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Goodyear Tires Airship, and Blimp Gasoline Help Sell Car Service

About a month ago we featured images of a brand new Motor Tires Inc. Goodyear service center that opened in 1931 at West 2nd Street and South La Brea Avenue in Los Angeles. To refresh your memory, the photo below shows a front view of the pump island from the earlier post that can be seen in the lead photograph above.

Since that time another photo, a side view, this time, has been found of the facility dated as having been taken a year later in 1932. Several changes can be noticed: the name Motor Tires Inc. has been changed to Goodyear Service Inc., 12.5-cent a gallon Blimp gasoline was being sold at the pumps, and the arched window behind the gas pump island is now advertising the new Goodyear Airwheels.

Take at look back to the series containing the first five photos taken when this Goodyear Tires facility first opened in 1931 – there unique photos showing the service bays and equipment can be viewed.

You can view over 175 more vintage service stations here. The photographs are courtesy of the USC Libraries. 

Gas Under the Goodyear Dirigible 1931

  • This 1931 image shows Shell “40,” Gilmore “Blu-Green,” Union, and “Motor Tire” gasolines being sold.

Blimp Gasoline Goodyear Tires Los Angeles 1932

  • One year later Blimp Gasoline was being sold at 12.5-cents a gallon and all of the bases of the pumps had different graphics and signage. A Model “A” Ford on the left and an upscale Marmon sedan are parked at the gasoline pump island highlighted by the Goodyear airship.

Blimp Gasoline Goodyear tires 1932

  • The electrical shop and the tire service and sales bays just behind the gas pump island.

Goodyear Service Center 1932

  • This section of the building contains the brake servive and the lubrication bays. Photos in the earlier 1931 article show the interior and all of the equipment.

1932 Ford Roadster and Model A Sedan

Los Angeles Goodyear tire store 1932

15 responses to “Goodyear Tires Airship, and Blimp Gasoline Help Sell Car Service

  1. How often did pre-war cars need lubrication and what parts of the car required it. Also, did they have lube fittings or was that a post-war innovation.

    • Model A’s have about 35 grease fittings of several types, all different from modern ones and require a different tip on the grease gun. They are found almost everywhere there’s a bearing, sometimes two on the same bearing, one on each end. They are in the front/rear spring suspension, front spindles, steering linkage (drag link, tie rod, king pins, etc.), mechanical brake system, clutch and brake pedals, and U-Joint. Recommended interval is 1000 miles. Engine oil should be changed every 500 miles since there’s no filter (although with modern oils and light usage that interval may be extended a bit). There’s also a very thick oil called 600W used in the steering box, transmission, and rear differential that is topped off but rarely needs changing. Additionally, the throttle linkage needs a little oil now and then, and the horn motor needs some light oil every 6 months or so to keep it sounding good.

  2. re Mad Dog… a lot. Spring shackles for starters. There was an attachment for the grease gun that would hammer into the spring leaves so they could get a shot of lube, too. Also, clutch and brake pedal linkages. I always marvel at car shows at how clean the underside of some machines are. They must have an army of grease wipers.

  3. Great pics David, never would have ID’ed the Marmon!

    I down of some classic car owners who carry their cars cross country in trailers and will stop every 1,000, to 1,500 miles and grease the suspension in the car since it is active even in the trailer!

  4. Thanks everyone, for all your replies. Clarifies a lot. These older cars must have had terrific wear in places like Texas/Oklahoma and it still amazes me that the Arkies/Okies made it to California on shoestring budgets, ramshackle cars, impressive loads topped off with Granma in her rocking chair on those roads! Man, as a California Legislator I would have opened up the Pearly Gates for folks as clever and strong as that! What an amazing skill set they must have had.

    Back to my original question, did some unification of grease fittings come about because of the war.

  5. Okay, I did a bit of research and found that the ubiquitous Zerk fitting was invented by a man named Zerk and assigned to the Alemite Corp. FYI, Alemite has been in business since 1918 or so and they still make Zerk fittings for a variety of applications. I think the Zerk fitting was patented in 1921, so it has been around for quite some time and I wonder when it started to make more of a full scale appearance on cars.

  6. I had a ’32 Chevrolet over 30 alimite fittings that I replaced with zerks. The Alimite fittings were round shape with two pins protruding. These pins allowed you to lock the grease gun to the fitting and not worry about the grease gun coming free while you worked.

    • Alemite was the parent company that provided the Zerk fittings. You can still find them on the Net and they still sell Zerk fittings, mainly in areas outside of automotive.

  7. Let’s not forget the distributor grease cup and lubing the generator. So a “lube, oil & filter” or an “oil change and a grease job” meant a lot more in those than it does today.


  8. The 1931 Buick (at least in the small series) had a screw in the fan hub that had to be removed periodically to add oil to that fan hub. Also, you had to remove the floor board in the front to oil the clutch throw out bearing.

  9. Grease zerks?!?!?!? Worried about grease zerks when the all time coolest advertisement in the world is perched above those pumps? My oh my….
    What i wouldnt give for one of those Zeppelins…

    But in re Zerks while we’re on the subject…didnt know there were so many different types. Friend has a prewar BSA and it has ‘fittings’ all over it – yet to grease the thing, he removes them, screws in a zerk, then puts the OE types back because he doesnt have a grease gun to fit those Whitworth fittings. Just learned that a few weeks ago, and now I hear about ‘pin’ fittings and fittings to go between leaf springs ; learn something new every day!

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