Tag Archives: Walter Dean Lewis

These Shoes Were Made For Selling

In the early days of Old Car City U.S.A., when it was still a general store the founder Walt Lewis sold a bit of everything. On a particular day a merchant pulled in the parking lot with a load of shoes he was looking to unload for a good price. Walt being a man always looking for bargain took the load of shoes for somewhere in the range of 5 cent a pair. Word traveled fast and soon people from all over were coming to take advantage of a good bargain.

Now in these days there was also another store located across the street. Walt’s competitor seen all the business the shoes were drawing in and decided they needed the shoes to help them draw business. They approached Walt with the proposal to buy the shoes, they struck a deal in which both parties were satisfied.

Same shoes only a few hundred feet from were they had been bringing Walt a great deal of customers didn’t have the same fait for Walts competitors. Time goes by and the now owners of all these shoes decided to go ask Walt if he would be interested in buying the shoes back at the same cost as he had sold them at. Walt counter offered them a price lower than the original price, so no deal was made.

Moving ahead several weeks Walt’s competition hatched a plan to get rid of the unselling shoes. They would write a letter posing as a store in Chattanooga that had heard Walt had a bunch of shoes and would be down in a few weeks to buy all the shoes at a price double what the new store had them for sale at. They had a person they new drop the letter in a mailbox from Chattanooga so the post mark would make it look official. The letter made its way back to Walt’s mailbox and the well crafted plan worked as intended. Walt came and bought the shoes at the price he had originally sold them to the competitor for. The weeks went by but the new buyer never showed up.

Fast forward to the 1980’s and Walt’s store that had been built in the 1920’s was tore down. The shoes that were still there waiting for the Chattanooga buyer was packed up and now sit in a few cars at Old Car City U.S.A.

 

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History of “Old Car City USA” a Poem by the Great Grandson of the Founders

 
It all started in 1931 by a man named Walt and Lucille his wife, they owned a small general store with a gas pump and wood floors, they worked every day with no time off and little pay, back then times were tough and money was rare, conditions were rough but people were fair.
Now Walt had a few old cars, they were beaten and battered and had some scars. When he wasn’t working in the mine he would sell spare parts to people who would buy them. Anything to make an extra honest dollar, he had to work hard, be a good husband and father, he had to provide and keep away the worry they had to survive and continue the Lewis family story.

Now Dean was Walt’s boy and he grew up playing in these old cars, a million miles they would go pretending they were cowboys and chasing Geronimo. Walt had no idea the passion he had instilled in his child but Dean’s love for cars went far beyond the parts Walt had piled. So for Walt’s son he was going to make it big someday, it all started in 1931 it we would become known as Old Car City USA.

– Macall Lewis

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Last Car Purchased By Elvis Presley

The last car purchased by the king of rock and roll was a 1977 Lincoln Mark V , it’s maroon in color and was purchased for Larry Geller. The Lincoln went up for auction in the early 1980s; where Dean Lewis the owner of Old Car City USA would acquire the Lincoln and some other rare Elvis memorabilia.  Dean put the car and memorabilia on display at Old Car City USA

Mr. Geller was a very close friend of the King! He was not only his friend but also his hair dresser and spiritual advisor. Larry went to work for Elvis in 1964 and was the man responsible for the Legendary hair styles of “Elvis Aaron Presley”.

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Remember the Good Old Days with Your First Automobile?

Have any of your parents and grandparents ever watched the movie, “American Graffitti,” with your kids and grandchildren to show off the cars you used to drive or ride in when you were young?  Have them tell you how they remember the good old days.

You might want to tell them that Richard Dreyfuss and Harrison Ford was in that movie to entice them to watch it.

remember the good old days
Courtesy of Richard Calmes Photography

Remember the good old days in your automobile that featured a full bench seat.

There’s just something romantic about the bench seat where your honey could cozy up to you while you drove around town, or cruised around as we used to call it. remember the good old daysThe guys were more concerned what was under the hood while the girls were hoping that your car doesn’t conk out when you’re popping the clutch at a traffic light.

Yes, those were the good old days when cars were made of steel and real chrome fenders and unique hood ornaments and AM radios, only!

remember the good old days
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Remember the good old days when your automobile had a real big trunk and a full-size spare tire?

Every car had to have a spare tire and a jack to change your own tire and replace it with a full size spare. Many a relationship probably started when some hunk came to a stranded damsel in distress and changed her tire.

Today, kids just call their daddies or AAA and they come out and change the tire. Where’s the romance in that?!

Remember the good old days when one remember the good old daysdollar got a hamburger, fries and milkshake for two(!) with change left over?

Well, this author vaguely remembers when the Burger King Whopper sandwich was first introduced in the Atlanta, Georgia area and, I think, the price per whopper was 45 or 55 cents. With a Coca-Cola for ten cents and fries for maybe 15 cents, one could get quite filled up!

Here’s a piece of trivia for you younger cats out there. I could take a Kennedy remember the good old dayshalf-dollar coin down to the local “grocerette” convenience store in the mid-1960’s and get two bottles of Cokes, 12 ounce, and 6 full-size candy bars. I wasn’t ten years old and I would do that as often as I would get away with it.

Yes, boys and girls, I remember the good old days when I was a kid and I could walk several miles around my neighborhood during the day without fear or concern for my safety. Of course, if I stayed out past dinner time and didn’t call home, there’d be hell to pay!

Remember the good old days every time you come to Old Car City USA!

There’s something here for everyone! The toys shown above are just a small sampling of the kinds of toys the older generation of kids enjoyed playing with when their fathers and brothers were working on the family car.

These toys are made of durable metal that have withstood the many hands and imaginations of kids working on construction projects in the back yards or rescuing victims in house fires kindled by the children’s dreams of doing it in real life.

Remember the good old days when there was a bench seat for two “in the trunk?”

You read it right. There were cars that had what is called a “rumble” seat; not to be confused with “Rumble in the Streets,” or something related.

This could be a very popular option unless the car was driven slow in good weather.

This car inside the “showroom” of Old Car City USA has the two seats up front and the rumble seat in back. When no one was in it, the seat could be tucked away as one would close the trunk. I wonder if it was designed with Daddies in mind to chaperone kids on Saturday night dates.

In summary, the time to visit Old Car City USA is when you want to relive the times and memories that involved the American automobile in everyone’s lives, whether in full size for adults or as a toy for the creative boy and girl in the sandbox.

This author loves to play with toys like these with his grandchildren. It’s a way to pass on fun times as we remember the good old days, everyday.

 

 

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CBS Sunday Morning, August 9th

This Sunday, August 9th, at 9:43am, CBS Sunday Morning will be airing a piece on Old Car City USA featuring Dean Lewis and his family as they discuss the history and meanings behind Old Car City.  Earlier this summer, Tracy Smith from CBS Sunday Morning, came to visit Dean and his family at Old Car City.  They spent several days touring and filming in Old Car City and interviewed Dean and the family as well as photographers who were making images at Old Car City.  So if you are up and moving this Sunday, please tune into CBS Sunday Morning on you local CBS affiliate.

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Some Interesting Visitors

Over the last several weeks, Old Car City has seen some interesting visitors drop by to interview Dean about Old Car City and to just take some fine pictures.  I was fortunate enough to be able to meet both visitors and spend a little time with them.

 

Our first visitor is a celebrity in the Photoshop circles.  Pete Collins is one of the “Photoshop Guys” at Kelbyone training, which is an online training resource for Photoshop.  Pete also is the co-host of Photoshop User TV and has a regular column in Photoshop User Magazine.  Pete was about midway through a week long photography trip with some friends when they stopped by to shoot at Old Car City.  I look forward to seeing some of his images from Old Car City being used in some of his new tutorials.  Pete is a great guy and I highly recommend his workshops and classes.  We had a great conversation about layers and using some of the great rust and patina on the cars as a texture layer.

 

Our next visitor was Marissa Gawel, recipient of the National Geographic Young Explorer’s Grant.  Marissa, along with Penn Greene, are traveling throughout the country seeking out and documenting America’s Road Side Attractions.  From Marissa,

“We’re looking to understand the role of the attractions we’re visiting-withing their cities and withing the greater context of American culture.  The creators of the sites built their museums, homes, and art for reasons that vary from the spiritual to the entrepreneurial, but, regardless, have brought their towns new narratives and new business.  I’ve found the creations we’ve seen so far are incredible, and speak to the creative spirit of this country”

Marissa has a great blog documenting their journey, here is the article with images they published about Old Car City:  American Attractions, Old Car City
While you are there, read through the other post about all the wonderful places they have visited.  What an incredible trip, I am so jealous, I would love to take that kind of road trip.
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