Note: This feature is in the Feb. TT&C 2012 issue.
Collecting Mobil vehicles has been a passion of Jay Wieland’s since a Christmas gift in 1988 began the interest.
Top Row, left to right: Standard Oil of New York tanker, a Jeremy Mayfield race car sponsored by Mobil and a Mobil wrecker.
Second row: The Sign of Friendly Service Mobil tanker.
Third row: Mobil flatbed with a Beaumont Refinery Santa car and a Socony Mobil Co. stake truck.
Fourth row: Mobilgas tanker from New Jersey and another Socony stake truck.
Fifth row: Parkway, N.J., tanker, a Socony tanker and a flatbed truck.
Bottom row: Beaumont, Texas, Refinery car with a special driver.
Mobil tanker from the Hamilton-Wilber Oil Co. in New York, 1947.
Socony Mobil wrecker.
Mobil tankers and wreckers.
As a child, Jay Wieland of LeSueur, Minn., spent a majority of his time at his father’s Mobil shop. Even then, the bright red Mobil logo caught his attention.
“It just stood out of a crowd,” he said. Ironically, his passion for collecting Mobil trucks and banks started as a holiday gift. “Turns out, the reason I started collecting was because my brother-in-law needed a gift to give me for a Christmas present,” he laughed.
That gift, given in 1988, spurred a collecting frenzy. “I started keeping an eye on everything that came with the Mobil Oil/Gas logo,” he said. Today, he has all 67 models made by First Gear. His total collection numbers in the hundreds and includes pieces made by Ertl, Liberty Classics, Matchbox, TGM and more.
When it comes to Mobil Oil trucks and toys, he owns a nearly complete collection of all the pieces ever manufactured. Jay is most proud of the rare, hard-to-locate pieces that are a part of his collection, including three prototypes that were never mass-produced.
Closely scouting collector’s magazines and guides, Jay watched for new Mobil toys that were going to be released. One in particular caught his attention.
“I had seen advertisements for prototypes made for Parkway Mobil, a chain of Mobil gas stations along the New Jersey Turnpike,” he said. “Several gentlemen owned the group of stations and decided to commission a model truck for each station.”
The series was slated to include between seven and nine different pieces. When the first pieces were released, they were difficult to purchase. “Only 750 were made, and they sold out within hours,” he said.
When he noticed the entire series was never produced, he began chasing them down. “It took years of chasing to find out who had the license to produce the prototype,” he said. “I stayed up late nights looking through toy magazines. It took two years to find the prototypes.” One of the prototypes is a 1957 R-200 International tanker and the other two are Ford tankers.
Eventually, Jay was put in touch with a guy who owned the three prototypes. “The guy gave them to me and he said ‘the only reason you are getting these is because I know you won’t sell them,’” Jay said. “We still stay in touch, and we make sure that each other’s collection is complete.”
Searching for rare pieces became a passion for Jay. He quickly learned that refineries, gas stations and other Mobil Oil businesses commissioned toys specifically for their employees.
One such piece in his collection is a 1905 blue runabout truck produced for Magnolia Petroleum Company. The piece, manufactured in 1993, commemorated the company’s 90-year anniversary.
Another piece made for company employees is a white tanker truck made for Vacuum Oil Company, a company based in Paulsboro, N.J. Rather than the now-famous flying red horse synonymous with Mobil, this toy bears the red gargoyle logo that Mobil used prior to the horse.
A third employee piece that is part of Jay’s collection is a tanker made for a refinery in Torrence, Calif. Rather than bearing the traditional Mobil colors of red and blue, this tanker is painted all red with gold lettering.
A gin-pole truck made for an employee’s collectors club for Beaumont, Texas, Refinery is a favorite of Jay’s. “The R-200 gin-pole truck for Beaumont Refinery is a favorite,” he said. The Beaumont Refinery produces one model truck each year. Only 1,700 are produced, that is one for every employee.
“I found out they had these trucks, and I finally got in touch with a woman from the club and asked her if I could buy the truck,” he explained. “She told me that they could not sell the trucks, but they could trade them.”
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