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Wilshire Gasoline – Alive with Power and Economy

With the rise in the production of automobiles in the 1920s, came affordable cars in reach of many average families. Low-priced gasoline was needed to supply many of these vehicles, and the Wilshire Oil Company of California became firmly established at that time.

According to the California State Mining Association, Wilshire was formed on August 30, 1917 and was guided by President Victor A. Machris. The Company was headquartered at 2455 East Twenty-Seventh Street in Los Angeles CA. Through the twenties and thirties, it grew by supplying its own needs in addition to providing the Associated Oil Co. with its supply of gas and oil. Polly Gas with its familiar green parrot mascot was an independent formed about 1920, it was later acquired in 1930 by Wilshire.

Wilshire Oil Company of California became a part of the Gulf Oil Corporation in 1960. At the time the Company operated its own refinery and had 600 outlets that accounted for four percent of the West Coast Market.

The photos are courtesy of the USC Libraries.

  • In the lead photo and the image (below) is a circa 1925 Cadillac Roadster used by the Company. It was based in Huntington Park, CA, and is wearing an interesting accessory front bumper. 

1925 Cadillac Roadster

old vintage gasoline station antique gas pumps

  •                  A no frills Economy gasoline station on Figeuroa Street in the Los Angeles area in 1930.

1932 Ford Gasoline Tanker

  • One of four Wiltshire early Ford V-8 powered tank trucks that were photographed in 1933 as part of a movie promotion. Note the extra large sized radiator that was fitted to many of the trucks.

12 responses to “Wilshire Gasoline – Alive with Power and Economy

  1. A couple of comments; the tanker has two static chains visible. Did they sail during driving, or did they need replaced every other day. What brand car is the sedan being fueled and what kind of hat is the attendant wearing? On the Cadillac, are the headlights a accessory also? Thanking all you folks in advance.

    • The headlights on the Cadillac are standard. It is very difficult for me to be certain, but I’d guess the car being fueled is a late 20’s LaSalle 5 passenger sedan. I base this on the unbroken rear bumper and position of the trunk platform (on which one person is perched).

  2. The attendant is wearing a visor, not a cap. It looks like a staged photo. I am unable to determine the make & year of the vehicle.

  3. I think the car at the gas station is a 1930 Dodge, possibly a Model DC 8.

    That little flathead Ford engine must have had to work hard to make that tanker truck go anywhere. It would have needed all of its 75 hp all of the time. I wonder how long the engines went between rebuilds.

    • True enough. Those Ford BB’s were pretty tough though, and good gearing makes a big difference. Given the area this is in, I think I’d be more worried about stopping. 🙂 Looks like this tractor has a side mounted tire on the right.

  4. Regarding the Cadillac, I haven’t decided whether it is a ’24 or ’25 but assuming it is 1925 it is from the early part of the year when they used the 1924 style radiator shell on the standard models.

  5. Cadillacs got four wheel brakes for 1924. The information I have is that the 1925 model was a continuation of the 1924 series and the fact that they are both V-63 confirms that. It would seem that for 1925 nickeling of the radiator became standard. Also there was new Custom series that had the new style ‘scrolled’ radiator exclusively but from later in the year it was used on the Standard line cars as well.

    Of course 1924 was the first year for the redesigned V8 which no longer had the flat crank and now sounded like a V8 should.

  6. I am continually amazed at the breadth and depth of your knowledge and research facilities. you are to be commended for sharing with your subscribers. please keep it up. cheers john

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