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Day and Night Service, Los Angeles Style


The Pellissier Square Garage located at 828 South Western Avenue in Los Angeles was more that just a common gas station and repair shop. It offered the kind of service that is rare, if not unheard of today, but was not uncommon in big cities in 1931. A customer could also keep their car in the large parking garage behind the station.

Employees of the garage provided a wide array of services for which a driver would receive a monthly bill. Basic maintenance was performed. Oil was changed and, in a day when chassis lubrication was required every thousand miles or so, it was also attended to. If you had a problem on the road, you could be hauled back in by the Lincoln tow-car seen on the right below.

Pel2      Pel3      Pel4

Mechanical brakes needed frequent adjustment that was attended to on the Johns-Manville Brake-O-Meter seen in the left hand bay in the center photo above. A car’s cosmetic needs were not neglected, either. Washing, polishing and waxing were also available as was cleaning and vacuuming the interior.

Lastly, the tank could be filled right on the premises so the car would be ready to go at any time of the day or night the customer might need it. You can find many more photos of old time service stations here on The Old Motor. Photos by the Dick Whittington Studio courtesy of USC Libraries.

12 responses to “Day and Night Service, Los Angeles Style

  1. Thinking about the term “service station”, it’s almost inconceivable that you’d find all those automobile services all in one facility today. Maybe the closest thing would be a privately owned garage, that also happened to sell gasoline – although I don’t think I’ve ever seen a garage like that.

    Interesting also the three gasoline pumps: Standard, Standard Ethyl, and Pellissier. Maybe someone else knows more about the “Pellissier” gasoline brand?

    Tom M.

  2. I’d have to guess the standard and ethyl would be Standard Oil Co. because of the crown on the pump. The wrecker is interesting. Looks like a Weaver set up, complete with an “auto ambulance” dolly. However the usual winch in the a frame isn’t visible. Must be some sort of a power winch.

  3. Question to Gene or Davis, do any of these old service stations you post exist any more? Even if it is just an empty building. This auto care center, service station, seems so complete. They even have tires to sell to there customers. The Pellissier’s got it right. And a Lincoln tow truck. Now that’s class.

  4. The Model A seems to be a standard model with the black top but it has at least one sidemount. It also has painted over fenders and V8 wheels, most likely 16″ 35s. This dates the picture to at least 1935, maybe a few years later as the wheels probably wouldn’t be as available or needed in that year.

  5. On second look I see license plates but I can’t make out the year. I also noticed the A horn is painted over and that’s a neat looking collapsible oil drain pipe.

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