Unusual Tag

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Unusual Tag

Post by Drache on Wed May 27, 2015 8:11 am



Eccentricities regarding our vintage cars make them all the more interesting to discuss. Once you have thoroughly gone over the color combination, trim, drivetrain equipment, options, documentation and overall condition, little things like unique tags and markings keep the adventure alive.

This came to mind when I photographed and wrote a drive report on a 1954 Chrysler New Yorker Deluxe that will appear in the August 2015 issue of Hemmings Classic Car magazine. An Interesting item on that vehicle was a tag affixed to the cowl tag that reads, “CUSTOMER DRIVEAWAY.”

Dan Strohl posted a blog pertaining to this tag, as found on a 1954 Custom Imperial, back in 2012. It appears it was added to cars whose buyers preferred to take delivery right at the assembly plant—an interesting and exciting concept for the owner and less shipping effort for Chrysler.

As this practice became more popular, Chrysler put its best foot forward to accommodate those who were so excited about their purchase that they wanted to see where it was built.

For example, in the June 25, 1955, edition of the Ottawa Citizen, there was a brief news item entitled Auto Plant Driveaway. It explained that Chrysler Corporation of Canada had opened a new retail customers’ driveaway at the Windsor, Ontario, plant.

The article stated, “The driveaway is described as the most modern and best equipped of its kind in the auto industry. J Harold Alldritt, director of distribution, said more than 10,000 customers have picked up their new cars directly at the factory during the last eight years, and the company expects to increase this type of delivery to as many as 50 cars per day.”



Our featured New Yorker was built in Detroit, not in Windsor, but from the tag on the cowl, it appears that it too offered a “Customer Driveaway” program.

Does having this tag make a car worth more? Likely no. What it does is add an interesting footnote to the vehicle’s history. Current keepers of cars equipped with this tag can now imagine the enthusiastic original owner making the pilgrimage to his/her new Mopar’s place of birth to pick it up and drive it to its new home.

Did the owner do it for the love of the new-car experience or to save delivery charges that one article stated could be substantial enough to finance a family vacation? The latter premise was put forth in the Monday March 30, 1959, edition of the Orange Leader newspaper (Orange, Texas) in the story “New Car Buyers Find New Way to Save Enough For Vacation.” Said family vacation was, of course, to the assembly plant.

The story explained that the endeavor of customers taking delivery at the assembly plant began in the early 1930s. By the 1950s, nearly all automakers had a program in place to facilitate the process, and its popularity peaked in 1954—the same year our drive report Chrysler was built. Automakers provided lounges, assembly line tours and even arranged hotel reservations for customers taking delivery of their new cars. Many celebrities were known to pick up their new cars at the assembly plant. Car companies relished the opportunity to show off the assembly process while fostering brand loyalty and positive word-of-mouth sales potential.

This type of ownership transfer began to slow down when dealer delivery charges came down, however, but it was still rather popular in the late 1950s, especially on the West Coast, and about 10 percent of the new car owners willing to travel to the plant to accept delivery were women.

Have you ever seen a Chrysler product with this tag? Do you know how other automakers identified cars that would be delivered to new owners at the plant? Have you or anyone you know picked up a new car at the plant? Tell us your story.

http://blog.hemmings.com/index.php/2015/05/20/chryslers-customer-driveaway-tag/

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Re: Unusual Tag

Post by Keith Mopar on Thu May 28, 2015 7:45 am

Wow that is a neat bit of information.

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Re: Unusual Tag

Post by smoken340 on Thu May 28, 2015 8:41 am

I had no idea that you could actually pick your car up at the factory after the 1930s.

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Re: Unusual Tag

Post by DVJohn on Sat May 30, 2015 7:54 am

I know I would have been all over that....
I dont any more but when we did buy a new orderd car or pick up Id be at the gate of the dealership when the truck was unloading trying to get a look at our new vehicle and then when it was unloaded sitting on the lot Id be taking pics and sending them to my brothers and sisters, very excited.........Like a kid at Christmas...... Very Happy

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Re: Unusual Tag

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