The signs, they-are-a-changin', which is why collectors and enthusiasts are prizing these authentically distressed vintage enamel signs more than ever.
Widely seen in the fifties and sixties and noted for their durability, enamel signs simply exude character as they speak to us of the golden age of advertising.
Gulf Oil was a major global company from the 1900s to the mid 1980s, when it merged with Standard Oil of California and re-branded as Chevron. Motorsports fans will be familiar with the signature orange and blue colour scheme, which first appeared on the track when Gulf sponsored the John Wyer Automotive team in the 1960s. It was initially associated with the Ford GT40 but was perhaps best known for the iconic Porsche 917 Le Mans racers which came a little later. Much of its popularity can be attributed to the fact that in the 1971 film, ‘Le Mans’, Steve McQueen’s character Michael Delaney drives for the Gulf team.
Today these beauties look great anywhere, but can usually found adorning the walls of games rooms, kitchens and the very smartest garages. We bring a few in from the US every year, generally acquired from barn sales and amateur collectors, and contrary to our usual policy we carry out no restoration bar a swift wipe with damp cloth! We like 'em rough and ready, and if there's a few rust scabs or the odd bullet hole scarring the surface then so much the better!
This example is extolling the virtues of Gulf's No-Nox motor oil - a lubricant that was supposedly capable of preventing those unwelcome banging sounds under the bonnet. Check out the original TV advert here.