Sunday, April 10, 2011

LEFT INSIDE: Pontiac Price List, Feb. 1939

Today's strange bookmark left inside one of my books is a price list from an old Pontiac dealership in Chicago. There is a very small date (2-15-39) in the lower left hand corner of the front side. As for the X drawn through the first column and the 115 written in - I'm guessing that means that the "Quality " model with a V-6 engine was no longer available and only the Deluxe models could be purchased. Just a guess though. It's amazing to look at these car prices. The prices listed are now the equivalent of one month's rent in a decent one bedroom apartment in Chicago.

Then you flip over the card for the add-on "approved accessories" to see the extra money you needed to dish out for say a radio which apparently was not at all standard (look at the first side again). I'm sure radios were very popular and brought in quite a bit of extra cash for Pontiac. I notice that air conditioning is conspicuously absent. Guess it had yet to be thought of for cars even though Willis Carrier invented it in 1902 and founded his company in 1915.

Once again, I have no idea what book this fell out of. I wish I had notated all these pieces, but it only dawned on me to do so very late when I had already acquired about 75 or so pieces. It was most likely in a mystery novel from one of the many books I used to buy when I was an estate sale addict.


  1. I love this one. Why a cigar lighter, I wonder? Surely more people were smoking cigarettes? Why not call it that? Maybe it was an image thing - local fatcat driving his new Pontiac around with a cigar glued to his lip.

  2. I noticed that, too. Cigars = Status? Still it's odd it wasn't called a cigarette lighter.

    I wondered about the "Windshield Washer" as well. It must refer to the wiper at $6.95 and not the fluid which I think was a much later idea. That was optional? Ralph Nader wasn't around in those days, but I'm sure he'd have been in an uproar over that blatant safety oversight.