The Swinging 60s


In 1959 the Preston by-pass opened, this was the first stretch of the M6 and Britain’s first motorway. Many more followed in the 1960s. With the Motorway came the Service area, whilst the food served may have been indifferent the refuelling area wasn’t. Rows of brand new pumps echoing the architecture of this brave new world to serve the motorist. The new range of petrol pumps introduced were shorter than the previous models. And by the mid 1960s the illuminated globe on a petrol pump was becoming outdated any many new pumps were devoid of a globe gallery.

The transport of choice for the discerning Mod was the Lambretta scooter, to accommodate this every garage would have a “Petroiler” which was a small pump on wheels that dispensed ready mixed Two Stroke which could be stored away at night for security.

Meanwhile in America the designer Elliot Noyes working for Mobil came up with the “Pegasus Concept”, his vision was for the companies forecourts to resemble space stations. This he achieved with cylindrical stainless steel pumps under circular canopies. It was at night when his design was most effective. These structures are now seen as historically important and English Heritage have recently listed canopies at Redhill on the A6 near Leicester.

During 1967 the B.S.4040 Star System was introduced on a voluntary basis, up until then each oil company had their own name for the various grades of petrol. The new system had standardised the octane ratings with Five Star being the highest and therefore the most expensive. Any pump showing a star rating had to also show the brand it was dispensing.