Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Johnny's Texaco Service - Johnny Zatti, prop. from the late 1950's...

It's amazing how matchbook covers bring back memories and thoughts of another time. An empty lot on 520 N. May Street today was once Johnny's Texaco Service, and sadly I don't have a picture of the spot from that time frame, but these pictures may bring back a few memories of what it was like.

Here we have Johnny Zatti standing in the ditch on corner three at the CLE track in Fort William in the 1950's after a rollover in his #11 1930's Ford jalopy coupe. This matchbook cover(front and back) shows that Johnny proudly sold Willard Batteries at his Texaco station. This matchbook cover was from about 1961, as the "MA" prefix for the phone number was only used for a year or two then.

A Willard Battery sign, similar to the one shown above was likely fixed to the side of his station as well. The next matchbook cover clearly shows only a 5 digit phone number putting it before the Willard one above. "Texaco", "The best friend your car can ever have". What a great logo.

During the time Johnny was burning up the track at the CLE grounds, he was sponsored by an automobile and industrial distributor called Potter and Kerr, which was located on Algoma Street in Port Arthur. Click twice on the newspaper ad above to read it in full. This next black and white photo shows what Johnny's service station and pumps might have looked like back then.

Another little coloured picture here also shows what Johnny's Texaco might have appeared like. The Sky Chief and Fire Chief signs above are porcelain pump signs which would have been fixed to the front and back of the premium and regular pumps as shown in the black and white photo further above.

This is an early 1960's map cover showing a great illustration of a station and the large porcelain signs that could be seen for miles in either direction. This next b&w photo is Johnny and his car taking the checkered flag as he had done many times during the 1950's.

This is how the address at 520 N. May Street looks today and how it has looked for many years. The property is on the east side of May Street just north of the old Dominion Motors building and the old May Auto Parts building. This next b&w photo is of Johnny himself with a very lucky young man, Orin Maki. Orin's dad was on Barry Kettering's pit crew, and consequently Orin spent a lot of time in the pits and also had his picture taken with many of the local stock car jockeys of the day.

Johnny's son Don is a great guy and a gear head hot rod builder like myself today and I'm still wondering if the kid on and inside Johnny's car is him...Is it Don?? Here Johnny is racing a very nice '34 Ford 3-window coupe. The huge bumper in the last photo proves that he wants to protect it, or at least push every one else off the track.
Be sure to click once or twice on all the photos to enlarge them...some however are smaller file sizes and the largest that I could get.


Anonymous said...

check out the push bumper

Dave said...

Oh...Yes...Its a biggie!