1964: A Walk Down Memory Lane
As National Oil & Lube News celebrates the 50th anniversary of the classic Ford Mustang, a walk down memory lane seems appropriate. For many of us in the quick lube industry, the 1960s were formative years that shaped us into the people we are today. For those who came later, the 1960s have affected the choices that are available today.
The concept of the quick lube had not been considered during the 1960s, but the idea that it was becoming acceptable to question the status quo certainly was. During the 1960s, the children of the Greatest Generation, those men and women who fought and won War World II, were coming of age.
Almost exactly nine months after World War II ended, “the cry of the baby was heard across the land,” as historian Landon Jones described in an article for history.com. More babies were born in 1946 than ever before: 3.4 million — 20 percent more than in 1945. This was the beginning of the so-called “baby boom.” In 1947, another 3.8 million babies were born; 3.9 million were born in 1952; and more than 4 million were born every year from 1954 until 1964, when the boom finally tapered off. By then, there were 76.4 million “baby boomers” in the United States. They made up almost 40 percent of the nation’s population.
The baby boomers would have a huge impact on our world and in our society. By the mid-1960s, the earliest baby boomers were graduating high school and looking for how they would make their mark on the world.
It was this group of innovative individuals who questioned the normal and traditional way of servicing our vehicles. They had the unique idea of digging a hole in the ground that a vehicle could drive over and then accessing the hole by a ladder that would allow them to work under a vehicle without the need to lift the vehicle.
It was during these exciting times that other baby boomers started questioning why the society norm was to either live in the city or the country, with nothing in between. Suburbs were developed, and both city dwellers and country folks found their community in the ‘burbs. With all of this new development happening in the suburbs, the need for daily services for these people became the latest craze. Food markets and churches, as well as shopping centers, soon followed the population of people moving to the suburbs. The now normal, but at the time bizarre, idea of constructing a huge building and leasing space out to individual retail stores started, and the town mall was born.
The founders of the quick oil and lube industry soon questioned who they were and where they were going to be. They decided to make their mark in these new communities. It just made sense. Wherever the people were, that’s where the vehicles would be. The other new trend in North America was that families were becoming two-car families. These new homes being built in the ‘burbs had a two-car garage instead of the one-car garage, which was the norm back in the city.
Instead of counting traffic in front of a business, counting rooftops became the new barometer. These roofs meant growing families, and for the vehicle maintenance industry, it meant cars — normally two cars for every rooftop. The neighborhood quick lube normally started as the neighborhood full-service gas station but, in a few years, would evolve into the quick lubes we know today.
1964, The Year It All Started: Mustang Roars onto the Scene