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Navigation aidAMOCO


Brief History

Amoco was the main brand name used by Standard Oil Company of Indiana (acquired by BP in 1999) for its European downstream operations. It entered Europe by buying 700 Zenit stations in Italy in 1962 from Fratelli Camangi (which had started by building a refinery in Cremona in 1954). Amoco entered Britain about the same time and a few years later moved into Belgium. With under 300 outlets, the British chain had around 2% of the market at its peak, although to justify its refining interests it supplied several jobbers using the Flare brand, and other independents such as Sabre, Oak, TAC and Beca.
Amoco was even smaller in Belgium, although some activities were carried out through a JV with Fina, and only in Italy were there a sizable number (1,000) of stations. However it was notoriously hard to make money in Italy, and Amoco sold out to the Saudi businessman Roger Tamraz in 1984 who rebranded the stations TAMOIL. The British chain was kept until early 1990 when it was sold to Elf.
Despite its earlier complete withdrawal from European petrol retailing, Amoco opened 11 stations in Poland in the mid-1990s, but these were soon sold to Texaco.

Maps: Amoco

ca1964 Amoco map of Britain

ca1969 Amoco map of Northern Britain

1975 Amoco map of Southern England

1980 Amoco map of London
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1983 Amoco map of Britain

The oldest Amoco map of Britain is a Geographia issue, without card covers, of the whole of the country on a single sheet and using a design that it much more typical of US maps with a "banjo" sign rising above a row of petrol pumps. The next known maps were probably produced in the late 1960s in two sections (North & South); both these 1960s designs carried the European (and Australian) logo not used in the USA. Neither is dated, in common with other Geographia commercial maps of the period, but both were specially printed for Amoco, although the latter was mounted inside card covers.
After the oil shocks, a series of 6 maps including London was produced for Amoco using the newer logo in 1975-7, unusually with excellent Bartholomew cartography.
In 1980 Amoco returned to Geographia, producing a set of 4 maps (ignoring Northern Scotland which was outside its marketing territory). Amoco donated part of the price of these maps to the Motor and Cycles Trades Benevolent Fund. The most recent known map is a single sheet from 1983, again by Bartholomew but also crediting Johnston & Bacon as originating the design in 1976. Only the card cover was specific to Amoco; the map inside is a stock issue at a generous scale of 1:625,000. The Amoco logo floats on a black background in line with the controlled background signs that it was trialling at its service stations in the early 1980s.

1978 Amoco atlas of Great Britain

Around 1972, Amoco also sold a 94 page hardback atlas of Britain (not illustrated). Measuring 275x200mm, it had blue cloth covers overprinted in gold with the newer Amoco logo and the title "motoring atlas"; it is not known if there would originally have been a printed dust cover. The atlas itself was a stock Geographia production with most maps at 8 miles to the inch, and enlarged area maps of main conurbations.

In 1978 it again published a Road Atlas of Great Britain, roughly A4 in size, but this time in a fawn faux leather cover with gold lettering. This edition was published by Bartholomew at 1:300,000 (approximately 4.7 miles to the inch) and had 128 pages plus index. It's not known if this atlas would have been sold through its service stations or used for promotional purposes.

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1964 Amoco map of Italy

The Amoco map of Italy shown left was produced in, or soon after, 1964 by Vallardi. It covers the whole country at 1:1,250,000, which leaves little space for additional features other than a panel advertising Amoco Super Permalube motor oil.

By 1967 it had moved to a 16 page atlas, prepared by Stampa Ofsa Casarile (Milano). At the foot of the cover a slogan advises that they offer an American experience of service for the Italian motorist.
1967 Image courtesy Richard Horwitz

1967 Amoco map atlas of Italy

It is possible that the small Belgian chain may have sold occasional titles. (Amoco's small Australian chain produced maps and they were one of the most consistent US issuers right up to 1980.)

Although not from Europe, follow this link to see The Amoco Map of Space Mysteries, a graphic map produced in 1958 for Amoco's US operation.

Maps: Adler

1969 Adler map of SW Deutschland

Adler was a German independent owned by Amoco noted for smart service stations and a diamond sign not unlike that of DX in shape; it grew rapidly from 50 sites in 1964 to the 396 sold to Elf in the 1976. Amoco may also have had a handful of stations under its own name in West Berlin. Adler maps of Germany can be found but are uncommon - the sectional map (left) of Südwestdeutschland dates from 1969, using cartography by Ravenstein at 1:400,000 and was one of 4 sections, each costing DM0,95. The map of West Germany's Rhein-Ruhr region (right) probably dates from the mid 1960s.

mid 1960s Adler map of Germany

Maps: Zenit

Zenit Italiana was established around 1952, when a small wholesaler called Fratelli Camagni decided to build a refinery in Cremona, Italy. This opened in 1954, and although they were mainly involved with heating oils and industrial fuel oils, they acquired a few small gasoline distributors in the area. In 1961/2 they were acquired by Amoco, so presumably the name disappeared soon after.

This medium format spiral bound atlas dates from 1958 and is very similar to ones produced in the 1950s for Agip and Aquila. It contains 22 sectional maps at 1:1,000,000 by Istituto Geografico de Agostini (IGDA) with information in Italian, English, French and German.
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1958 Zenit Atlas of Italy

Adler image courtesy Dave Leach (R); earliest UK image courtesy Jon Roma; 1967 Italy map, 1978 UK atlas and Zenit atlas courtesy Richard Horwitz

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Text and layout © Ian Byrne, 2000-14

All original copyrights in logos and map extracts and images are acknowledged and images are included on this site for identification purposes only.