Mod! Minit Man Car Wash

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I’ve long admired this car wash at 1200 E. Holt Ave. in Pomona. That sign! As you can see, it’s bigger than even the red pickup truck. When you’re driving under the sign, it looks like a giant yellow tennis court overhead. The name is Minit Man. The vertical pylons, a common car wash touch in the 1960s-70s, add a futuristic touch. Have you ever washed your car there? I haven’t — I go to the do-it-yourself places — but maybe I should.

Charles Phoenix’s “Cruising the Pomona Valley 1930 Thru 1970” dates the car wash to 1960 and writes: “Decorated and identified with giant spikes, spires and flags, the wash and wax drive-thrus of the ’50s and ’60s celebrated the ritual of auto beautification and the constant parade of cars in sky-high style.”

This car wash is one of 10 notable midcentury Pomona Valley landmarks listed in the back of Alan Hess’ “Googie Redux,” the impetus for this series of blog posts.

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  • DebB

    Isn’t it odd how we can drive past something week after week, year after year, knowing it’s there but never really seeing it? I go by that car wash all the time, but it takes someone like you or Charles Phoenix to make me appreciate the style, the history. My car is filthy – maybe I’ll stop by there!

    • davidallen909

      Thanks, Deb. There are a lot of neat older buildings on Holt and Mission that have seen better days and yet have flair if you take the time to look.

    • Randall V

      A few of the old places that come to mind are the Bowlium –albeit a new sign out front– and the Mission Tiki Drive-In at the corner of Mission and Ramona. Our friend and fellow blogger, David Allen, even once wrote a blog on the Bowlium, you can read it here:

      • davidallen909

        The Bowlium made Alan Hess’ list and so it will show up on this blog, again, at some point.

  • Ramona

    I wonder if they use recycled water? In the current drought situation I have stopped washing my car and make due with a wipe-off now and again. When it gets unbearable, I’ll get it washed locally where recycled water is used. (So they say/)

    • davidallen909

      That’s environmentally responsible of you, Ramona.

      • DebB

        Yay! Ramona just gave me a good excuse for my filthy car!

        • Ramona

          You betcha, DebB. I consider my dirty car as a badge of honor and you should, too.
          I’m tempted to scrawl,” It’s the drought, stupid!” in the grunge on the door (I keep the glass clean for safety’s sake) but I guess that’s overkill.
          My alter-ego, Maxine would do exactly that. She also yells “Shame on you!” – just inside my head, mind you – when she sees someone washing their car or driveway.

  • sonofsmog

    My brother turned me on to that spot. They do a much better job than the places I had been going (I’m looking at you Mountain View and Foothill car wash) for a much better price.