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Preston Tire Company – One Stop Shopping for Car Care

Care car in the Los Angeles, California area can be a profitable business due to a large number of cars and trucks in the area needing service. The Preston Tire Company pictured in this 1932 image, in addition to tire service also contained: a Socony Certified Lubrication Service, an Auto Painting bay, an Official Brake Station, a Headlight Adjusting Station, and a Starters-Generators and Willard Battery service area. 

The center of the complex contained a 24-hour General Petroleum filling station with three visible style pumps selling purple Violet Ray gasoline for 17-cents a gallon, and Motogas at 13-cents. To the far right was a small restaurant where you could have a steak, chilli or a hamburger while waiting for your car. Check out the sectional enlargements (below) for more detail and better views of the cars in the scene.

The photos are courtesy of the USC Libraries.

General Petroleum Staion 1932

Preston Tire Co Los Angeles 1932

16 responses to “Preston Tire Company – One Stop Shopping for Car Care

  1. The cars are a mystery to me, but looks like Preston did it all. A guy changing a front tire on a motorcycle ( with side hack?) and I like the “semaphore” stop light.

  2. The Victoria is a 1931 Dodge – not sure just which model – the disc wheel roadster looks to be a Nash, the landau sedan next to it is probably GM, possibly Chevrolet or maybe Pontiac or Oakland. The black sedan is possibly a Chrysler product.

    • I found a reference that gives the address. It was at 657-659 N. Vermont Ave., LA, the SW corner where it crosses Melrose Ave. Unfortunately, there is but a generic Mobil station there now. I was able to confirm the location on Google Maps street view because the building directly above the word TIRE (with the distinctive pattern of windows) still exists, facing the street at the next block over.

    • It’s hard to narrow down the location based solely on the picture. I can tell that the street in the foreground has a pair of what look to be narrow-gauge (based on their scale relative to the Dodge that’s straddling the nearer set) trolley tracks running down it, indicating it was served by the Los Angeles Railway “Yellow Cars” (which stayed almost entirely within L.A. city limits) rather than the standard-gauge “Red Cars” of the Pacific Electric Railway (which ran all the way out to Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino counties).

  3. I suspect I’ve mentioned this before, but I sure do admire the cast iron street lights. They add a lot of charm to the streetscape.

  4. Looks like the corner of Vermont Ave. and Melrose Ave. (659 N Vermont Ave is what I found using Google). Now a Mobil gas station on one of the street and a McDonald on the other. Looks like not much has changed! Also note the street car tracks – old time LA rapid transit.

  5. The hubcaps look too big to be a Dodge Brothers. They did make a four passenger coupe and Broughm with that body style, but having wire wheels it should have fender mounted spares.

  6. Re the Dodge, according to The Standard Catalog the first Dodge ‘club coupe’ was in the second series of the model DG eight produced from July 1931. There were only 500 of these and I think this is one of them.

    This model was replaced by the DK from late in 1931 but that model had a sloping windshield which this car does not have. In the DK and DL series in 1932 they are listed as Victorias. The DK had a heavier frame, a longer wheelbase – 122″ vs 118 – and was on larger tyres – 6.00 x 18 vs 5.50 x 18.

    Like many makers in the depression era Dodge had new models being introduced every few months and, unlike later models where there was a yearly change, it is not really possible to put a specific year on them.

    I would not be surprised if there were no survivors of this model.

  7. 1. I lived within one city block of this corner in the early 60’s.
    2. The Motorcycle WITH SIDE CAR has a Commercial “COFFIN” on it: A typical way to do “Road” or “Neighborhood” Service . The COFFIN “RIG” would ALSO have a “FOLD-UP front “A” FRAME “BUMPER CLAMP” to TRAIL the “RIG” BEHIND the Customer’s Car — to return it after servicing, (Very common in earlier L.A. (This went away when CLAMPABLE bumpers went away!) This is fairly close to PARAMOUNT STUDIOS, so this Complete Service(s) Area may have done business with them(?)
    3. NOTE the “SAFETY ZONE” out in the street for the Electric STREETCAR (WIDE WHITE LINES with THREE BIG “BUTTONS”: At first, these “worked” for standing in the street, to board the car. As time went on — driving skill level decreased —and maiming or death of the whole crowd was common!!! Folks learned to WAIT at the curb, as did the MOTORMAN, until the traffic signal changed!!! Edwin – 30 –

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