Monday, January 30, 2012


Chevrolet by William 74
Chevrolet, a photo by William 74 on Flickr.

A vintage Chevrolet Viking truck. Like most everything in this yard, parked for unknown reasons and left to go to ground.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Wolf Automotive

Wolf Automotive by William 74
Wolf Automotive, a photo by William 74 on Flickr.

A long established dealer in Belvidere, Illinois. I think this is an older sign that has been modified and updated over the years-the font is distinctly modern. But the trapezoid around "Wolf" is distinctly retro.

Either way, I like it.

Thursday, January 26, 2012


OK! by William 74
OK!, a photo by William 74 on Flickr.

OK Used Cars was a certified used car program run by GM, to promote the used car sections of Chevy dealers. Advertising promoted the fact that the cars sold were thoroughly checked out before sale, like of like "select previously owned" programs most manufacturers have today.

You can kind of tell how old a dealer is if they still have OK signs hanging around These are probably from the sixties or seventies, and look to have been moved around a bit as well.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The Big 1

The Big 1 by William 74
The Big 1, a photo by William 74 on Flickr.

Originally brewed right here in Chicago by the Peter Hand Brewing Company, Meister Brau was a pretty popular brew in the city and suburbs. Meister Brau also released the first mainstream reduced calorie beer, Meister Brau Lite, which, when Miller took over Peter Hand, became what we now know as Miller Lite.

I don't think I've ever actually had a Meister Brau-I think it had gone out of production by the time I was old enough to buy my own beer. I still have a fondness for it, if only because of their sponsorship of Harry Heuer's sports car racing team back in the sixties. And, Fun Fact! Meister Brau is the favored brew of Cousin Eddie from the Vacation films.

I found this relic in the back of a little bar in downtown Hampshire, Illinois, facing the alley. It looks pretty beat up, and I wonder if it still lights up.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Snowy Glory

Snowy Glory by William 74
Snowy Glory, a photo by William 74 on Flickr.

The Old Rusty Cadillac, wearing a fresh coating of snow. I seldom manage to get out here first, before other people walk around it and leave footprints or wipe the snow off. It was nice to do so, just this one time. I tried to not leave footprints all over the place.

I also like how the melted bits on the windshield and grille form a smiley face. It was a fleeting smile, too, as it warmed up and rained the next day.

Friday, January 20, 2012

24 Lanes

24 Lanes by William 74
24 Lanes, a photo by William 74 on Flickr.

Sadly de-glassed, the Dodge Lanes sign in Belvidere, Illinois is a classic Googie-tastic slab.

Seriously, all bowling alleys should have awesome neon signs out front.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


Sunoco by William 74
Sunoco, a photo by William 74 on Flickr.

A very old plastic Sunoco sign, on the side of a repair shop in Paw Paw, Illinois. I have no idea if this was a Sunoco station at some time or not-it was one of those generic looking cinderblock garages, so it could've switched brands plenty of times. Heck, it may have never been a gas station at all-I didn't notice any remnants of a pump island or anything.

This looks suspiciously like one half of a plastic illuminated sign, so maybe it was hung there as decoration.

Normal Service Here

You may note that everything is normal around here. I have not blacked out any of my blogs or other web content, mainly because I am not quite clever enough to do so, and am dumb enough to leave it blacked out till sometime next month. But I urge both of you who stop here regularly to protest both SOPA and PIPA. Write your representatives. G'wan, go do it now, I'll wait.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Sunoco Camaro

Sunoco by William 74
Sunoco, a photo by William 74 on Flickr.

Possibly better known by the general public for a truck rental firm, Roger "The Captain" Penske has run one of the most successful racing teams since the early sixties. The Penske team has run in all manner of classes, including the Trans-Am, Can-Am, Indycar racing, NASCAR, and Formula One. Usually running top line talent, the Penske team was always a threat to win.

This Camaro is one of the team's iconic Sunoco team cars, from the Trans-Am Championship. This is a former Mark Donohue car, a genuine T/A car, and as such is nearly priceless. It was a privilege to be able to watch this piece of history hammer around the track again, and to be able to shoot it up close.

Friday, January 13, 2012


Sullivan's Drive-In by William 74
Sullivan's Drive-In, a photo by William 74 on Flickr.

Sullivan's Drive-In has been a fixture in DeKalb, Illinois since....well since sometime, I'm not sure exactly when this place opened. Judging from this classic slab I'd guess sometime in the sixties. Sadly, there's some broken glass to this baby. It's been that way for a while too-note the spotlights set up to illuminate that which used to light up.

Thursday, January 12, 2012


Tokheim by William 74
Tokheim, a photo by William 74 on Flickr.

Today one of the world's largest manufacturers of fuel dispensers, Tokheim has it's beginnings in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, in the late 1800's. While working in a hardware store, Norwegian John J. Tokheim began to think of a safer way to store and dispense fuel. This led to the patenting of the Tokheim Oil Dome Pump, and in 1901 the formation of the Tokheim Manufacturing Company. Tokheim was sold, and moved to Fort Wayne, Indiana, where the company was based for many years.

This chromed logo is on the front of a vintage Mobil pump, an pre-war visible model.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Kirkland I.G.A.

Kirkland I.G.A. by William 74
Kirkland I.G.A., a photo by William 74 on Flickr.

The Independent Grocers Alliance was founded in 1926 when a group of independent merchants in New York and Connecticut organized into a unified marketing system. By the 1930's there were over 8,000 IGA stores, all of them independently owned. The franchise model remains today, with IGA overseeing several resources that are shared between member stores, most visibly the IGA store brand products and the logistics of shipping them.

IGA stores have frequently been found in smaller towns and cities throughout the country, and this former store in Kirkland, Illinois is one of them. I have no idea how old the sign is-I believe it's been a while since the company was known as I.G.A., and I imagine this sign is from the sixties.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Adams Shoes

Adams Shoes-Chicago, IL by William 74
Adams Shoes-Chicago, IL, a photo by William 74 on Flickr.

Vintage Chicago signage. Adams Shoes is long out of business, but it's storefront remained mostly unchanged for years. Check out the font on the yellow sign-it pretty much carbon dates it to the early sixties, maybe earlier. This sign also includes a smaller neon "Adams" sign on the front corner of the building. All of it was in pretty good shape, and probably looked awesome lit up at night.

I shot this several years ago-I don't know if any of the signs are still extant.

Adams Shoes sign-Chicago, Il

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Dino Supreme

Dino Supreme by William 74
Dino Supreme, a photo by William 74 on Flickr.

Sinclair gasoline has been sold since the early 1900's, and is one of the oldest brands still in use. It's also well known for it's green dinosaur logo, which dates to the 1930's. Sinclair sponsored a dinosaur exhibit at the 1933-34 Chicago World's Fair, to demonstrate the correlation between gasoline and the age of dinosaurs. The exhibit included a big, animatronic Brontosaurus, and led to a popular line of Bronto promotional toys given away at the stations. The rest, as they say, is history, and Dino became the company's mascot. This station, in Wisconsin Dells, even features a big Dino the Dinosaur straddling the station's entrance.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012


Chevy by William 74
Chevy, a photo by William 74 on Flickr.

We've visited this old Chevrolet truck before-it's tuned into one of my favorite subjects. It's a mid-30's half ton (or maybe one-ton), with shelling machinery on the flatbed. It looks like it was just parked there, in the back of the property, left to gently go to ground.

I've shot it many times, but this is the first time I've tried using my Argus 75. I think it's got a pleasantly old-fashioned look.

Monday, January 2, 2012


Chevrolet by William 74
Chevrolet, a photo by William 74 on Flickr.

My first post of the new year, from one of my last photos of the old. This Chevy truck sits disused and abandoned, surrounded by old trucks and tractors in various states of disrepair. Many of them, like this one-tonnner complete with shelling apparatus on the flatbed, look like they were parked when the owner retired. Others look like they suffered a catastrophic mechanical failure and were towed to a far corner and left for dead. All of them are classics, the newest being a mid sixties pickup.