Time was, local car dealers gave away automobiles to worthy causes.
In the accompanying 1965 photo, the sales manager at the Trotter Pontiac dealership at 3150 Broad St. is seen presenting the keys of a Pontiac Catalina sedan to Chattanooga City school system officials.
The newspaper reported the auto was gifted to the school system to use in its then-new driver's education program. Driver training had just become mandatory for 10th graders in the city's five high schools, according to the newspaper report. In those days, Chattanooga and Hamilton County maintained separate school systems.
The photo appeared in the Chattanooga News-Free Press on Oct. 19, 1965, and included, from left, Chattanooga Mayor Ralph Kelly; Joe Galbraith, sales manager at Trotter Pontiac; Jim McCullough, assistant city school superintendent; Nathaniel Anderson, driver training instructor; and C.C. Bond, general education coordinator for the school system.
The Catalina was a sedan with a V-8 engine and three-speed automatic transmission. It was Pontiac's entry-level full size car, and GM sold more than 250,000 Catalinas in 1965. A Catalina, like the one in the photo, sold new for about $2,800.
Interestingly, a restored 1965 Catalina today can fetch more than $25,000 on the collector-car market. Pontiac went out of business as a General Motors division in 2010 in the aftermath of the Great Recession.
In the photo, the Trotter Pontiac sign is topped with a cutout labeled Tiger Country. The "tiger" marketing campaign was pushed by the company in the mid-1960s to promote its muscle cars, such as the Pontiac GTO. By the late 1960s, the campaign was dropped.
Visible in the background of the photo is an old A&P grocery store on Broad Street. For much of the 20th century, A&P was the largest grocery retailer in America. The company went out of business in 2015.
The public schools weren't the only institution supported by Trotter Pontiac in 1965. Earlier that year, the dealer gave away a station wagon to the United Cerebral Palsy Evaluation Center to transport disabled children.
According to previously published reports, Andy Trotter, a native of Maryville, Tennessee, acquired the dealership in 1959. Before that, it was the Adcox-Kirby Pontiac Co. Trotter died in 2004.
On Christmas Day 1965, shortly after this photo was taken, an advertisement in the Chattanooga News-Free Press offered a lightly used 1963 Pontiac Bonneville for $3,295 and a 1963 Pontiac Grand Prix for $3,095.
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