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A Van Fleet and Durkee Shell Gasoline Station – Woodlite Headlamps

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Van Fleet, former assistant sales manager for the General Petroleum Corporation in Los Angeles, and W. P. Durkee, Jr., who was the district manager for General, organized their own chain of gasoline stations in 1929 in Southern, California. The Van Fleet and Durkee station  seen here was one of them and it was located at West 7th Street and South Park View Street, in Los Angeles, California.

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  • William G. Wood’s Woodlite headlamp patent drawings

The stations handled Shell Gasoline, and it appears that the subject of this set of photos may have been a line of car care products by the Jay Manufacturing Co., which the gentlemen in the photos are holding. In true California PR fashion, the 1929 images used a Chrysler with a set of Woodlite headlamps for a little bit of extra sparkle. The photos are courtesy of the USC Libraries.

More information covering William G. Woods attractive Woodlite lamps can be found here, along with his patent application that was granted on February 28, 1928. Dim, Yet Brilliant, Too by David LaChance at HMN will also give you more background information on the popular lamps.

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Posted in Auto photos 1921 - 1942, Gasoline stations | Tagged , , , , , |

The Reed Brothers – Selling Dodge’s for Ninety-Four Years, Part II

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  • The forth update to the showroom and gas station, during the mid-thirties

In Part I of the Reed Brothers Dodge story, we covered the changes the Rockville, Maryland dealer had gone through from its start in 1915 to 1930. To bring things up-to-date with the manufacturer, the Dodge Brothers name was changed in 1930 to Dodge, and the company started offering both six and eight cylinder cars for the first time.

Even though times were tough during the Great Depression, the Reeds were doing well enough to finance yet another face lift and renovation; the front of the gas station and the canopy was remodeled as shown above during the mid-thirties. You can take look at the earlier photos in Part I here for a comparison.

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  • A new Parts and Service Department facility was built in the mid-thirties

After years of hard work that also helped to establish an excellent reputation, once again the Reed’s needed to expand. At about the same time as the gas station was remodeled, the car dealer split up the sales and parts and service operations by constructing a new building; it was located nearby at the intersection of Dodge Road and the Rockville Pike.

At this point, eight new cars and trucks were being sold each month, along with a number of used car sales. Many purchases at the time, as had been the custom for years in the automobile business, were still initiated at a prospect’s home or job site; as many of the customers were farmers, the Reed’s had an active team of salesman in place who called on prospects right on their property.

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  • 1953 demolition of the gasoline station and showroom

After the war when new car production started back up, and the firm once again had new cars and trucks to sell, it continued to grow. By 1953 both more modern facilites and more room were needed once again. The photo above shows the demolition of the old service station and car salesroom to make room for a new free standing Gulf Service Station and a new showroom.

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  • Lewis Reed and James Gartner, Salesman, 1961

The photo above, and the left and center photos below show the new buildings that were constructed during 1953. The parts and service department seen below right, was also enlarged in the post-war years. Lewis Reed still going strong in 1961 can be seen above in front of the new car showroom. At this point, we are going to end the story here on The Old Motor as it continues on into the modern era beyond the time frame that we cover here.

You can pick up the rest of the story with Reed Brothers Dodge celebrating its 50th Anniversary in 1965 and continuing on to its end of selling Dodges in 2009, ninety-four years after it first started in 1915, at Reed Brothers Dodge History.

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Posted in Auto photos 1921 - 1942, Auto photos 1946 - 1965, Garages and Dealerships, Gasoline stations | Tagged , , , , , , |

The Keating Wheel Company – Forty Years on Two Wheels

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Brian Keating is just up the road a piece and across the Connecticut River in New Hampshire. He has been: restoring, reviving, conserving, collecting and buying and selling vintage motorcycles for forty years. Lucent Productions has put together an excellent documentary covering Keating’s life’s work that many of you will be able to identify with. Listen along as he tells the story from the very start, of his passion for the two-wheeled machine.

Even though his work is with motorcycles and not cars, Keating does put into focus why so many of us in the trade along with private enthusiasts do what we do. Antique motorcycle collectors have always valued the unrestored original, and he also talks about the allure of those untouched machines. Spend the nine minutes it takes to watch this video, you will enjoy it. You can visit with the The Keating Wheel Company here.

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Posted in Motorcycle photos, video | Tagged , , , , , |