Last month, we reminisced about the 70's, and on how they came and went. In this issue, we are visiting one of the kings of vintage accessories, Mike Ramos. Mike has been collecting for several years, and what initially started off as a hobby, ultimately became Mike's livelihood. We hope you enjoy this fraction of Mike's collection, which we are proud to feature in this month's column.

To get the proper frame of perspective, picture yourself getting ready to hit the road on that historic Route 66, wanting nothing more than to get away and leave town. What's wrong with that? Well, nothing thanks to all of the luxurious amenities that have become standard with our road vehicles of today. Imagine instead, wanting to take a road trip in that '39 Master Deluxe, or that fastback '48 Fleetline. You would first have to plan it out and see what time of the day you would be leaving so as to map out the perfect pit stops. The solution to those days of the past was to purchase a "Thermador-style" Air Cooler. The reason we say "Thermador-style" is that they used to private label them for certain retailers. You could purchase these through Mail-order catalogs like JC Whitney, or go to your local parts house or places like Pep Boys, Sears, Wards, and Firestone Tire. This was common practice in the automotive air-conditioning market for the late '40's thru the early '50's. We had to wait until 1955 to be able to order factory AC in your '55 Chevy. These Thermadors can be found at automotive swap meets, as well as through the internet, but once in a while you can find them in basements, attics, or in the rafters of old wooden garages!

NOS GM Hat holder
This accessory was originally made for a 1941-1948 GM vehicle, and was primary available for the Chevrolet. The Lowriders like these in every model, but they were originally found in these cars. There's always the chrome, cowboy-hanger-type for those who can't afford these OG accessories. This model has been reproduced in a limited run, which is no longer available, proving that you can't beat the OG!

Note: People wore hats daily in this era, making this accessory very functional.

Another note: People also wore coats and robe-type trench coats during this time. That's what the bar and ropes are for inside the 2 & 4 door cars from the '30's-'50's.

The famous GM Red Head flashlight
These have been around since the '20's-'50's. There are several versions, even plastic ones available from the '50's era. These are the Chevrolet ones which have the accy ribbon caps embossed. They were used from 1936-1949, again the Lowrider culture has adapted them as a must-have on a Bomb. It has 3 essential purposes. Besides being used as a flashlight, it also has a signal flare which shows once it's placed on a floor stand. Its unique stand can hang on the hood rod supports of a 1937-1941, allowing you to adjust your carb at night, or make any other adjustments that need to be made hands-free.

GM Batteries
These batteries are exact copies of what was issued, only they are retro fitted with today's technology, making them re-chargeable, instead of disposable. Not being rechargeable led to the demise of these batteries, as they were just tossed away!

GM Ventalarm Fill Guard
Imagine being at war and not having access to the resources you need. Well, that is exactly what happened after the Great Depression and during World War II. You were only allowed a certain amount of fuel for your vehicle, and you needed to make it last. Some of the common occurrences that were detrimental during these times were for the tank to get over topped off, leading to the spilling and wasting of fuel. This occurred if someone didn't pay attention while pumping the gas into the car. Some of the consequences of this included the paint being damaged from the leaded fuel mix. This gas tank vent guard would slip into your tank neck, and as the fuel would fill the tank, the air would blow through the designed whistle.

Locking Gas Cap
Another idea that came from the rations of World War II was the locking gas cap. If you didn't want somebody to steal or siphon your rations, you would buy a locking gas cap. These locking caps were very popular, but quickly faded away, once the world went back to normal and benefitted from the fuel embargo of the 1970's. These locking gas caps were reproduced, much like the one to the right of the original one pictured here, but had to be discontinued as they were not GM-approved because of minor design differences.

The saying "one man's trash becomes another man's treasure"

couldn't be more true than in the world of automobile restoration. If you have some vintage accessories and artifacts, as well as the facts that you want to share with the public, drop us an email at: saul.vargas@sorc.com

  • «
  • |
  • 1
  • |
  • 2
  • |
  • View Full Article