Photos of Vintage Auto Dealerships, Repair Shops, and Gas Stations

Los Angeles, CA

Appears to be a parking lot now.


For every #1,012, there's one of these. They (cool old buildings) all CANNOT/SHOULDNT be saved unfortunately.

Former Shelor Motors, then Gilman Pontiac, 1621 Milam, Houston TX. Art Deco, built 1927,38K sq. ft., razed 2017.

Updated (windows, HVAC, etc, in 1995). One of downtown Houston's oldest building at the time, there was a vigorous local debate about saving it.

It had been updated, had alternative usages over the century (it was the former Houston Press building) finally winding up in Chevron Oil Company property portfolio, who announced it had "outlived its usefulness and would be demolished".

Chevron had their reasons I guess .. not enough money to update it further probably wasn't one of them. Land alone was worth $17M probably making it one of those irresistible "no brainer" economic decisions in downtown Houston.

Just look at the tall stuff all around it, right? Something reaching skyward will/may be planned for that land I'd bet.

sources: Gillman Pontiac At 1621 Milam St., 1621 Milam Street - Capital Realty Group, Subaru San Antonio | Dealership History,

circa. 1968 as Gilman Pontiac
FLW 8A.png



Last edited:
Don't know when it happened but car dealer showrooms seem like they have a lot less artistic flair & general salesmanship style than they used to, especially judging by the pictures on this thread. It must have been exciting to go see the new cars back then. This is a Buick dealer in Pittsburgh circa 1935 showing the 1936 models (I believe).

Buick 1935.png
Don't know when it happened but car dealer showrooms seem like they have a lot less artistic flair & general salesmanship style than they used to, especially judging by the pictures on this thread. It must have been exciting to go see the new cars back then. This is a Buick dealer in Pittsburgh circa 1935 showing the 1936 models (I believe).

View attachment 587500
I am not sure exactly when it happened either.

I was IN the industry when OEM's decided to make standardized "brand image" changes to the dealerships. Dealers, as independent business people, didnt HAVE to remodel/move their businessess, but the OEM didn't have to sell them cars either if they didn't follow franchise agreements.

Early marketing of cars was an "event" for many of the first owners. City or rural, part of the "ooh's and aahs' were in the look of the showroom -- "palaces" where they sold NEW cars.

Hell, it WAS exciting, even in my lifetime, to go to a new car dealership!

120 years later the industry motorized the world, all the other changes, and after "cookie cutter" branding/architecture, OEM's still invest a lot of thought/training/franchise agreements, etc, in "marketing" whatever their particular brand themes are .. luxury, performance, rock climbing, outdoorsy .. whatever moves iron and gets good JD Power scores.

I presume they (OEM's AND dealerships) have data (demographic, consumer preference, etc) that drives some of their investment /decisions on how their buildings look (not just placards, banners, but brick and mortar too).

I have my doubts today .. even BEFORE I stopped buying NEW cars (worst investments ever in my view).

The building to me is just something to allow "all-weather" selling/protect valuable inventory. As long as buidling is NOT a dump, and I like the vehicle, I couldnt' give a sh** the color scheme of the building as that stuff doesnt affect my purchase decision very much.

Maybe it still does, or its just 120 years of inertia in OEMs and consumers' behaviors.

Mid-century moderne, built 1968, Canadian Tire Gas Bar, 1212 Southdown Rd, Mississauga, Ontario Canada.

Still there, recognized historical structure.

sources: File:Gas Station, Mississauga, Canada.jpg - Wikimedia Commons, Even gas stations in Mississauga have historic value: Micallef, Even gas stations in Mississauga have historic value: Micallef

circa. 1970's

"Since it was built in the late 1960s, the soaring canopy of the Canadian Tire gas bar at Southdown and Bromsgrove Rds. has been a landmark of the Clarkson area...

The roof is an example of the Googie style of architecture that sprouted up at gas stations and fast food joints along highways in the 1950s and 1960s.

Consciously futuristic, the Canadian Tire canopy was constructed using a concrete-and-steel technique that was highly innovative at the time...its design was a reflection of a cultural period that celebrated the car and associated it with optimism and modernity."

More in Toronto (Missagua area). They saved the last "Joy Oil Gas Station", built 1937, now located 1880 Lake Shore Blvd W, Toronto, Ontario

"A distinctive feature of all Joy stations was their small French chateau-like design. The last remaining Joy station has recently been moved from its original location at the northwest corner of Windermere and Lake Shore Blvd. to the south side of Lake Shore where it awaits a new life"

sources: Historic Joy Oil station languishes on the Lake Shore, Joy Gas Stations/Then and Now

circa: 1947, an example of the "company store" French Chateau design.

circa. 1970's. The last remaining Joy Oil Station that was saved and moved (pic right below).

Today, the last one immediately above, after the move and some restoration before some "reuse".
Relatively a LOT of Post WWII, mid-century moderne boxes still around, althought I cannot find 2 of 3 below still in existence.

They readily converted, since they were in essence just big boxes with concrete floors, into alternative usages in automotive, storage, subdivisions, etc. and could/were easily re-skinned, updated, or razed at low cost.

circa 1958. mid century moderne, Wise Chrysler-Plymouth, 5819 Gulf Freeway, Houston TX. Gone today.

mid century modern, circa 1959, Hagin & Koplin Ford, Newark New Jersey. Exact Address unknown, alleged to be demolished in the 1980's. It was said Ford started letting dealers use the "Ford Crest" as building signage in 1950.

circa 1959, mid century modern, former Dave Cole Pontiac, 3011 Admiral Wilson, Camden, New Jersey

Today, an Enterprise Rental Car Location
Last edited:
Chicago Auto Show. February 24, 1966. Note Goldenrod display in the background.

This was in Manhattan, corner of Pearl St and Lafayette St. The description on the picture says that intersection is no longer there.