|1962 vintage Texaco fire truck ignites big surprise|
|Written by Darci Tomky|
“That’s me!” Don Beckius couldn’t quite believe it when he stumbled upon an old photo of himself on the internet.
He was browsing the web to see how much money his vintage Texaco toy fire engine from 1962 would be worth. He didn’t bargain on just what he would find.
Beckius found a 1962 advertisement for Texaco’s fire truck promotion. He thought the background of the photo looked altogether too familiar. “Well shoot! That looks like my station!” It was not only a picture of his station, but also a younger version of himself.
Curious to see how much his 1962 Texaco toy fire truck was worth, Don Beckius was surprised when he was browsing the internet and saw this picture of himself in a two-page color advertisement. He is pictured at the top of the ad, posing in front of his Texaco station in Ogallala, Neb. in 1962.
Beckius leased one of the two Texaco filling stations in Ogallala, Neb. from April 1961 until 1966. (That’s when the interstate came through Nebraska, and Beckius figured stations not located on the new interstate wouldn’t fare too well.)
He sold Sky Chief and Fire Chief gasoline, and he remembers the Texaco promotion the company launched for a few months during 1962.
Just like the advertisement reads, customers could get a new Texaco toy fire engine for only $3.98 when they bought new Sky Chief gasoline, new Havoline motor oil or new Texaco anti-freeze.
Beckius couldn’t remember just how much customers had to buy to get their hands on that 25-inch-long steel fire truck toy made by Buddy L. “Just like the real thing!” read the ad. “It’s an actual scale model of a Class ‘A’ Pumper. Bright fire engine red ... and all the trimmings!” It even came with a working water gun, ladder and bell.
This former Texaco man said he sold over 100 of those fire trucks, even keeping one for himself with the original box.
Don Beckius shows off his vintage Texaco toys and their original boxes. Pictured from left are his 1962 fire engine and a gas tanker and fire chief hat from the 1950s. —Enterprise photo
Looking at his picture as a young man in the ad, Beckius remembers the regional manager visiting his Texaco station in Ogallala and taking his picture, but he was never notified that they were using the photo for any promotional materials.
Now 50 years later, Beckius was shocked to find himself in a two-page color magazine advertizement.
“That’s me!” he showed his wife.
“No it ain’t,” she said.
“Yes it is!”
He was wearing the official Texaco uniform, and as the ad boasted, people could “trust your car to the man who wears the star.”
In addition to his prized 1962 Texaco fire truck, Beckius also owns a gas tanker and fire chief hat from the 1950s, both with their original boxes.
Elon Nelson, who is also interested in vintage gas station toys, helped Beckius research the value of his Texaco fire engine toy. Since it is still in the original box, they learned it’s worth around $450 to $500.
Holyoke Enterprise July 26, 2012