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Paul Whiteman, his L29 Cord and Vogue Tires, prove that bling is nothing new in Los Angeles

Paul Whiteman the famous American Bandleader (1890-1967), is shown here in front of the Vogue Tire store in the Los Angeles area during 1930, with his L29 Cord. This photo proves beyond a doubt, that California bling is not a new phenomenon.

We have seen a photo of this very same model of Vogue tire in the past, but after a some research, cannot find any more information about it. We have found that the Vogue name is still on tires being sold 98 years after Harry Hower, a chauffeur in the Chicago area, joined forces with the Woodbury family during 1914 in the tire business.

During the years of 1918-1919, Vogue came out with the design of the double whitewall tire. By 1926 the company had been successful promoting its double whitewall to the chauffeur-driven car fraternity and decided to branch out to LA and added Dodson Limited as a distributor there.

As the depression set in during the early 1930s, about the time this photo was taken, Vogue Tires’ biggest customers were movie stars and Duesenberg owners, as only they could afford these custom built tires. Please let us know if you can come up with any more information about this particular tire, as seen on Whiteman’s Cord. Photo courtesy of Donald Ellis.

9 responses to “Paul Whiteman, his L29 Cord and Vogue Tires, prove that bling is nothing new in Los Angeles

  1. While there were custom colors on Auburns and Cords – given the cost of the cars and that the bodies were assembled in separate facilities from the drivetrains they pretty much stuck to a small grouping of “standard” color combinations – my guess is that an L-29 guru has a paint chip chart Ken Clark, Randy Ema, ACD Museum, or etc.

    That being said, listed 1931 Cord Cabriolet colors were:

    Gainsborough Blue with Blue Boy Blue trim and wheels – Silver stripe
    Fawn with Beaver Brown trim and wheels – Gold stripe
    Catseye Green with Woodsmoke Green Trim and Catseye Green wheels – Green stripe
    Black with Black trim, White wheels – no stripe color listed.

  2. I’m afraid I don’t have any more information on the tires, but the MacDonald-Dodson Tire Co. was at 1317 S. Hope St. in Los Angeles. The building still stands, although, unfortunately, with an altered façade.

  3. Came across this site. Very interesting. My grandparents were the “MacDonald” partner. (John and lois MacDonald). The “Dodson” partner was my uncle and aunt (Loyd and Bernice Dodson). Lois and Bernice were sisters. Thanks for the picture of the business.

  4. That may be Paul Whiteman and that may be his car, but I think that’s a manipulated photo done in the days before Photoshop. Look closely at the outlining of his right hand, the awkward placement of his right foot on the running board, the outlining of the bottom of his right trouser leg, the emphasized cuff on his left trouser leg vs. the uncuffed right trouser leg, the dodged (lightened) area around his eyes below his hat brim, and the different angles of the shadows of the car and his left leg. Additionally, note that the shadows of his chin, his lower left arm and his left trouser leg fall to the viewer’s left, indicating they were lit from the upper right. The car, on the other hand, is lit from the upper left since its shadow falls to the viewer’s right. Given the clarity of the photo of the car, we might expect similar clarity of the image of the man if he were actually standing there at the time. This kind and quality of manipulation was common in newspaper photos of the time (and in the Soviet era to make people previously pictured disappear). Maybe Paul was too busy to pose for Vogue Tires but let them use his image from a prior photo. The era of “factual” photography was brief. The era of factual advertising… Perhaps there never was one.

  5. In 1955, I went to Lloyd Dodson to buy a set of new Vogue Tyres at the suggestion of my uncle – Jim Lyon of Chicago for my ’53 Studebaker Starliner while a student at The Art Center School- 5353 W 3rd St in LA. Mr. Dodson personally gave me a tour of the establishment, detailing the many photos of the movie stars with their Duesenbergs, Cadillacs, Packards, etc. on all the walls, ensuring me he had personally met and done business with all of them. The vulcanizing and tire restoration machines out in the work area were all very busy and the smells of molten rubber were all pervasive! As a budding car stylist this was a real treat! Dave Cummins

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