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Graphics....preserve or recreate?
#642678 Mon Jan 04 2016 11:11 AM
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Hi guys
I been lurking around for a while, reading old posts & learning what I can. Now I'd like to ask for some advice & opinions.

I have a 60's/70's vintage Autolite Tune-up cabunet/service desk that I bought a year ago. The same type that was used in the Shell station I worked at as a teenager. The cabinet is very solid but, as I'm sure many of you know, the paint on these was never what anybody would describe as high quality. I've decided to restore it.

The original finish is a hammered dark grey or black on the cabinet body & a plain white finish with graphics on the doors. I don't think I will have a problem finding a bump & paint guy to apply decent paint to it but I have concerns about the graphics.

I would like opinions on whether I should have them try to paint around & preserve the graphics? The graphics appear to be some kind of silk screening. Has anyone here recreated these kinda of graphic & is it a viable option?

If anyone has knowledge and/or opinions on this your input would be greatly appreciated.


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Re: Graphics....preserve or recreate?
Tod #642679 Mon Jan 04 2016 11:24 AM
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Welcome to oldgas. For me if the piece is in good condition I just clean them up and if needed clear coat them with a satin finish to protect them.

Your's appears to be in good condition and a good cleaning just might be the ticket. I prefer original or restoration when ever possible.


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Re: Graphics....preserve or recreate?
Tod #642680 Mon Jan 04 2016 11:27 AM
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A number of Ebay Sellers; sell different Autolite decals... If you don't find a version you like; maybe someone can "custom" make a decal for you? (I would think that someone would/should have a license from Ford/Autolite; to recreate and sell the Autolite decals)

If the cabinet were mine, I would first get a few decals and then repaint the cabinet...

(Maybe because of my age, I don't hold such cabinets in the same regard as those from the 1920s-50s.... These cabinets were massed produced, not very sturdy, rusted through in a short amount of time... For the most part, they were a "throw away" unit. Get a few years worth of use out of them and then replace with another flimsy cabinet....)

Last edited by Bob Richards; Mon Jan 04 2016 11:34 AM.

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Re: Graphics....preserve or recreate?
Tod #642683 Mon Jan 04 2016 11:51 AM
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Painting around decals is a pain in the butt, I'd find new decals If you can. Bet they are out there, shocking how often decals are already made by someone.

Can be recreated by taking a high quality, straight on camera image, and bring to sign shop. Or better yet maybe they can scan it if you take the doors off. That's not a cheap option though, having them made.

If you decide to save decals, need to mask them carefully with fine edge tape, same quality used for painting pinstripes. Put down tape and cut it by holding it down square with a razor blade against the surface and then pull the tape. When all done need to clear coat like mentioned above. This will only work with the car logo as its a square decal.

Last edited by Paul Bell; Mon Jan 04 2016 11:54 AM.

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Re: Graphics....preserve or recreate?
Bob Richards #642684 Mon Jan 04 2016 11:53 AM
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I agree with Bob. Those are kinda new for me also .But it comes down to what YOU want.. If it was mine I would clean it up and sell it and get a old one.:)


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Re: Graphics....preserve or recreate?
Keystone Gas Man #642686 Mon Jan 04 2016 11:58 AM
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Originally Posted By Keystone Gas Man
I agree with Bob. Those are kinda new for me also .But it comes down to what YOU want.. If it was mine I would clean it up and sell it and get a old one.:)


Agree with you, but it's still cool. I'd repaint it and not be worried about authenticity. Looks like a fun cabinet to customize.


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Re: Graphics....preserve or recreate?
Done4 #642699 Mon Jan 04 2016 02:45 PM
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Originally Posted By Done4
Welcome to oldgas. For me if the piece is in good condition I just clean them up and if needed clear coat them with a satin finish to protect them.

Your's appears to be in good condition and a good cleaning just might be the ticket. I prefer original or restoration when ever possible.

X 2


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Re: Graphics....preserve or recreate?
Tod #642706 Mon Jan 04 2016 04:58 PM
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My father had this unit (above) and another that went on the wall. This unit was put in his station and the wall unit was taken out to the house we were building. Good memories 1974-76

Re: Graphics....preserve or recreate?
Tod #642711 Mon Jan 04 2016 06:04 PM
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It should be pretty easy to get those images recreated, just do it as a slide decal rather than a sticker and it will look more original in my opinion.

Like others I seriously doubt any major advantage/disadvantage value wise from keeping or replacing the images and repainting the cabinet.

BTW, the car image is a standard one seen on several different advertising pieces so finding a good graphic to go from shouldn't be an issue.


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Re: Graphics....preserve or recreate?
Tod #642723 Mon Jan 04 2016 07:28 PM
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Re: Graphics....preserve or recreate?
carolinaskies #642732 Mon Jan 04 2016 08:39 PM
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Paul, I believe you are mistaken about "the Car Image" on the decal. As that image, is of the 1967 Ford GT40 Mk III Coupe that won at Le Mans and again won Le Mans in 1968. (marking the third year in a row that Ford won Le Mans over Ferrari)...

The image was owned completely by The Ford Motor Company for advertising purposes (and I believe still is).... Even Carroll Shelby, the creator of the Ford GT40's; had to ask permission to use that image....

The reason Autolite was able to use the image... Is because it was a Ford Motor Company Product from 1961 until 1973....


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Re: Graphics....preserve or recreate?
Tod #642745 Tue Jan 05 2016 03:00 AM
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Get a very good camera (Nikon/Cannon) and take very close up pictures of the images. Make sure they are high revolutions.

Then have T-Way make you some decals, you can clear coat over the decals and make them look better then the originals.

Jack Sim


Author, 1st & 2nd editions of Gas Pump ID book, 3rd edition is now available at www.gaspumpbible.com
Air Meter ID book also available
Re: Graphics....preserve or recreate?
Bob Richards #642747 Tue Jan 05 2016 04:15 AM
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Originally Posted By Bob Richards
Paul, I believe you are mistaken about "the Car Image" on the decal. As that image, is of the 1967 Ford GT40 Mk III Coupe that won at Le Mans and again won Le Mans in 1968. (marking the third year in a row that Ford won Le Mans over Ferrari)...

The image was owned completely by The Ford Motor Company for advertising purposes (and I believe still is).... Even Carroll Shelby, the creator of the Ford GT40's; had to ask permission to use that image....

The reason Autolite was able to use the image... Is because it was a Ford Motor Company Product from 1961 until 1973....



Bob, I didn't look real close at the car, GT40, do like those. I doubt he'll have trouble with infringement or finding someone to make decals for him. Seems like no one asks me about that anymore, I think as long as it's for your personal use they don't bother you, if you start selling them, especially online, that's when could have troubles depending on how protective the company is. I know Harley and coke are super protective, not sure about Ford, but recreating what was on their originally should be fine. Maybe no one is making these for sale because of ford, could see that! Paul


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Re: Graphics....preserve or recreate?
Tod #642749 Tue Jan 05 2016 04:26 AM
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Did a quick search, there's some repro stickers of the gt40 but they may be too small. Quite a few on eBay. Hopefully you can find one the right size. There's some very cool light up clocks with this image, wouldn't mind having one of those. Great, another thing I want to collect now!


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Re: Graphics....preserve or recreate?
Tod #642754 Tue Jan 05 2016 07:28 AM
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Search for Ford Autolite Ad or Advertising and you'll find images of the graphic on clocks, magazine ads, etc if the original on the cabinet is damaged beyond simple repair.


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