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Packard dealership in San Jose (CA)


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Despite all the changes in the Silicon Valley, the building that was the Packard dealership in San Jose (CA) still stands and is in good (restored) condition and has been in use since 1930. It was the first stop on my annual trek through the new car dealerships every fall through grade school to see all the new models and collect a brochure or two to bring home and savor.

The pictures show an early (1930's) view (expand to see a coupe in the left window and a sedan in the right), followed by a 1951-52 view (note Dodge coupe and Chevy convertible in front), and then as it appears now (occupied by a structural engineering firm). The Spanish Revival style lights and fancy decorations appear unchanged. The mosaic tile shown on the earlier pictures has been removed from the front of the building but still extends down the east side. Earthquake, environmental and functional updates are estimated to have been in the $5,000,000.range. 

The last image is an ad from the dealership offering "up to $1000. off on a new '54 model". 

Previous to this building, there was a storefront dealer location in San Jose from 1923- 1929.










san jose packard 2.jpg

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san jose packard 2020.jpeg

san jose packard ad.jpg

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I've passed this building many times and admired it. I had no idea of it's history. I'm sure that there must be othe rhistorical dealership buildings in old Downtown San Jose. 

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One of the striking things to me is that car dealerships used to be so much smaller than they are today.

Dealers didn't have thousands of vehicles in their inventory.

Also, look at the detail and craftsmanship that went into a building that was used for commercial purposes. Modern houses don't get one tenth of that detail unless you pay big bucks to have a house custom built.

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That area of San Jose has managed to retain a lot of historic properties.  Though with all the redevelopment, I wonder for how much longer.  Little by little it is disappearing.


Almost across the street from that building is Babe's Muffler Shop.  Has one of the big "muffler man" statues out front.  (Kinda like the Gemini Giant on Route 66 in Illinois.)

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Glad to hear Babe's muffler is still in business. I recall, in the '60's that they had a couple of early Ford V-8 sedan deliveries as shop trucks and were the envy of many a street rodder.

The owner, "Babe" Royer also owned and drove a custom F-! pickup - shown below.



babe muffler shop san jose ca - Google Search.jpg

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