What L.A. Dealer was EVER on corner of Wilshire & LaBrea?

Discussion and questions about Packard dealers, distributors and factory branches.
Leeedy

Re: What L.A. Dealer was EVER on corner of Wilshire & LaBrea

Post by Leeedy » Fri Jul 20, 2012 8:01 am

More on Wilshire Motors, Packard La Brea, etc. I did some digging and checking with my good friend and PAC Trustee Earl Rubenstein. Earl is a past president of P.I. and was founding board member (along with yours truly) of PAC's Earle C. Anthony region. Earl is also an architect and knows his L.A. buildings. AND–on top of all this–is curator of the Automotive Driving Museum in El Segundo, California. Long story short, Earl is a treasure trove of information, especially when it relates to Packards and SoCal buildings. Between Earl and myself, we tried our best back in the 1970s to save and preserve everything we could on Earle C. Anthony and California Packard lore as we could see it all fast disappearing back then. We both rescued many artifacts and I'll show you some here.

Wilshire Motors erected a new building on LaBrea and opened as a new Packard dealership on July 7, 1936. Their building was a beautiful art deco structure with a fluted column segment over the entryway that was topped with a tri-fluted column that stated "PACKARD" in vertical letters. The unusual thing about Wilshire Motors was that they were the first SoCal Packard dealership in 33 years to not use Earle C. Anthony's distributorship. In other words, WIlshire Motors dealt direct with PMCC in Detroit rather than having ECA be a middleman. And as the discussions here have mentioned, even the newspaper write-up at the time (which I will include here) had the relationships confused and titled Wilshire Motors as "L.A. Gets Second Packard Agency"... which was not really true at all. But that's how it got written up. Dealers that were serviced by ECA's distributorship were not owned by ECA. They merely got their cars, service equipment and training via ECA's distributorship.

Anyway, here are some items we found in Earl's files. This is the news clipping on WIlshire Motors opening...
SecondAgency1.jpg
Original news clipping of WIlshire Motors opening on La Brea.
And here is a letter issued by WIlshire Motors announcing their upcoming building and formal dealership location...
WilshireMotorsLTR.JPG
Letter from Wilshire Motors announcing their formal building. new location and upcoming opening.
Here is how the dealership looked when it opened...
Wilshire_Motors_resize.jpg
Wilshire Motors as it looked when it opened...
Finally... the once beautiful building still exists today, but not on the corner of Wilshire and La Brea as has often been stated. The building has been radically modified in appearance and is now (at last report) a body shop. It is my understanding that Wilshire Motors eventually became "Packard La Brea."

More to come later.

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Ozstatman
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Re: What L.A. Dealer was EVER on corner of Wilshire & LaBrea

Post by Ozstatman » Wed Aug 29, 2012 2:15 am

See the Packard in the link below, currently on eBay, claims "...It was sold new by Earl C Anthony at Wilshire Motors in Los Angeles..."

http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/One-thre ... 27ca989257

Does this help, add to the confusion or what!
Mal
Currently - '50 Packard Eight Touring Sedan
Previously - '41 120 Club Coupe(Sold October 2017) & '38 Eight Touring Sedan(Sold July 2009)
Bowral, Southern Highlands, NSW Australia

"Out of chaos comes order" - Nietzsche.

Leeedy

Re: What L.A. Dealer was EVER on corner of Wilshire & LaBrea

Post by Leeedy » Thu Aug 30, 2012 11:35 pm

Ahhhhh! Never a dull moment on eBay, huh? Welll? By now, you've seen the documentation on the opening and status of Wilshire Motors. By Wilshire Motors' own admission and statement, they were the first Packard dealer in Los Angeles NOT affiliated with Earle C. Anthony. And vehicles distributed by Anthony but not sold at his own dealership did not normally have the ECA, Inc. name on them. So? It would seem that we have a... contradiction here. Let's wait and see what comes out of this one. We would love to see papers that say this is BOTH an Anthony car AND a Wilshire Motors car. THAT would be interesting!

By the way, Mr. Anthony spelled his Earle with an "E"...but the last time a data plate was shown in a big magazine on a prewar Packard... the name on the nice shiny plate was spelled ..."Earl"... One of those things that makes ya go.... hmmmmmmmm.

Leeedy

Re: What L.A. Dealer was EVER on corner of Wilshire & LaBrea

Post by Leeedy » Mon Oct 15, 2012 8:40 am

Two new points.

1.) I finally got a chance to go through my records on Earle C. Anthony's Beverly Hills dealership. As of 1956 it was located at 462 North Linden Drive. It had 15,000 square feet of floor space and featured sales, service and parts. It should not be confused with the other Packard dealership that was in Beverly Hills–and which was located on Wilshire Blvd. (where, incidentally ECA was once also located in Beverly Hills–but Wilshire Blvd. in B.H. is a lonnnnnnnng, long way from La Brea!).

2.) Take a look at the thread on "Packard Had The First Neon Sign" and you will see how at least one web site is claiming that the first neon sign was supposedly erected at " Earle C. Anthony's dealership on the corner of Wilshire and La Brea." Of course, as I have shown you here, no such dealership ever existed. But facts never seemed to bother the folks spinning neon yarns today on the internet! One site is selling educational packages to students with THIS story in them.

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Ozstatman
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Re: What L.A. Dealer was EVER on corner of Wilshire & LaBrea

Post by Ozstatman » Sat Oct 27, 2012 11:22 am

On my way to Hershey dropped in at the Petersen Museum in LA about 3 weeks ago and saw the pic below, which is the same one as in the July 21 post above. What caught my attention though was the claim that "WILSHIRE MOTORS, on South La Brea, was the second Packard dealership in Los Angeles". Also see the pic is credited as being from the Fred Blaich Collection, maybe there are more there?
Attachments
Wilshire Motors pic at Petersen Museum.JPG
Wilshire Motors pic at Petersen Museum2.JPG
Mal
Currently - '50 Packard Eight Touring Sedan
Previously - '41 120 Club Coupe(Sold October 2017) & '38 Eight Touring Sedan(Sold July 2009)
Bowral, Southern Highlands, NSW Australia

"Out of chaos comes order" - Nietzsche.

Leeedy

Re: What L.A. Dealer was EVER on corner of Wilshire & LaBrea

Post by Leeedy » Sun Oct 28, 2012 6:10 pm

Ahhh yes. What is going on here is the same thing I have pointed out earlier in this thread. Newspapers and people writing these stories simply could not seem to grasp the difference between "Packard Distributor" and "Packard Dealer"...and for some bizarre reason simply lumped all Packard dealers that were serviced by Earle C. Anthony's distribution network as one big thing... ONE huge dealer! Then when Wilshire Motors came along in the mid-1930s and was not affiliated with Earle C. Anthony's distributorship, the newspapers blundered forth with a quip that THIS was "L.A's SECOND Packard Dealership"... which of course is preposterous.

To this day, we still have folks who think that Packard dealerships that were merely serviced by ECA's distribution network were actually Earle C. Anthony's dealerships! They were not. All of these dealerships had their own ownerships and their own names. Mr. Anthony's actual dealerships really said "Earle C. Anthony, Inc." on them. Prime example of this is the photo I supplied shown on the cover of the last Cormorant News Bulletin of the big Morgan Motor Company Packard dealership on Colorado Blvd. in Pasadena, CA. Does it say "Earle C. Anthony" on the building? Of course not. But they got their cars thru ECA's distribution network. Their service people were trained via ECA's distribution network. The parts supplied to the parts departments came through ECA's distribution network. But these issues aside, each of these dealers were their own entities.

Earle C. Anthony also had the first distribution rights for neon signs sold in the USA when he brought the first three (3) of them back from France (see the Packard neon sign thread elsewhere in this forum). This was a wise move with Packard and a wise move with neon...and a way to generate almost endless revenue streams. It is still done today in many businesses, but to a lesser extent since the advent of big-box and deep discount stores that by-pass the middle man and make deals direct with factories/suppliers (thus allowing them to slash prices to the bone). (By the way, look in one of the windows of the Morgan Packard dealership and you'll see one of the blue neon "PACKARD" script signs that were in the windows of lots of Packard dealers, even though today we have folks who see this little standard dealership window sign and gush, "It's the FIRST neon!!!" It is not, they made jillions of these).

The newspaper line "...second Packard dealership in Los Angeles..." reflects the ignorance of the newspaper writer and editors to the business of selling retail merchandise as it then related to Packards on the west coast. The phrase actually means (or should mean) SECOND sales entity after Earle C. Anthony's wholesale-distrubution network in Los Angeles and FIRST Packard dealer in Los Angeles not to use ECA's wholesale-distribution network.

As I have said before, Anthony's wholesale-distribution network business arrangement was extremely common in the USA for most of the 20th century– no matter if you were selling television sets, refrigerators, bicycles or cars. This is not hard to understand if you know American retail business. In the 1980s if you bought a Mazda in Michigan or Indiana or Chicago area, THAT automobile came through the wholesale-distribution network of "Mazda Great Lakes" which was a privately-owned regional wholesale-distribution company. If you bought a Mazda in Florida or Georgia for instance, that automobile came through the wholesale-distribution network of "Mazda East"–located in Jacksonville and owned by C. Itoh Company. Now, those dealers serviced by Mazda East did not SAY "C. Itoh" or "Mazda East" on their buildings... because they were owned by whomever owned them. But "Mazda East" ran the port facility, oversaw training of dealership service technicians, handled factory warranties, were parts warehouse, etc. These are the kinds of responsibilities of a wholesale-distributor. The wholesale-distributor is the actual entity that interfaces directly with the factory. It gets part of the profit generated by each car sold, but it has many responsibilities. No single Los Angeles dealer could have arranged and paid for trainloads of Packards to be transported from PMCC in Detroit all the way to California, then stored, prepped, checked and then delivered to the actual address of each individual dealership. That alone would have been a gargantuan task for an individual dealer. Thus the wholesale-distributor. In this case, Earle C. Anthony, Inc. But Earle C. Anthony, the Packard distributor was NOT Earle C. Anthony, the Packard retail dealership. Two different limbs of the same body. You would not refer to your right leg as your left arm would you? Yet both are you.

One of my pet peeves today is how most museum organizations, books and web sites tend to just post up old stories or captions without any effort to translate/interpret what some of these things actually mean (to people today) or were trying to say given either the times they were written or the limited understanding of the sources that provided them. If you visit The Petersen (which, by most yardsticks is a very wonderful museum) you will see a display of Earle C. Anthony's rebuilt "Anthony Special Runabout." But sadly, the last time I looked, the caption on the sign with the car minimizes this great man and all his many accomplishments all the way down to being "a young engineer" or some such thing. Of course, this may be the rough equivalent of referring to Mt. Vesuvius as an "M-80 firecracker"... but these things happen in our world of non-profit orgs, "volunteer" school kids, etc. that are the backbone of historical museums.

Leeedy

Re: What L.A. Dealer was EVER on corner of Wilshire & LaBrea

Post by Leeedy » Tue Oct 30, 2012 8:46 am

"Hey–you! Kid...go make a sign for this little contraption of a car here." That must be how it happened. For SOMEBODY, making this sign and including the information this was simply a job. Kinda sad. Surely anyone who actually knew the history of Earle C. Anthony would have never sat still for this bland–almost anonymous little write up. But here it is.

People today wonder why so many museums are failing and not getting the visitors or funding. How can such places go belly-up? A lot of the time, it is not merely the economy. It is the lack of pizazz and the dry, detached academia approach that puts them out of business. OR you get the flip side of the coin with car museum CEOs going on internet and TV making outrageous statements like, "Oh yes, Howard Hughes designed the engine for the Tucker!" If I was John Q. Public, what on earth would make me go "WOW!" just by the info about ECA and his car that is on this sign or description? More like... YAWWWWN! But what if that same sign told you the REAL facts about Earle C. Anthony?

As an example of museum signage and how misleading it can be in light of the passage of time and historical facts, here is the sign I previously described in the same museum simply referring to Mr. Anthony as a "young engineer." All with no mention of his subsequent great accomplishments and history with automobiles...no mention of the fact that he became West Coast Packard distributor or a member of the board of directors of Packard Motor Car Company... in fact no mention of his connection to Packard at all! No mention of him bringing the first neon sign to the USA (which said "PACKARD")...no mention of him pioneering what became Chevron gas stations... no mention of him owing the predecessor company that became Greyhound bus lines... no mention of him building the first motion picture camera in L.A....etc...etc....etc. Makes this underwhelming museum sign rather ridiculous, doesn't it? But here it is.
Attachments
P1010014.JPG
Here is the sign as I last saw it with the Anthony Special Runabout car as seen in the museum.

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Re: What L.A. Dealer was EVER on corner of Wilshire & LaBrea

Post by gr8scottw » Fri May 06, 2016 7:42 am

Maybe someone can help here... you all seem like a knowledgable bunch! :)

My 1946 Packard Super Clipper was supposedly purchased at No. Hollywood Motors in 1946 by silent film star Dorothy Gish. Would No. Hollywood Motors have been a Packard dealer? Does anyone know anything about that dealership, or if records still exist somewhere? I would love to build proof of the provenance of the car.

Thanks,
Scott White

Dave Czirr
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Re: What L.A. Dealer was EVER on corner of Wilshire & LaBrea

Post by Dave Czirr » Fri May 06, 2016 7:57 am

Hi Scott: Welcome to the PAC forum, we hope to hear more from you and about your 1946 Super Clipper.

The only record I have is for dealership located in North Hollywood, but not doing business under that name. The dealership was Strauss Soulier Company, 11128 Magnolia Ave, North Hollywood. The chances for dealership records surviving is slim to none, your chances of finding documentation is probably better with surviving Gish records.

PS - for the future, with a new subject it's customary to start a NEW thread rather than piggyback of one that has been opened on a different topic.

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