This seems too simple but could you be misreading "automobile" as "auto gear"?
Given that the "i" in automobile takes about half a letter space the total length of
"automobile" and "auto gear" should be about the same. But I will try to look through
Phil Hastings' B&M photos hoping for a more broadside view of cars that I know
appear in some and let you know what is found.
My best, Don Valentine