
Remember Oldsmobile -- the first GM line to fall in modern times?
Here's Lowe Oldsmobile-GMC, a Madison Street landmark from the late 1950s through the early 1980s; it was Coltharp Olds-AMC in its final years.
Today GM is consolidating dealerships into full-line stores. But in the 1960 and 1970s Shelbyville had three GM dealers -- Lowe; Cannon Chevrolet; and Wilkins Motors, which sold Buicks and Pontiacs, and at some point picked up the GMC franchise.
This photo's from May 1965, and there's not a small car (at least, by today's standards) in sight. The car parked in front of the building appears to be a top-line Olds 98. To the left are new Cutlasses and Olds 88s. I'd take the light-colored 88 two-door hardtop at left.
Bill Lowe lived three blocks away at the top of the hill at South Hillcrest Drive and Birch Street, in the large, nice (then and now) house which sits off the road. One of his stated goals was to drive home up the hill on South Hillcrest each night and see a new Olds in every driveway. And, by 1968, he managed to do so.
I remember my childhood days seeing mostly Cutlasses at every home (that's the neighborhood I grew up in). My parents were the last holdout; they bought a cream yellow '68 Cutlass 4-door to complete Lowe's goal.
This photo apparently wasn't published -- I couldn't find it in any May '65 Times-Gazettes -- but I did find an ad for Lowe's used cars. Available in May '65 were a "loaded" 1964 Olds 88 4-door for $2,777; two 1964 Impala 4-doors for $2,387; and a 1963 Galaxie 500 2-door hardtop with air and "full power" for $1,785. (If that Galaxie was the '63 1/2 model with the swept-back roofline it would really be a collector's item today).
SPECIAL NOTE: We now have a permanent 'Picturing the Past' photo gallery set up, where all the T-G file photos used each Tuesday will be uploaded and can be seen in one place. It also allows me to occasionally post additional photos instead of being limited to one per blog.
'Picturing the Past' is featured each Tuesday in this blog.
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David Melson is a copy editor and staff writer for the Times-Gazette.
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