The Jalopy Journal
Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by plym_46, May 12, 2019.
The thing was they were all over town you didn't have far to go to find one.
Yup. Them was the days.
Oil companies tend to be very regional, they can be very strong in certain regions of the country and very sparse to non-existent in others. The biggies, Mobil & Shell were pretty strong everywhere, so we had them out here in So Cal. Enco became Exxon which merged with Mobil, and these days you mostly only see the Mobil brand (can't recall the last Exxon station I've seen). Out west the strong local brands were Chevron, Atlantic Richfield (which became Arco), and Union 76 (which was bought by Phillips and for a while they switched the color of the 76 ball from 76 orange to Phillips 66 red, but its now back to orange). Those are all California companies, really strong here, not so much elsewhere, though Chevron does well all over these days. Gulf was pretty big, anyone remember their "no-knocks" commercials? I believe Gulf was bought by Chevron and is still owned by them.
Most of the major oil companies have divested the retail stores, gotten out of that end of the market. Too much liability for too little profit. So most stations these days are individually owned and operated franchises. Owners set their own prices. Something most people don't realize is that the price you pay today is based on what the station owner/manager anticipates the price of fuel will be when they need to refill the tank. If something happens that drives the price of gas up, they aren't going to continue selling the gas they already bought at the lower price, because then they'll take a huge hit when they place an order to refill, that's why you'll see the price jump up immediately after something occurs that will restrict the supply of crude oil or refined gas, they are anticipating how much it is going to go up. And the price of fuel changes constantly on the fuels market, it can change hourly, up or down.
One other thing, while the gas is branded, and each major supplier has their own refineries and distribution centers, and tank farms, and their own formulations, that doesn't mean that the gas you buy at the pump is always what it is branded. The majors will buy from each other from time to time to smooth out deliveries. And independents will pull from wherever they get the best price. If you have a chance to visit a distribution site sometime just watch the different trucks that come through.
Anyone remember Crown stations? We used to use their high test all the time.
Around here (the PNW) in the '50s the majors were Chevron/Standard Stations (SOCal, with the difference being Chevron stations were independently owned and operated, Standard stations were corporately owned/operated), Union 76, Shell, Flying A, Enco (Exxon), and a handful of Richfield stations. In the late '50s/early '60s, some other brands started appearing as some disappeared; Phillips 66, Conoco, and Mobil, although with the exception of Mobil which got big in the area later, these were never numerous. Flying A disappeared for good in the mid/late '60s.
One brand not mentioned was Douglas Oil. As an independent, they were never a big presence, their claim to fame was discounted 'major brand' gas and tires. The one in Puyallup WA was the largest and busiest station in town with four gas islands and service bays. Very popular place for the local rodders, one of the employees had a flawless mild custom '53 Plymouth hardtop powered by a 331 Hemi.
Chevron/Standard was also popular with rodders as they were the only place you could get 'super premium' with their white pump 'Chevron Custom Supreme'. If you were running 11:1 or better compression, that's where you bought gas.
We had a MinuteMan gas station in my hometown. It's a Kwik Fill now but there is no mistaking the architecture.
For the longest time they had a Cam2 pump next to the building for Friday and Saturday nights...lol
Any1 from So - Cal remember Powerine Gas ? When everybody else was 23/24 a gallon they were around 19/20.
And ya could buy "Reclaimed oil ( ??) " for 15 cents a quart
When I started to drive we had Texaco and Mobil...when I was 20 years old I got my first sit down job at the local BP gas station...it was a self serve kinda place...they sold out to Getty before I moved away...then I moved back to town and I started working part-time at a Sunoco right off the Interstate...stayed there until they closed in 1999...I vaguely remember hearing the "ding-ding" from the buzzer when cars would pull in...it is a tough business for sure...glad I am not into that field of work anymore...thanks for bringing it up tho...I always smile when I think about how young I was back then...
When I was learning to drive in northern NJ in 1955 the Esso station where I traded and hung out was just a small shanty office with a bathroom in one corner and an air compressor in the other. Outside on the grassy patch was a pit for oil changes. Oil was bulk. I'd help by filling the glass bottles for the island from the bulk tank using a built in hand cranked pump. Some time about 1958 the building was demolished and a traditional 2-bay station was built. Today it's s small general repair shop. Pumps are gone. I don-t know if the new in-ground tanks installed when the 2-bay station was built were dug up, capped off, or filled with sand (I heard about sand filling somewhere. Was probably legal at the time)
As a teenager moved from sunny warm California to sunny COLD Calgary Alberta Canada where I worked afternoons n weekends at a Mohawk Gas Station in Fairview. Still sold bulk oil in bottles with screw on "funnel" tops.
Back in California enjoyed Signal Gasoline Stations. There slogan was " Go Farther". Best price was often Regal Gas Station, which was owned by Signal Gas and Oil after they sold off Signal Stations (but still sporting Signal Gas name).
Years later I belonged to a tri-five Chevy club in Seattle and decided to get a gas pump to display with my cars. Other members had same wth Texaco, Mobil, Flying A, etc. taken. I chose Signal as less common and from West Coast. I didn't realize how scarce Signal stuff was. Fully hooked on Signal Gas n Oil I now have 700 or more pieces of Signal stuff, though not enough signs. Signal was in 7 West Coast states as advertised, BUT was also in a few locations in British Columbia and HAWAII.
Now in Lubbock Tx it's more n more difficult to add to my Signal collection but I keep trying.
Yeah, I remember Powerine. I worked for Mobile (Covina) and Powerine (Hacienda Heights) when I was in high school.
... Up in Michigan Purple Martin was our cheapest during the gas wars ...
We lived way out in the country In Wisconsin
so my Grandad built this station and that's where I grew up. That's Grandad by the tanker and my Uncle by the pump. The building is still there but not as a gas station.
In Canada in the sixties, North Star Oil (became Shell) White Rose, Roco, B/A, Texaco of course and there was one I don't remember a brand name for but they sold Tidex Motor Oil, under a buck for 2 quarts. I drove an oil burning 55 Ford back then so that's where I bought my oil.
In the mid 50, When I was a kid and needed to work on my bike, I the closest garage was the Dodge/Chrysler dealer who sold Esso gas. They used to allow me to work on my bike and clean my parts in the parts tank. I had no idea what a good deal that was. It is really ironic that I never became a Dodge fan, but I will never forget how good they guys were to me.
BTW, the last Blacksmithing shop was just across the alley, and I used to hang out there as well. Old Bert, who in my mind, must have been a hundred years old, was a great guy, and used to let me hang around, and even allowed me to use his tools and sharpen stuff on his grinder.
In the early 60s, while living in Vancouver, I developed a symbiotic relationship with Bob, the owner of a B/A station downtown. We were regular customers, and he took a liking to us, our crazy cars, and crazier antics. We were the only people he allowed to work on our cars on his lot. It was a lifesaver for me, because otherwise, it it would have been nearly impossible to afford to drive. We helped when we could, and never asked for pay. I'll never forget him.
That was where I saw the lowest price for gas during a price war, 17 cents Canadian for a Canadian gallon. ( that would work out to approximately 13 cents for a US gallon). The gas war ended within a week.
While going to university, I worked in the oilfields of Saskatchewan for Sunoco. It was a great job, but what I really wanted to comment on, was the mom and pop service station/cafes that were so common in the prairies. You knew you were going to get a good meal while on the road, and I often at one even when I wasn't on the road. All the major brands had this design of service station.
While in the RCAF, I did a three year pilot exchange tour in Laredo Texas from 70 to 73. The prices at the local gas bar were between 23 and 27 cents per gallon, but that was followed by the long lines for gas during the Arab embargo. Things were never the same after that.
Where I live now on Vancouver Island, all the older corner stations are now gone, and have been replaced with convenience stores with 4 to six rows of self serve pumps. The big brands here are, Esso, Shell, Payless (Shell), Petrocan, Co-op, and Husky. I get my gas at Costco, because they are still not adding ethanol yet.
Things change, but never in the way that we expect them to.
When I was a sophomore in High school auto shop there were 24 Gas stations in this town of 5000 and something people 20 of them were full service in that they sold tires, did lube and oil and minor tune ups while a few of those did full mechanical work too. One out on the highway would fix flats but didn't do much tire business otherwise and didn't do lube or mechanical at all.
Now there are 7 places that sell gas in town all in one main area with more pumps than all 24 of the 1962 stations had together.
Back then we had Shell, Chevron, Texaco, Beeline, Kelly Oil, Phillips 66, Exon and a couple of no brand independents.
In the 60's back home, North Dakota, we had a couple low buck local stations. M&H with several pumps, reclaimed oil, & stamps to exchange for stuff you may need. Simonson's was a state wide locally owned station also. During a gas war in 71 I paid 16.9 cents at one of them. We also had a company called Westland Oil, main office out of Minot and their gas brand was Buffalo Gas. I have a few goodies with logos from them & a 50's gas pump restored to look like one of thiers.
Worked at a Standard Oil/Amoco every afternoon and weekend in the mid 70's. Dad had a friend that had a Fina station and he needed help. Started working at Fina for him at 7:00 each morning, then changed into clean clothes and went to a True Value hardware store from noon to 5:00 where I cut/repaired glass and screens and did light mechanical work and new product assembly. Put my dirty pants back on and a different shirt and went to the Amoco and worked until closing every night.
Also had Pester Derby, Sinclair, Texaco, Mobil, Phillips 66 and Stuckeys in town.
Worked at the neighborhood Enco. The owner would brag that we spilled more gasoline than many of the other stations pumped. Standard/Chevron was big here along with Mobil Gas, Gulf, Conoco, Phillips 66, Diamond Shamrock, Shell, Texaco, Magnolia, Sinclair came and went and there was Husky. There were independents Save Way, Payless, Horn Oil, Hedges Oil, Whiting Brothers and Scotchman. Scotsman, you would exchange dollars for their tokens to operate the pump. Horn oil would start the gas wars and I can remember it being below $0.19.9/gallon.
They had bulk oil too.
Lots of stations along Central avenue in Albuquerque as it was US Route 66....
At 45 years old I realize that I’m one of the “kids” around here. I’m grateful to each and every one of you guys for your education and experiences. That being said, I wanted so badly to own a two bay gas station. In 1985 I was a fixture at the Getty station that I mentioned in my previous post. Those guys never got mad or acted like I was in their way. Besides learning the correct way to use swear words, I learned a lot about cars too. It’s truly sad that we have lost such a wonderful institution as the corner Service Station. Thanks for all the posts, you guys have brought back a bunch of wonderful memories.
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I remember Tidex oil sold in gallon cans in grocery stores. Canadian Tire's Nugold 30wt was the oil burner's friend.
Some of my favorite memories revolve around the local Ashland "filling" station that was owned by "Bunk" Patterson in Ripley, WV. That was where I learned the fine art of "loafing" at the early age with my Grandpa. "Bunk" always had a couple of Model A's around the station and that was where the locals gathered to "shoot the bull". The station was housed in the cottage-style building originally designed for early Pure Oil stations. There was always a 10-cent Dr. Pepper machine and a penny gumball machine inside to take a young boys money. As I got older I discovered the vending machine in the men's room that would take my quarter. Sadly, the building was demolished many years ago to make room for a used car lot, but the memories still remain burned into my mind!
How about Derby Vickers Champion and Apco
I guess Idaho & Utah had all the Veltex stations, maybe Nevada ? And Stinker Stations ? We had many stations that didn't show brand name, only the owner's name. Some of them had half a dozen stations.
Used to hang out at the Flying A back in the mid '50's in L.A. One day the owner took me for a ride in a customers 283 'Vette. Impressed the heck out of this high school kid.
Shell (sponsor of my first little league team) and Sinclair, with Sunoco and Citgo a couple of miles away.
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Started @ 14 (almost 15 years old) at the 2nd largest Standard Oil Station in the St. Louis area...on Lindbergh
Blvd. north of Hwy 40......Domain Standard....open 24 hours. 12 pumps, 4 service bays, 12 tow trucks, and a towing contract with the MO Highway Patrol as well as surrounding municipalities. The day shift (weekends when I worked) had 3 guys working the pumps, 3 inside mechanics, a full time wrecker driver, and the leasee. At that time the operator "leased" the property, building, was forced to buy gasoline, oil, supplies from the district sales operator, OR THE company. EVERY pump customer rec'd a "good morning (afternoon) (evening)" from the pump attendant. "May I fill it up for you sir/ma'am?) Would you like a check under the hood? Tires appear ok sir/ma'am but if you would like, I'll be glad to check them.The windshield and rear window was ALWAYS wiped, and if the weather was sloppy, likewise the headlights and outside mirrors.
Because this station was further than I was allowed ride on my bicycle, my older brother (one of the wrecker drivers/inside mechanics) or his wife was good enough to haul me. This lasted about a year, and I was hired by the operator of the neighborhood Mobil station. 15 years old (almost 16), so I used my mom's Morris Minor to report in......all evenings, after high school. I shared close up duties with afellow high schooler, along with weekends. Closing duties......9:30pm.....called for all trash (inside and outside) emptied. windshield paper towel dispensers filled, outside oil racks filled, storage tanks "sticked"/measured, pumps read for total sales, and the shop cleaned cleaned.....tools put away, floors swept, scrubbed with Stoddard Solvent and flushed, followed with dry soap and water, scrubbed and squeeege'd dry. Mobil
put my boss "out".....his words....and he and all his employees relocated to a
DX (Sunoco!!!!!!!!!!!) outlet. SUNOCO 260 out of the pump!!!!!!!!!!!! YEEEHAA.
All my buddies/gearheads from high school brought their Road Runners, 396
Chevelles, GTO's and Fairlanes in for the "good stuff."
He lasted here about 15 months (me about 10 months) and ended up losing his ass as a result of a divorced prompted by his "book keeper"......."punchcard" "side bi.ch" whatever. As an aside, I suspect Mobil put him out of their staion, same as DX Sunoco/wifey hammered him because of his activities with Charlene the "book keeper.
On to a local Phillips 66...............operated by the father of my best bud from school. We had been buds since 3rd grade, and his dad had been in the gas station business the whole time. I lasted here for 4 years....all through high school, into my 3yr of college and up until I was hired by the county's police department. I learned QUICKLY, the name on the product made little difference.......it was all about the SERVICE provided, both at the pump islands and inside the service bays. Smile, interact, offer services, yada yada. George,(the boss) quickly taught me (as well as all the other evening guys) "learn the customer's name, call him by her name.....everyone wants to be recognized." If he/she had a hard name or you couldn't remember/pronounce it, kind of slur it so it sounds like you recognize him/her. It worked.....
Remember Eagle Stamps? S&H Green Stamps? Yep, we had 'em. After I had
"proved" myself, I became the "de facto" operator. Dealt with the product wholesaler, deliveries of product, salesmen, unhappy customers, etc. The bottom line......I learned more during this 4 year stint, than I ever learned at college....and it better prepared me for my 35+yrs in law enforcement than ANYTHING else I've been exposed to in my 69+ years.
Just a tiny little old red and white place in Rochester, Michigan.
Worked there in the '70s.
Ran all 6 pumps myself all day Christmas Eve.
They were lined up down the street. I was humpin'.
Got some good tips that day.
As a young kid riding with my dad we drove by a VELTEX gas station, with a characture of a service station attendant in uniform waving. Under the picture it said " If you can't stop wave as you drive by"
Later in my life I was the district trainer for American Oil stations in the pacific northwest. Our night guy drove a motor cycle and as he locked up and did the daily trick, he always ran the last bit of gas in the pump hose into his tank. He got enough each night to get him back and forth until the next day. We were trying to get a customer base and sold regular at 24.9 cents a gallon.
I remember a old guy in a big tail fin Caddy always came in with the best looking young women sitting close to him. We had to check the oil. check the coolant, check the fan belt, then air all 4 tires and the spare, lube the door latches, empty the ash trays, vacuum the carpets and wash the windshield. That was the last thing we did before collecting the money. This horney old guy made sure he had his hand up the girls skirt while we washed all the windows and the windshield. Those were the days of really short skirts.
Buddy of mine's Dad ran a Hudson station, we hung out there a lot. Free gas and all.
Also remember this place (not exactly the same one in the picture) used to stop and get a "Pop" after my paper route was finished.
Wow! 60 cent ciggies.
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