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The Packard Preacher Brings Religion to the Tire Shop


Nels Thompson on the left and his 1930 Packard 740 preaching car is seen posed above with a salesman in front of one of the three Guasti-Giulii Inc. tire shops located in Southern California, after getting a new set of Royal Master Tires. The tire distributors main office was at Eighth Street and Central Avenue in Los Angeles with two more shops at: Pico Avenue and Flower Street, and Sunset Boulevard near Vine Street.

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Secondo Guasti Jr. ran the tire shops and was also the general manager of the five-thousand acre Guasti Winery that his father Secondo Guasti, who immigrated to Los Angeles from Italy started in South Cucamonga, California in 1901 (an interesting story). You can learn more about the company village he built there for his family and workers that is now a ghost town at Spirits of Guasti.


The Preachers Model 740 Packard is on a Seventh Series, Custom Eight chassis that has been lengthened and wears custom coachwork that appears to have been built by a hearse or ambulance maker. The 740 featured a 384 c.i. straight eight engine and a new four-speed transmission that was introduced that year. The Royal Master Tires were produced by the U. S. Rubber Company. The photos are courtesy of the USC Libraries.

6 responses to “The Packard Preacher Brings Religion to the Tire Shop

  1. The winery is still there, but I think they are now owned by Gallo. As of a few years ago, you could still take a tour through the winery and they had a tasting room & gift shop on the premises. The worker’s village is still there but in disrepair. I believe they are trying to get the remaining worker’s houses restored at some point. Guasti is located just south of the 10 frwy. & just west of the the 15 frwy. interchange on the south side of the 10 frwy. The Guasti schoolhouse has been a popular restaurant for years. Unfortunately, commercial development has sprung up all around this location. Hopefully, it will be saved for its historic value.

  2. The vehicle in the pictures in the post above is apparently known as the “Godmobile” and still exists and was awaiting restoration in 2012. As described in detail (including the design and construction) by the grandson and granddaughter of Nels Thompson.

    Some additional photos of this vehicle and many other interesting vehicles associated with Nels Thompson evangelists at

      • In reviewing the material at the links in the comment I now confirm that the very stylish trailer was constructed as the back half of the Godmobile. Constructed in 1933 and sleeping six (fitted out for six to travel and live in), it would have been quite advanced for the time.

        Preceeding the Bowlus Teller trailer, it (and the Glen Curtis streamlined trailer may have helped inspired the Bowlus- Teller and thus the Airstream).

        • In fact the Packard car shown here was often called the Radio Gospel Car. This Packard was destined to pull the Godmobile trailer built in Hollywood in 1933. It was in fact too long in the rear and was a bit unstable for towing so a substitute 1929 Packard was used. The name Godmobile was invented in 1983 by an editor of Sunset Magazine. The Packard has apparently gone to the great Packard heaven but the 1933 Coach rests in the Idaho Historical Society Museum.

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