Supertest: A Sign From A Long Time Ago

I recently was able to locate a metal sign that I wanted to hang on my wall.  It was a “Supertest” sign, from a former gasoline chain in Canada, mostly in Ontario and Quebec.  The sign is shown below.

Supertest Sign

I was born on a farm in Shelburne, Ontario at the intersection of Highways 10, 24, and 89.  On that corner, which was known locally as “Wrigglesworth’s”, was a Supertest gas station run by the Wrigglesworth family.  When my Dad and I were working in the field and Dad felt like a treat, we went over the Wrigglesworth’s and had an Orange Crush, or a ginger ale, such as Pure Spring, Wilson’s, or Canada Dry.

This service station had a little restaurant and counter area where I could get a grilled cheese sandwich, but it was a rough, rather dirty place, fitting with a rural service station of that era.  However, I did not think that it was dirty and greasy at that time.  I thought that it was great place with engines and cars, where I could go with my Dad for a cold drink on a hot day.  This was a time when “characters” were still around, and frequently characters could be found in Wrigglesworth’s.  The stories I could tell…

Supertest was never a big chain, but they became somewhat famous as the sponsors, and owners I think, of the racing hydroplane, the “Miss Supertest” series.  There were a total of three Miss Supertests – Miss Supertest I, II, and III.  Miss Supertest won a major boat race in Detroit and then won the Harmsworth Trophy in 1959, 1960, and 1961.  She was the first non-USA boat to win the Harmsworth Trophy and the first to win it three times in a row.  The boat was never beaten in any race.  At one time, it was the fastest propeller powered boat in the world.  I can remember lining up to get a close look at her when she was on display at the Canadian National Exhibition in Toronto.  What a boat!  Beautiful wood, sleek design, and a huge engine.  I can’t remember what kind of engine it had, but it was powerful!  I remember that the driver’s name was Bob Hayward.  His name was written on the boat in white letters.  Miss Supertest made quite an impression on a little boy.

Supertest eventually disappeared in the 1970s, as it became part of the British Petroleum corporate world.  I moved away from Shelburne, the Wrigglesworth family died and/or moved away.  The corner has now become yet another characterless corner with a standard gas station, a pizza joint, and the local Beer Store.  However, I think the Wrigglesworths would be pleased that beer can now be bought at that location.

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