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Automotive Services at the Walker Tire Company and Charlottesville Motors Inc.

Today’s feature image is a view of the Walker Tire Company which was located at 501-503 East Market Street in the city of Charlottesville, Virginia. According to the opening date listed in the photo caption, the General Tire shop and filling station selling Acto gasoline had been in business for nine years when this picture was taken in 1932.

To the right of the employees standing out in front of the service station is the Companies circa 1929 to ’31 Chevrolet roadster pickup truck, to its right is a 1931 Chevrolet sedan, followed by a 1932 Chevrolet sedan; on the far right is a 1927 to ’29 LaSalle sedan. A 1930 to ’31 Ford coupe is parked next to the gasoline pumps.

The image (below) is a view of the engine machine shop at Charlottesville Motors Inc. located at 322-328 West Main Street in the City. The only engines and parts visible in the picture are for Ford “flathead” V-8 motors, and at this point it is not known if Charlottesville Motors was a Ford dealership or a Ford engine rebuilder.

Specialized equipment visible in the photo is left to right two KR Wilson engine stands (the company manufactured specialized Ford tools) and the man in the white coat at the second one is operating a small cylinder reboring machine on a cylinder block. The boring “bar” is mounted on top of a special KR Wilson machined plate with stands that is positioned over the cylinder head studs on the engine block. This spacer allows the cylinders to be rebored without having to remove any of the many head studs on both banks of the V-8 block.

On the far right of the shop on a steel table is an early Sunnen honing machine used for dry honing (an abrasive process.) With different sized mandrels which rotate placed in the machine, both new wrist pin bushings and the lower end of a connecting rod can be finished to a standard size or an oversize at very tight tolerances. You can learn more about the connecting rod reconditioning processes performed here at The Old Motor machine shop.

Share with us what you find of interest in the photos by Ralph W. Holsinger courtesy of the University of Virginia Library.


19 responses to “Automotive Services at the Walker Tire Company and Charlottesville Motors Inc.

  1. In the 3rd photograph [2nd expandable picture] there are four women in the machine shop. Might this photograph been taken during World War II ?

  2. Very interesting picture; perhaps as many as 4 women working in a machine shop of the 1930’s? Also, but not so unusual, man at far left appears to be smoking at his work station.
    You can really find the puzzlers; keep them coming.

  3. Interesting to see 3 ladies working in photo # 3. Could this have been taken during world war 2? As usual exceptional images that are professional quality. Great to see these glimpses into automotive history.

  4. The open cab truck is a 1932. Earlier versions had a fold down windshield. The 1929-1931 emblem with bow tie on an oval with vertical lines was continued into 1932 on trucks with black radiator shells. This truck can be viewed on a factory photo quoted as Ca 0065.

    • Forgiveness, please, the engine shop , I see after posting, is not related to Ma Walkers tire biz, however, it’s extremely unusual that women would have a job like that before the war.

  5. There is a very nice picture of Charlottesville Motors Inc. on Pinterest, but it shows the address as 856. There is a large Ford sign out in front. A similar picture of the front of Charlottesville Motors appears on the C’ville Images website and was taken in 2013 when the building was being demolished. In the C’ville Images photo the address is 854 W. Main St. The caption under the photo noted that Charlottesville Motors was a Ford dealership on West Main Street, built circa 1940. Maybe the engine machine shop was at a remote location a few blocks away.

    I also noticed at least 3, and possibly 4, women working the the machine shop, which could possibly date this photo to sometime during WW II. That high ratio of women to men might explain the absence of Ridgid Tool calendars on the walls.

  6. The Walker Tire Company location at East Market Street and 5th Street NE is now a small parking lot. The 2-story building immediately behind the Walker Tire Company is still there and has been remodeled quite handsomely.

  7. Because the fluorescent lighting appearing in the machine shop photo did not become available until 1938, surely this is wartime. Considering the rationing of automotive commodities (gasoline, tires, etc.) in effect at the time, one has to wonderabout the availability of engine rebuilding parts and paraphernalia.

  8. The machine shop image is reversed. You can see lettering on the shirts is backward. I think this photograph was taken in early 40s after the dealership moved to 800 block of West Main but still may have been taken at the older building.

  9. Charlottesville native here. Charlottesville Motors was a Ford dealership originally at 322-328 West Main until the late ’30s. My paternal great-grandfather purchased a new 1938 Lincoln-Zephyr sedan from them. His residence at that time was in the next block west at 402 West Main. This dealership did move to 856 West Main about 1939. I believe the machine shop photo was taken in the 856 West Main location. The machine shop image is reversed – note the reversed “Charlottesville Motors” lettering on the backs of two of the uniform shirts. Charlottesville Motors became Massey-Fischer Ford at that location in 1963. 856 West Main later housed University Firestone – a tire store/warehouse and service center. I worked there as a mechanic in the early ’80s.

    • Hi Carmicheals, while these pictures are clearly before your time, isn’t it fun to see your hometown featured, like the McDonald’s on Appleton Ave. in Milwaukee, a while back. Could it be possible you or your family knew any of these people? Thanks for chiming in, to me, it’s what these old photos are all about.

      • Howard – I’m sure my great-grandparents or grandparents did. I’ve stood in the room that was the machine shop in the second photo. It is indeed a smile to come across old hometown photos and photos of other places I have lived and known online. I enjoy your comments and contributions here and on the Hemmings blog.

  10. There is a Danbury Mint model of the 1931 Chevrolet pickup like the one pictured that is so detailed it can serve as a reference when restoring one of these.

  11. Interesting, in those days, even the mechanics and gas jockeys whore shirts and ties. Respect for the boss or the customer????

  12. What I notice is the G&B duel 105 gas pump In the center. With the offset price box. The two background pumps look to be Tokheim 850’s. The one on the right has a Acto globe with a Acto sign to the far left of the picture. I have never seen the sign but I have the globe. The pump to the right looks to have a Standard globe whitch would match with the Acto at the time. Not sure on the pump but is is a duel and might be another G&B

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