The little gas station across the street from my Idaho college (go Coyotes!) catered to us impecunious students. So at the beginning of each fall semester, I'd buy 6 retread tires for my '54 Chevy. 4 "regular" tread, 2 snow tread with walnut shells impregnated in the rubber. At the first snowfall, the snow treads went on the back wheels (with the summer tires in the trunk for extra weight). Christmas breaks found me driving the 500 miles up to home in N. Idaho, then the same distance back, often through blizzards, deep snow and snowstorms. Come spring, the front tires were rotated to the back, the tires in the trunk put on the front and the snow treads left at the shop for retreading. Back to N. Idaho and the Sunshine silver mine. Next fall semester, repeat. I think summer treads were $12 ea., walnut snow treads $15 (well, it was the early '60s).
Funny but All wheel and 4 wheel are very popular in Northern Minnesota. Despite that I often seen vehicle so equipped in the ditches or spinning out of control. I drive a rear wheel drive 2008 Mercedes with traction control and 4 Pirelli snow tires and do just fine in snow and Ice. Years ago my wife was riding on a 2 lane curving highway in a snowstorm. The driver said “don’t worry I’ve got 4 wheel drive seconds before flying off the road and upside down in the ditch hanging from their seatbelts with spilled coffee all over. I drove down and picked the two women up and brought them home shaken but safe.
I hear you Volvo...Back in the late 80's when suv's we're starting to become popular and all those people thought they could get through anything. I used to take the backroads home through the hills of southwestern Ct. to avoid the traffic. I had a late 70's Chevy Malibu with rear wheel drive and a good set of snows ( probably Firestones). The suv's we're in the ditches, the other awd cars on the side of the road.. I would just pass all.. occasionally letting the back swing to and fro, but I got through anything with that car. Best car I ever had in the snow.
Studded tires were the greatest before being banned in the 70s in most states. If you had a manual, it was the only way to go. There used to be some timed events in Wisconsin on frozen lakes that had classes for RWD, AWD, plain tires and studded tires. Real difference between domestic tires, euro winter rubber and studded. Was an eye opener before all the electronic traction controls. Hot setup for domestic RWD was automatic trans and using the brakes to control wheel spin. Only time back in the day I can say I enjoyed having an AT and used both feet! Those rear engined cars like Bugs and a Simca were close to the FWD Euros and dominated specially with studs. Have carbide studded grippers for my shoes on those glare ice days. Still the best!
Back in the early 60's my uncle used to race his Bugeye Sprite on frozen lakes all over Wisconsin & Minnesota with studded tires. They would just plow out a course with lots of hairpin turns & short straights. What a blast. Traction control back in those days was the skill of the driver.
Many years ago a company in Bridgeport Connecticut started re-capping tires with walnut shells mixed into the rubber, the resulting tires got quite a reputation. Now Toyo Tires is using this technology in it's winter tires, some writers have suggeted Toyo is 'nuts' to go in this direction (:D those who know their history know better). The Bridgeport company is Major Tire, now their main business is recapping postal vehicle tires, with a bunch of ice racing tires and tire-truing (shaving) mixed-in. Great fellows who helped by racing effort quite a bit! LD71 😄
Back in the early '50's we lived next door to a tire recapper who would mix pecan shells in his winter recaps - they seemed to work well. His wife became quite upset with him when he sold the tires off of her car to a customer. He was in the doghouse for a long time but I think he lived through it.
In 1969 the company I was working for provided gas & tires to cover the expense of going from plant to plant across the city of Rochester, NY. They okayed the purchase of a pair of winter tires at the local Goodyear store & I chose the wide oval, studded tires for my 62 Chevy Bel Air. On icy roads when everyone else was in the ditch, I kept rolling. Now this last part is hard to believe but after that winter I took them off, stored them & basically forgot about them. When the rear tires on my Ariens garden tractor became weather cracked & no longer held air, I found a set of Ford rims that would bolt on the tractor & I mounted those old tires (with tubes) & they worked great. They look way cool too on that little tractor.
In 1956, as a high school senior, I had a 1928 Graham one ton truck with cast iron spoke wheels with 7:50-20 tires My buddies and I would salvage lengths of broken bull line (cable) at log landings in the Siskiyous, and wrap it around the rear wheels in lieu of chains or snow tires, toss a load of wood on the back and go most anywhere we desired in up to two feet of snow. At night, after school, we would go over to highway 99 (I-5), build a fire in the borrow pit of old tires, and put chains on cars for folks, from $1.00 to $4.00 per car, depending on make and model.
Slightly off topic but possibly beneficial to some who are new to winter driving.
Tires are half of the car.. 2 identical cars.. 2 different tires... Northern Michigan...
My 2010 Fard Taurus AWD came with Goodyear something or others and they were great. I looked them up on Tire Rack and saw an excellent bright green score for winter. I used to take movies of hard acceleration and braking on snow and ice.. perfectly straight. I described it as being like riding on the back of a cat.
The 2015 Taurus AWD came with Goodyear very similar model name and I was pleased... until it started getting squirrely where the 10 never did. Immediately checked them on Tire Rack and saw low scores in orange.
Recently replaced the tires with Tire Rack’s best recommendation... Vredestein.. AMAZING... It is just as good as the other car now.
I bought a new MG roadster with wire wheels in 1967 and used it as my daily driver for 13 years. I put studded snow tires on the rear wheels and it took me through the Colorado winters without a problem. I still have the car but I gave the wheels with the snow tires still mounted to my son in law last year.
Where is the small print at the bottom of the screen that tells us that the ad was produced with 'a professional driver on a closed course? Do not attempt.' AWD and 4WD may go better in the snow but those drivers forget that they stop the same as any other car. Just drive along the road to the ski hill and see what kind of vehicles are in the ditch.
don't remember that add but I do remember "the Firestone song". A lill young may B? The Goodyear - I remember the intro of the "spiked tire" 14 years old by this time. Same for the Gulf. Are they even around any more. But the stations had their own products then. Sears still sells tires but the social changes form my 19th year till taday are evident. Mommie & kids stuck and with a smile? Cuz daddy, the one that can buy tires sees - they're safe w/Dyna glass, I think I even remember that model name of the brand. Biased tire till the '70s, radial later, and steel belted to follow. At least I didn't start in the leather tire days! ;^ )
It’s so true about driving back in the day requiring more fine motor skills...I always say put todays average drivers behind the wheel of vehicles from the early 70s on back....and they’d all be killed in accidents....But then that might be better for those of us who truly like to drive, rather than those that just view it as a necessary evil!
What's scary today is that almost everyone has 4 wheel drive and ABS and think no matter what tire they have they can drive like they want, when cars were RWD we knew the value of a good tire and were taught how to steer into skids. Cars and tires may be safer today but the drivers certainly aren't.
I tell my kids all the time "just because you have 4WD or AWD and can take off easier than others when you hit the brakes you're just like everyone else" something to live by. They never would've survived the 70s.
I remember when studded tires came out when I was a lad in Grand Rapids, Michigan, deep in the snow belt. They were great on the cars, including our Fury III wagon, through the endless days of snow and ice. But they absolutely destroyed the freeways. I96 had grooves worn right into the concrete, the studs were eventually banned and godzillions spent repaving the freeways.