What were the Auto Service Shop Bear Wheel Alignment signs?

Back in the 60’s and 70’s it seemed like all the small auto service shops had this Bear logo on a sign. I can recall seeing it in many towns and in different states.

It seems to be advertising wheel alignments. Was it the brand name of the front end alignment equipment? Or was it a franchise chain of auto service shops? From what I remember these were small independently owned auto service shops.

I’ve wondered about this for years. The Bear signs seemed to disappear sometime in the 1970’s. Whats the story behind this bear?
heres three vintage examples

painted on a brick building

porcelain signs



heres two Bear manuals. I’m starting to think Bear was the wheel alignment equipment that the shops used. I just wonder why it disappeared in the 70’s.


Ok, I found my answer. It was the wheel alignment equipment the shop used.

Gosh this brings back memories from when I was a kid.

As soon as I read the thread title I could picture the bear. Cool.

I would also suspect that Bear started to lose market share to Hunter during that time period. My impression was that Hunter alignment machines were superior in design, but they didn’t have cool signs to put up.

Or they figured people wouldn’t go to a place that’s pointing a gun at you. :smiley:

They could have had a sign of them hunting the bear! :smiley:


The bear balancers were capable of very precise balancing. The owner of the shop I went to would stick a folded piece of paper in the tread. If that didn’t move the tire hey would rebalance it. You could get tires balanced at high speeds and he’d check it at different speeds to see if anything changed.

I suppose a modern computer driven balancer is capable of doing as good a job but I haven’t been to a shop willing to spend any time on it.

By the 1970s, most of the Bears had started doing drugs, and followed the Grateful Dead around on tour.

Finding the old Phoenix News Times article last night was a lucky break. I was at a dead end trying to get any history on the Wheel Alignment Bear.

I had no idea the bear dated back into the 1920’s.

Yes, the Grateful Dead bears are grateful ripoffs of the wheel alignment Bears. Apparently, there is no effort to defend the old trademark. There’s an article somewhere about it.

I just noticed alignment is spelled alinement on these vintage signs. :wink:

I guess they couldn’t spell in the 40’s and 50’s.

The Hunter Light-A-line.

I learned on a combo of bear and hunter machines

This discussion also reminds me of the old Moon Eyes logo, for Moon brand of auto care products (wax, polish, stuff like that).

Not sure if they’re the same company, but this immediately made me think of these godawful, proto-rap singing, 70s TV commercials…


There was a shop in my town that had the bear logo on the outside of the building until at least the late 90s.

Who the hell wants their wheels balanced or aligned by a godless killing machine anyway?