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Hagerty
Hagerty Employee

5 vintage winter tire ads to celebrate dashing through the snow | Hagerty Media

While it may be hard to believe in today's day and age, there once was a time when driving required more fine motor skills. A certain instinct and dexterity behind the wheel.
https://www.hagerty.com/media/automotive-history/5-vintage-winter-tire-ads-to-celebrate-dashing-thro...
77 REPLIES 77
drjim
Detailer

I used both studded and plain snow tires growing up in Illinois. After we moved to Colorado after a 35-year stint in SoCal, I decided I needed a set of Winter tires for my Grand Cherokee. Wound up with a set of Blizzaks, and was really impressed with how much better they were in the snow and wet than the Bridgestone Duellers I had on it.
I knew tire technology had vastly improved over the years, but was still surprised at how much difference a set of good "Winter" tires made.

And they don't drive you nuts on the highway like they used to!
dhomuth
Intermediate Driver

For some years, I have bought an extra set of wheels on which to mount winter tires. The dealer swaps winters for summers at no charge. I have settled on the Michelin X-Ice/Ice-X (I've seen both ways in ads) for winter use. Really great traction on snow and in rain. Run quiet on dry roads too. Superior in every way to studded tires -- which are still legal here in Oregon -- except for water on top of ice. I think of them as a form of trip insurance and a safety device.
RokemRonnie
Detailer

The Blizzaks I run on my Honda Fit have better dry grip than the all-season OEMs that came with the car. Of course, running winter tires gives me a great excuse to run performance summer tires the rest of the year. The changes that tires can make to a car's driving character can be dramatic.
gpsuya
Intermediate Driver

Re: "Town & Country tires are guaranteed to go through ice, mud, or snow, or Firestone pays the tow." Sure would have been fun back then to purposely try to get stuck. No good though if you were way out in the wilderness . No Cell phones!
Hymie60
Intermediate Driver

P/C police would short circuit now if a commercial with kids un-belted and standing on the front seat was shown. It’s a wonder we and our children survived the 50s, 60s and 70s .
drjim
Detailer

AND....we drank from garden hoses, rolled around in the dirt all day, rode bikes without helmets, and did everything that would give the Nanny State a stroke!

GRP_Photo
Instructor

I was born in 1948. I remember the polio epidemic and the lines to get vaccinated for that. I remember the girl in my class who had this really spacey voice because she was made deaf at an early age by measles. When some kid got the mumps back then, other people would drag their young boys over, hoping they would catch it, because mumps can kill when an adult catches it. I remember when any parent with sense added aftermarket seat belts to his car because the manufacturers would not install them. I remember when a 50 mph collision was almost invariably fatal.
And in later years, I remember the boy down the street who didn’t see the need for helmets and fell backwards off his skateboard. He died after years in a coma, bankrupting his parents in the process.
Anyone who makes fun of the “nanny state” is an imbecile.
GRP_Photo
Instructor

Many people didn't. The US mortality rate in 1950 was 9.649 per 1,000 population. In 2008, the rate was 8.124.
DT
Detailer

It's Gods plan. If we lived forever can you imagine how crowded it would be? Lighten up guys 🙂
avanti5010
Pit Crew

Some didn't.
Quincydubois
Intermediate Driver

Worst tires I ever owned. 1970. Firestone 500 raised letter Wide Ovals. Three of four blew out in 7000 miles. Remember those?
TimK
Detailer

Trial lawyers loved them.
Bunka
Intermediate Driver

I used to commute 64 miles to and another 64 miles back every day for work. No matter the time of year it was not unusual to stop and change a tire for a woman with flat Firestone 500 tire. My Father in law bought a set of "500"s and at least two of them blew out. When I buy a new car, as part of the deal if they have Firestones, I insist they swap them out for Michelins. If I remember right, and I don't trust my memory anymore, wasn't it around 1999 that here was a recall of Firestone tires due to delamination?
astirrett
New Driver

Article reminds me of when in the 60’s my parents owned a Vauxall station wagon for a short time in Ottawa, Canada, it was a terrible car in winter snow so we had a box of sand in the back. My brother and I enjoyed scrunched up in the back on the floor playing in our own personal sandbox with our dinky toys when out on family outings. Yup, no seatbelts but great memories.
TimeFixers
Pit Crew

Is that a stripe from an oil leak running down the middle of the first photo?
GRP_Photo
Instructor

No, that's the condensation from the crankcase ventilation downtube that was used before PCV valves became standard features. Back then, all motorcycle riders knew to avoid the center of the lane; there was an oil slick there on every road.
pcchuck
Pit Crew

Good grief !! Just last week that 1963 Firestone jingle popped into my head.... now, having heard it again... It'll never leave... !!
Bryan
Hagerty Employee

I feel your pain!!
cal333
Pit Crew

I grew up in a small rural Iowa town...deep winter snow was quite common...after a blizzard my father mounted tire chains to get about town...any speed over 25MPH had a broken chain link beating the heck out of a rear fender...when "going to the city" he took off the chains and put bags of sand in the trunk...this caused the headlights to illuminate the tops of trees rather than the road...oncoming cars were constantly flashing their lights indicating "turn off your brights"...when he turned on his bright lights in retaliation this started a war of flashing and dimming until they passed each other...he bought a used Frazer as a work car...the headlights seemed stuck on bright since stepping on the floor switch changed the radio station instead...he discovered that the Fraser headlight switch was the one closest to the clutch pedal...with tire chains on the Frazer it would plow snow like a modern SUV until melting snow under the hood shorted out the ignition system...I learned to drive in that Frazer...fond memories...
hyperv6
Gearhead

I really mis the artistic ads if the 59’s and 6o’s. I used to. The them out of old Saturday Evening Post magazines I would find in used book stores.

Tires have come a long way. Most all season tires are better than any of the old bias snow tires of the time. I laugh now how many today think you need AWD to get anywhere and RWD is impossible to get through the snow.

Well we made it. Yes not as easy but very possible to live with RWD and Posi.
spoom
Technician

Amen, I have a year's set of 1954 Popular Mechanics, that I like to sit down and peruse now and then. Articles like, "build a 3 bedroom house out of plywood, in a weekend, for under $100" (doesn't include the $45 Stanley jigsaw) or new, "Chrysler concept car will float and fly at over 100 miles an hour". Still waiting for my x-ray specs and Rosicrucian secrets of the universe pamphlet, I'm starting to think the addresses are no longer relevant. Likewise the "turn your old Gravely into a street legal Jeep kit"... 

Jimb1967
New Driver

In 1965 we lived in upstate New York York. My dad drove a Saab 850 GT fitted with 4 Pirelli Inverno snow tires. It was not uncommon for us to pass snow plows going up hills with that combination. We only ever had a tough time once when the snow was so deep it was collecting under the car and lifting it off the ground. After backing up, we were able to plow through and keep on going. That's before anyone had ever heard of Pirelli or front wheel drive fiftee that matter.
jhall4945
New Driver

Anyone else have a deja vu moment when the woman shifts gears in the Gulf commercial? My mother had a '67 Impala through the mid '70's and I must have seen that same shifting of gears, from the same angle (if I was lucky to have the front seat!), hundreds of times. Wasn't too fond of driving this car on weekends (it rode like a boat) but it did have a cb radio!
3pedals
Pit Crew

All back in the day when people knew how to drive. No ABS, traction control, all wheel drive. We had rear wheel drive, drum brakes and manual trans. No cell phones or GPS to distract us. Lived in Northern IL and never got stuck. They used to say you can't drive a Vette in the winter, never got it stuck. Now I see cars in the ditch even when it's raining let alone snow.
spoom
Technician

People who never got stuck were just slackers 😉

If your N. IL included the Waukegan area, remember the time that Green Bay Road (131) got so drifted in between 173 and the State line that 2 semis were trapped IN the southbound lane for 4-5 days before they could be extracted and the road plowed & reopened? I had a '76 Celica coupe with retread Firestone snow tires and two 60 or 80lb (I forget) bags of Morton water softener salt pellets in the trunk to get to work on 3rd shift, after the plows were pulled for the night, uphill both ways. ☺ 

spoom
Technician

those snow tires were on all 4 corners, and had a tread so aggressive they also doubled as an audio warning to deer.

Al
Intermediate Driver

I still have a set of Gulf Crown Mini tires on my 74 Beetle
Z4Dug
New Driver

As a teenager I remember having winter rears on my 72 Beetle. Right was a different one than the left as they had a deal on leftovers at Canadian Tire...lol
TimK
Detailer

I moved to where we don't need snow tires. I remember telling people I keep my snow brush in the car to occasionally take out and show people and if anybody knows what it is, I haven't moved far enough south.
I remember the Firestone ad with the song. And the Goodyear and Sears ads touting the studs bring back memories of grooves in pavement and sore hands because I was a fleet mechanic in the early 70s and we studded our own tires using a hand held pneumatic stud gun. Do that for several hours straight daily, your hand was extremely sore between your thumb and forefinger and you even developed callouses there. The Gulf tire ad was effective by mounting their tires on the stuck Chevy and having it effortlessly start moving from the same spot. I also noticed the Chevy had posi-traction which helped. Did you notice the kids weren't buckled in with their faces pressed against the side window when the lady was able to drive? How did we ever survive those days?
Another tire ad I remember was Armstrong Tires GRR-ip The Road.
Pete
Pit Crew

Most interesting to me is the contrast of these commercials compared to modern commercials. These commercials actually explained the features of the products and showed them in action. Today's commercials are all about image. Car commercials show young, well-heeled drivers behind the wheel - not a single mention of any feature. The young wife runs up to the black Chevy pickup and says "I love it." Subaru talks about "love." It's just a pet peeve of mine.
Debx2
Intermediate Driver

Many, many years ago I did a presentation in a college speech class on old advertising vs new.
You are correct, older ads have much more information and explanation. My take away on this is that most of the products in older ads were new ideas being introduced to the public so they required more educational information.
Today the buying public knows what a tire is but not much else and any explanation of details would be lost on all but a few of us.
Zephyr
Instructor

Commercials have changed because there is so much product parity now that there is very little difference between brands of soap, tires, cars, etc., so they have to get your attention with something other than the product itself. Also pretty sure the pick-up in the commercial is blue - blue and red vehicles to match the blue and red watches that she bought.
Rust-aholic
Pit Crew

Ok its the last day of an awful year so why not. Any time I hear somebody complaining about the PC police or nanny state I think what a whiner! Who cares! This comes from someone who got speed wobbles on a skate board while holding on to the back of a station wagon going 30 mph, it hurt, brand new blue jeans had holes and no sympathy from my mom she was too busy giving grief about the jeans. I was around 14 and I was a dummy! I could of used a helmet and all the padding I could find.
DT
Detailer

And what does that have to do with snow tires ??
bechap
Pit Crew

I still remember, many years ago, a guy where I worked couldn't figure out why his studded snow tires were not helping at all in the packed snow. He was driving an Oldsmobile Toranado (front wheel drive) and ...yup, he had the studded tires on the back.
acooper529
Intermediate Driver

Seeing those close up pictures reminded me of installing studs in new snow tires as an option in the late 60's-early 70's. The pneumatic gun looked like a small air drill on an air line. It would destroy your hands from the pressure required to hold it down to fire the studs into the pre-made holes in the tire. The snow tires were sold w/o studs and could be "upgraded" to studs at an additional cost.
CarciergeGlenn
Intermediate Driver

Dick Tufeld is a voice very familiar to everyone in my generation. He voiced Robot in Lost in Space (I'm talking about the 1963-1966 TV show here not the later movie).

I had one of the earliest sets of all-season radial tires in 1982, made by an obscure US company called Mohawk. I was in Arkansas, in college, but there was occasional snow in the Ozarks. They were so incredibly "soft" (in terms of rubber compound) they only lasted 20,000 miles though.

I've owned Nokian Hakapallittas within the last 10-12 years and yeah, they were phenomenal in Traverse City Michigan winter weather. Full snow tires.
tahend
Detailer

No, these commercials don't make it to Dallas.
40Ford
Detailer

Or in the Los Angeles area.
Edwardsg
Intermediate Driver

Living in Minnesota, the stick shift was a blessing. Second gear could get you going many times when first was an ice maker.
And your first car with positraction made you wonder why it was not a standard feature. Until you realized how many cars you looked at found trees and poles with both rear quarter panels. There was a downside to being too confident.
When I first started driving, my dad had a 1966 Cadillac with posi. I remember deer hunting one time going down an old logging road. Without posi, it might still be in the middle of the forest.

With an automatic, and with posi, how many remember a light touch of the brakes would be helpful? Many times both wheels would spin, allowing you to get moving.

That Town and Country ad was famous. Although I do remember my dad and I helping the neighbor across the street get up his drive. Big old Ford station wagon.
No one would dare run an ad like that today - cell phones would make it way too easy to make a claim.
Debx2
Intermediate Driver

In the early ‘80s there were three fairly severe winters in a row here in SW Idaho. During that time we had a country daily paper route of 167mi, 400 papers on Sundays.
One Sunday we were blowing through drifts higher than the hood of our Corolla!
One year we had Michelin studs on all four corners. One year we had all seasons on the front, studs on the rear. The last winter we had all seasons on all four and did not notice an appreciable difference in traction even on ice.
With all season tread designs and rubber compounds tires have come a long way since the early days.
Never bought another snow tire and run all seasons on all our daily drivers year round with out an issue ever since. We get 65-75k miles per set on average. (I do carry chains but mostly for weight as we have never installed them).
Gmondo
Pit Crew

I love the two kids in the Gulf commercial. Casually sitting in the front seat, not buckled up and smiling out the window backwards! Safe tires? Sure (LOL)!
Forester
Pit Crew

I had a ford station wagon back in the day that I put studded big lug snow tires on. It would motor thru Ice and snow in the Sierras. I also had a Honda Civic that I put studded M/S tires on. It was amazing how it plowed thru the snow and ice. Best two wheel drive snow car I ever owned. At work we had Dodge Power wagons that we would chain up all 4 wheels on and go deep into the Sierra mountains to do logging. Nothing stopped that truck.
jjw
Intermediate Driver

Gotta like the two little kids standing up on the front seat in the Gulf tire commercial... That's what I was doing in the early '60s 😉

DublD
Intermediate Driver

When i was 17, I jumped into my 65 Impala wagon with the 283, 2 spd slush box and went for a drive in a snow storm. The Canadian Tire 'Mad Dawg' snow tires were awesome. Once the drifts got higher than the hood, i turned around in an open spot and returned home. Pretty stupid really, no cellphone, no winter coat, no gloves. Could have turned out badly.
ROBBO99
Intermediate Driver

I lived in no. illinois and would use studs in winter for better traction . My all time great tire ad growing up was Firestone . " Where the rubber meets the road "
GEORGEG
New Driver

NOTHING stops on glare ice.
I wonder how many studs that Mustang had in each tire.
The Gulf ad was neat back then all the oil company's marketed there own brand of tires and battery's .
I wonder how many tows Firestone paid for!!
ESB19SS
Pit Crew

My first winter "excursion". BFG Silvertown Trailmakers on a 57 Buick Estate Wagon.
The "Old Man": Go ahead, "ROCK IT"!
terryjudd
Intermediate Driver

Here’s a winter tire fact— the tungsten carbide tire studs on most studded winter tires were manufactured by Studebaker Corp., even after it stopped producing automobiles in 1966. As part of its diversification program to financially bolster the company with non-automotive divisions, Studebaker in 1963 obtained the exclusive U.S. license to manufacture tungsten carbide tires studs through its newly formed StudeGrip Division. For years, Studebaker was the largest producer of tire studs in the United States, churning out close to 300 million a year well into the late ‘60s.