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Actress Dorothy Christy Promotes Union Oil 76 Gasoline


This series of photos was taken in 1932 at one of the many Union stations in Southern California, with actress Dorothy Christy and a 1932 Auburn Convertible Sedan. The promotion was for the New Union 76 gasoline that the company had just brought to market along with its new line of Triton Motor Oil. Union was founded in 1890 and is based in San Ramon, California. The Union Oil Company of California, Inc. is still in operation today as a subsidiary of the Chevron Corporation 

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In addition to promoting the new line of gasoline, notes with some of the photos state the  images were taken for the Union Oil Bulletin, which was a company publication. We can see that Union also handled its own line of Ethyl Gasoline (leaded) and Firestone Tires. The photos give a very clear view of the distinctly-styled station building in the daytime, center photo above, and at night below with Christy in a roadster. The photos are courtesy of USC Libraries.


11 responses to “Actress Dorothy Christy Promotes Union Oil 76 Gasoline

  1. Interesting that Union Oil’s “76” referred to both the year of America’s Declaration of Independence, and the octane rating of the gasoline. Now there’s an attention getter!

    Comparing the station’s “Union Gasoline” shield to the logo of Union Pacific Railroad, I wonder if there was a connection between the two companies.

    Nowadays I’d think the similarity would raise some legal hackles.

    Tom M.

  2. If in Santa Paula, CA, visit the California Oil Museum. The building is the birthplace/original headquarters for Union.

  3. If the “76” is an octane rating, how could you ever get an engine to run on such a miserable fluid. I had a 1938 BMW 327 which had an “OZ 80” cylinder head which means 80 octane…bragging about how high the rating was. Was there a universal standard back in the 30’s for measuring octane or did it fall to the maker to assign it a number? Has the way gasoline is rated on flashpoint, changed since Union 76 was bragging?

  4. These are some of the greatest, most evocative pictures I’ve seen on Old Motor in a long time….Thanks!

  5. 76 octane gas would have been fine with cars of the day. Compression ratio’s over, say 5.5 would have been considered high compression, even as early as the 1930’s when most cars were in the 4 to 5 compression range.

  6. Perhaps some of you old duffers – like me – remember that Triton motor oil was purple! Some sort of dye added as a promotional gimmick obviously.

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