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Hill Climb and Dry Ice Gasoline Promotions in California

Updated – West Coast Racing driver Sam Palmer is “behind the wheel” here in two 1934 Fords; in an enclosed Victoria in the lead image and (below) in a roadster. The scene is Glendale, CA, and appears to be located on a steep grade leading up into the Verdugo Hills. Both cars were probably rented or loaned by a nearby a Ford dealer for this set of General Petroleum Co. promotional photos.

As to what was going on here we can only guess at – possibly either a demonstration of the anti-knock properties of General’s “Violet Ray” gasoline or what gear or speed that Palmer was able to drive the Ford up the hill.

As a side note: Sam Palmer was a well-known racing driver in California at the time and on May 8, 1934, the San Jose News reported a crash where a “Racing Driver Is Badly Hurt”. The paper told of Palmer and his (uninjured) passenger Miss Gracie Moore that “crashed into a ditch 10-miles south of Bakersfield on the drive back to LA after finishing second in Sunday’s race in Oakland. He received injuries which may prove to be fatal”. Nothing more about him was found about his fate after a brief search.

Update – Reader Greg Beaulieu has confirmed the Palmer died on May 15, 1934 in Bakersfield, CA.

1934 Ford Roadster Hill Climb Test

On a different note: Cold weather starting has always been a problem and at about this time oil companies were beginning to blend special high volatility formula’s to ease winter starting. General Petroleum staged this scene with dry ice laid over and on the sides of the front of a sedan at a Los Angles gas station. Both the front of the car and the bottom were not covered so the effect of this demonstration is questionable. The photos are courtesy of the USC Libraries.

Dry Ice Test at Gas Station 1934

5 responses to “Hill Climb and Dry Ice Gasoline Promotions in California

  1. In the lead photo, the placement of the single windshield wiper suggests that this Ford is a LHD vehicle, but with Sam Palmer sitting in the right side of the seat, can we assume that his left leg and arm are considerably longer than his right?

  2. According to the Driver Database site, Palmer died May 15, 1934 in Bakersfield, Ca., probably as a result of the accident mentioned.

  3. The Model “A” Ford ’28 – ’31, was the LAST Ford car to have separate brake linings, a true separate additional “Emergency & Parking brake setup on the two rear wheels. In 1932 (through ’38) the regular Mechanical brakes had a hand brake lever on the trans cover. (’32 to ’36) and a separate lever for ’38 & ’39 on the left side, up by the dash. ALL ’32 through ’38 , the hand brake operated ALL FOUR wheels. In 39 , hydraulics were introduced, and from then on, the under the dash EMERGENCY & Parking handle ONLY operated the REAR brakes by cable. Edwin.

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