Russell Dodge's showroom in late 1966 as the new 1967 models were being introduced. (T-G file photo)
Dodge was "on the attack on dull driving" in fall 1966, according to a Times-Gazette ad from the time, and here's proof.
Welcome to the Russell Dodge showroom in late September 1966 (negative envelope says Sept. 27), just before debut day of the new 1967 models. They were offering refreshments as the new models were introduced on Thursday, Sept. 29, 1966.
Russell Dodge was on Madison Street just to the east of the railroad tracks where East Lane Street used to run, in the building between today's Clanton Paving Co. and Madison Street Motors. The building, which has housed businesses ranging from car stereo dealers to a tattoo parlor during the past few years, is now the home of a used car lot.
The dealership opened in 1965, I think, and closed in the late 1970s. Owner Haywood Russell just retired from First Community Bank within the past few weeks.
It wasn't so long ago that new model years were introduced with much fanfare, including cars covered with tarps before the big day as car nuts excitedly awaited the new models. That's back when cars' appearances actually changed each year.
From left in Russell's showroom area are a new Coronet (wish more of it was visible); a Polara, complete with a then-coveted vinyl top (I remember a time when I thought a car without a vinyl top was plain-looking. Today, I can't imagine wanting a vinyl top...); and a new Dart.
My dad was sort of a Mopar man in those days and I spent a lot of time in this showroom as a young boy in the 1960s and early 1970s. The Dodges I remember most are the Challengers in bright green, orange and other wild colors.
Does anyone recognize the man in the background? Seems like I remember him, but I just can't recall his name.
I'm glad we have today's tech-laden vehicles, and I definitely wouldn't want one of these cars as a daily driver now. But as a collector car on weekends? Definitely -- especially the Coronet or Dart, if they had muscle car power. Wish I could see the engine badges on their sides.
Picturing the Past is featured each Tuesday in this blog. Reader contributions are welcome.