Thursday, January 26, 2012

Port Arthur Motors, Kam Motors, "old" and "new" cars......Gary Spence Photos

These photos aren't really from the old Hot Rods or Jalopy era but it is a time when the old style business fronts were coming to an end.  You don't see many businesses today with this type of design.  A big thank you to Gary Spence for the use of these great early 1980's photos and Google for the 2009 ones.  We start off with a 1981 photo of Port Arthur Motors on the corner of Court and Pearl Streets in Thunder Bay postal station "P" as they used to say (formerly Port Arthur, Ontario).

The picture on the left is how that corner looks has been a couple of restaurants once Port Arthur Motors closed but now it is Tony & Adams Restaurant.  That beautiful "new" Camaro in the first picture is shown close up here.

This is a very nice picture of Gary's beautiful 1956 Chevy Belair 4-door hardtop, taken just across Court Street in 1981 in the Port Arthur Motors new car lot. 
I had a '57 Chevy Belair 4-door hardtop back in the 1960's and always liked the roof lines better on the 4 than the 2 door model.  Nice car Gary!!

On the left you can click for a larger photo to see the spot where Gary's '56 was parked and how the lot looks today.  On the right is what you would see in Port Arthur Motors used car lot in 1964.  My favourite car there is the 1959 Pontiac Parisienne 4-door hardtop......I want to go back.....!!!

This is how the PAM used car lot looked in 2009...not sure who uses it or why!  The gable roofed house in the background of this photo and the old b&w photo is still there!

Here is Gary's '56 again in front of the place I spent many weekends.  This is Kam Motors on the Thunder Bay postal station "F" (Fort William, Ontario) side of town where my dad was the Body Shop Mgr. for over 30 years of his life.  It was "THE" place to go and view all the new Chev/Olds and Cadillac cars each year in late September when all the new models were released.  I purchased many of my old Chevy's from Kam back then.  The guy vacuuming out the taxi is parked pretty much in the same place as Gary's car, and look how the building changed by 2009.  It is presently the home of Diamond/Lacey's Taxi and Ace Automotive......well at least the building is still standing...not like so many other historic structures here.  Diamond Taxi and Lacey's Taxi are each very well known taxi stands dating back to the 1940's here at the Lakehead.

Check out the "new" "Z's" in Kam Motors new car lot directly across the street from the Show Room photo above.....and here is how the lot pretty much looked in 2009 and today its full of much more junk.

Now were are standing down inside the new car lot looking towards the Show Room.  We are looking at those great early 1980's Chevrolet's....This became pretty much the end of an car design started to take on that smooth rounded look making all cars look like clones of each other.  The last photo on the right is taken near the same spot as Gary's photo....showing all the changes and deterioration from time.  Click on all photos for enlargements.
Gary, thanks again for the photos.  I hope you all enjoy them as much as I have.


Lawrence Badanai said...

Thanks for sharing this great photos! Especially the once from PAM as they seam to be more rare than the KAM dealership pictures.

Dave said...

Thanks Lawrence but you have to give the credit to Gary Spence for the great photos. Which Badanai was your father??

Lawrence Badanai said...

The late Norris Badanai was my father.

Dave said...

Lawrence, I knew your father very well as he was best friends with my dad in those days. He was a great guy and always well loved. I know your mother as well. Ask her if she remembers David and Jon Cano...Thanks again for your comments..and if you want you can email me direct at

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for sharing these photos of my neighbourhood!