Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Gasoline Alley – Autos, Trucks and More! (#2)

We’re continuing with our tour of Calgary Alberta’s Heritage Park…this time with part 2 of our visit to Gasoline Alley…and its collection of cars, trucks and other related items from the early part of the 20th Century.

Hanging among the automotive related signs suspended from the ceiling and displayed on the walls, is this 1942 De Havilland Tiger Moth.  It is the only aircraft in the exhibit.
The Tiger Moth DH82C was one of the most widely used military training aircraft ever built.  Between 1931 and 1945, over 9,000 of the planes were manufactured in de Havilland factories in England, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. Based on the then popular Gypsy Moth, the Tiger Moth featured staggered, swept-back wings which allowed the pilot to safely parachute from the front cockpit.  A principal trainer for Allied forces during the Second World War, over 1,700 Tiger Moths were built in Canada.  
After World War II many Tiger Moths were sold to civilians.  They used these versatile biplanes for racing, barnstorming, crop-dusting, film assignments, bush flying and freight hauling. With a choice of landing gear, including wheels, pontoons or skis, the Tiger Moth was readily adapted to the needs of Canadian Pilots.  For more about the De Havilland Company, go to 

This is one of my favorites in any auto collection.  It’s a 1931 Cord L-29.  This was the first American front-wheel drive automobile to win popular approval.  Front-wheel drive allowed the Cord L-29 to be lower to the ground than other cars of the time.  When coupled with a long hood, the Cord was one of the most rakish, visually striking cars on the market.  The L-29 line was phased out in 1932 during the depression.  The public could no longer afford the Cord’s $3,000 price tag… especially since a Ford Model A cost just a tenth as much!
To learn more about the history of Cord automobiles, you can click on this link:

This is another favorite auto of ours… It’s a 1932 Auburn V12.  Auburn also built the Cord, with both cars being built in northern Indiana.  The elegance, speed and price tag of Auburns made them a popular choice for car lovers in the 1930s.  This V12 was the first 12-cyinder car to sell for under $1,000!  It was modestly priced for the time… As with the Cord, the Auburn brand of automobiles did not survive the economic hard times of the Depression.
There is a terrific museum located in Auburn Indiana that has a great number of Cords, Auburns and other classy and historic cars on display.   For more information about this museum, just go to:

Gasoline Alley has a plethora of signs and other automotive ephemera on display.  They’re on the exhibit floor, on the walls and they’re hanging from the rafters!  While many of the brands shown above are familiar to me, some are not.  North Star, XcL, Thunderbird Gas and Flying A aren’t part of my gas station/brand lexicon.  Neither is Frontier…I love that sign!  I also like the old Marathon Products sign… It may not be politically correct and we’re not smokers, but that Black Cat Cigarette sign is one I’d like to own!   

This pristine beauty is a 1926 White Shell Tanker.  As the use of cars and trucks spread across the continent, it created an unprecedented, (and continuing), demand for gasoline and motor oil.  This tanker is a rare example of a small or light fuel delivery truck.  It’s been fully restored with a new oak cab, vintage 500-gallon fuel tanks, and 12 vintage 5-gallon fuel cans.
White Motor Company began building cars in 1901 but ended car production after World War I and they exclusively began producing trucks.  The company soon sold 10 percent of all trucks made in the United States!  Although White produced all sizes of trucks from light delivery to semi, following World War II the decision was made to produce only large trucks.  For more about the White Motor Company, go to 
As a side note, in 1909, president-elect William Howard Taft converted the White House stables into a garage and purchased four automobiles: two Pierce-Arrows, a Baker Electric, and a 1911 White.  This $4,000 car was one of the last steam cars produced.  It proved to be a favorite of the President who uses bursts of steam against "pesky" press photographers!

This is a 1918 ‘Coffin Nose’ International delivery truck…serving its original owners much like today’s pickup trucks do.  The arrival of gasoline powered trucks and tractors in the late 1910s marked a shift for farming in Alberta and elsewhere.  Instead of having to rely on horsepower and contractors with steam-powered threshers, many farmers began investing in their own machinery. Trucks like this one meant that farms needed fewer hours of labor to produce the same amount of food.  This was good news for Alberta and North America in total as the population was growing, as well as for farmers, who could now make much larger profits.
Any vehicle having a front end that is described as looking like a coffin, would ‘kill’ sales in today’s marketplace.  However, looking around the Internet, I found a few other old or classic vehicles that are described as having a ‘coffin nose’… Check out the photos at, and I especially like the second photo…with the classic 1937 Cord Speedster!

Wouldn’t it be fun to drive this 1919 Oldsmobile 3/4 Ton Truck!?  What a beautiful looking and historic truck.  It’s ‘only’ 95 years old! 
Legend has it that Ransom Eli Olds of Michigan started inventing automobiles because he couldn’t stand the smell of horses.  His first automobiles were built in 1901.  He was determined to sell his new trucks and he must have been convincing.  Trucks like this one soon became very popular among both delivery services and farmers.  Despite this fact, many others were reluctant to make the big change from horse-and-buggy.  In Alberta, motorized vehicles and horses continued to work alongside each other into the 1950s…

This is a 1956 Plymouth Sport Suburban Station Wagon… It was the 50’s version of today’s SUV’s.  The station wagon was the family car of choice in the 1950’s!  They offered spaciousness and comfort with lots of room for everyone.  Many were ‘high-end’ with lots of options such as fins, lots of chrome and plenty of bright colors…
Plymouth built Suburban station wagons from 1949 until 1978.  If you’d like to buy one, there are 3 for sale on the Internet.  There is a 1956 model, with only 18,504 actual miles on the odometer, that’s being offered for sale for only $18,900.  Other models are from 1958 and 1970… For more information and photos, you can go to,500.

The Plymouth Sport Suburban is displayed with this classic little 1959 Champion Holiday Trailer.  Trailers like this one provided beds, kitchens and modern conveniences like refrigerators. They became an icon of the motoring era as they represented freedom, independence and the thrill of the open road!
Motorists had used their cars to go “auto-camping” starting in the early days of the automobile.  The first holiday trailers or mobile homes were homemade wooden structures attached to the chassis of a car.  As roads were improved in the 1920s, holiday trailers or campers became common.  As we all know, they’ve become larger and more luxurious than ever in recent years…

We thought that the kitchen of the Champion Holiday Trailer was a hoot…but it was kind of nifty too!  It has that vintage 50’s look, that’s for sure!

Here’s another view of the interior of the Holiday Trailer.  It looks like the family was interrupted in the middle of a card game… Note the kerosene lamp in the corner and that big picture window! 
Both the Plymouth Station Wagon and the Champion Holiday Trailer were appropriately displayed adjacent to the indoor playground and staffed activity space provided for young children whose parents are visiting Gasoline Alley.

Here’s one last vehicle for this chapter of our visit to Gasoline Alley.  This is a 1937 Terraplane Pickup Truck Model 78. 
Produced between 1932 and 1938 by the Hudson Motor Car Company of Detroit, the economical Terraplane combined Hudson quality and performance with eye-catching style.  Famed aviator Amelia Earhart christened the first Terraplane!  The company claimed that “driving a Terraplane was like flying on land.”  Similar to Terraplane passenger cars, this truck features a waterfall grill, torpedo headlights and pontoon fenders.  The drop frame design produced a low center of gravity ensuring good stability and low profile.
For more on Terraplane vehicles as well as some very nice photos showing some of these great looking cars, go to
Just click on any of the photos to enlarge them…
Thanks for stopping by for chapter 2 of our visit to Gasoline Alley at Calgary Alberta Canada’s Heritage Park!
Take Care, Big Daddy Dave


  1. That museum sounds like a collector's paradise. Great photos, Dave. Have a wonderful day. Blessings...Mary

  2. The Cord and Auburn had some real character, unlike today's cars which are hard for me to tell apart.