Can you believe that there once was an oil company that everyone loved? From the Roaring Twenties until the end of WWII, the Gilmore Oil Company provided its 3,500 stations in California, Oregon and Washington with much more than gas and oil. There were clowns, circuses, lions (even an airborne one), parades, and a host of giveaways and wacky promotions that gave children and adults alike a smile.
The Gilmore story reads like a fairy tale. From its beginnings in the 1890s as a dairy ranch, the family property in West Los Angeles became an oil field, refinery, sports and entertainment complex and a currently world-class shopping experience. On “Gilmore Island” as it was known, Earl Bell Gilmore built a baseball field, Farmers Market, drive in theater and the first purpose-built stadium ever constructed for midget auto racing.
Gilmore advertised his oil products aggressively in print and radio media, but the bulk of his advertising dollar was spend sponsoring motor sports–and that meant backing winners. The famous Gilmore Red Lion logo adorned race cars at Gilmore Stadium, Legion Ascot Raceway in L.A. and at Indianapolis (two times a winner) and Bonneville Salt Flats. The company boasted that 253 automobile and aircraft racing records had been broken with Gilmore’ sponsorship–and Gilmore gas in the tank.
Sold to Mobil during WWII, Gilmore stations faded away, and with them a colorful era. Here is the complete Gilmore story, 240 pages in length, with 320 vintage historic photographs, and many color images of Gilmore collectibles.
After ten years in preparation, the book on the Gilmore story is finally ready to hit the market. Co-author is Alan Darr, who has probably the largest Gilmore collection in the solar system, and much use has been made of it in the book. For instance, there are two whole chapters devoted to Gilmore’s racing activities– Ascot, Gilmore Stadium, Indianapolis, Bonneville and the like. Other chapters deal with the Gilmore Traveling Circus, Gilmore Island/Farmers Market and the 1945 folding of the company into General Petroleum of California.
Large format hard cover book in presentation box.