Category Archives: Trucks, buses and equipment photos
It didn’t take long after the idea of styling heavy trucks took hold in the nineteen-thirties for some really radical designs to emerge. Early on, E.B. Gilmore recognized the value that such a vehicle would have to promote his company. Most likely based on a 1934 White 730-731, its smooth coachwork was the product of the prolific Los Angeles-based designer, Wellington Everett Miller. Miller began his long career at the age of sixteen as an apprentice at the Walter M. Murphy Company, worked for Packard and later freelanced at Bohman & Schwartz and many other well known firms over the years.
Above left: A news item dated November, 24, 1935 – Above right: An article from “Western Truck Owner”, November, 1935
Best known for his work on major classics, Miller’s talent was not restricted to automobiles. He is credited with more than one thousand projects in his lifetime that ranged from fire apparatus to road rollers, wheeled toys, garden tractors, vending machines, hydraulic presses, model kits and much more. The Arrowhead teardrop car was one of his more unusual designs. He was also responsible for the cab and front sheet metal restyle of another of Gilmore’s promotional vehicles, this 1934 Mack BM.
The windshield for the White was the largest piece of curved safety glass ever formed up to that time. Power would have come from the White 730 505 cubic inch, 143 horsepower “pancake” flat-opposed twelve cylinder gasoline engine. Primarily used in transit buses, it incorporated twin downdraft carburetors, twin starter motors and dry sump lubrication.
Ownership of this unique vehicle transferred to Mobil when Socony-Vacuum bought out Gilmore in 1940. While reliable sources state that Miller did this job for the Advance Auto Body Works, the above items credit the Standard Auto Body Works with it’s construction. Any information you might have about this inconsistency would be welcome. Photos courtesy of George Dennis, Jeremy Gilmore, Steve Given.
Automobile ownership was not commonplace for many people in most parts of the world during the first thirty years of its use. The train or a bus was popular if a trip of some distance was necessary. This pair of photos show what the Kiwis called a “Service Car”, hard at work in Nelson, New Zealand, on South Island. The Newman Bros. LTD. White Truck above, is carrying a bus body covered with Royal Mail bags and filled with people.
Below we see a Cadillac with a lengthened-wheelbase and a long twelve-passenger body filled with a jovial-looking bunch. Both vehicles appear to date from the late-teens or early twenties. If any of our readers can date either of these American vehicles or tell us more about them, please send us a comment. Photos by Frederick Nelson Jones courtesy of the National Library of New Zealand. Many more bus and truck photos can be seen here on The Old Motor.
Born in 1850 near Millersburg, Illinois, Arthur Fremont Gilmore, was a dairyman turned oil and gas merchant after he struck oil in California while drilling for water for his livestock. Starting in 1918 his son, Earl Bell Gilmore, took over the family business and presided over it while it became the biggest independent oil company on the West Coast. Our photos date from that period of explosive growth.
E.B.’s flair for promotion is well known. He sponsored auto and air racers, land and water speed record attempts, a radio show and built the Gilmore Stadium in West Hollywood. Gilmore gas stations were among the cleanest and most modern. Their bright cream and red colors made them stand out from the rest and the Gilmore Lion logo became well known nationally. You can find more interesting Gilmore Oil Company photos on The Old Motor. Photos courtesy of the California Historical Society Collection at USC Libraries.