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When were radial tires first used n the USA?

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  • When were radial tires first used n the USA?

    I heard one time that the US manufacturers were not allowed to put radials on new production cars back in the early 60's. Any truth to that or bs?

  • #2
    When I got my GT Hawk in '67, the first thing I did was put European Michelin Radials on it (195-15-not P metric but 82 series profile-much larger). This resulted in the local Studebaker Driver's Club in which I was a member, to ban me and my car as to them it looked as though I had flat tires. I never went back.
    Bill
    PS: To specifically answer your question, I believe it was approx 1972-3 on GM's models-the tires were called "TPC" and were mostly produced by Uniroyal (Formerly US Royal) In 1973 GM offered "Radial Tuned Suspension" on some of Pontiac Grand Prix, Grand Ams etc. and the suspension/ steering was radically revised to take full advantage of these tires. Drive a 1972 Cutlass vs a 1974-no comparison.

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    • #3
      Where in the world did you ever hear that, Nels? (Oh, I know; the internet!)

      Seriously; I've not heard of that, but "never say never," of course.

      The first reference to Factory-Installed, Steel-Belted Radial Tires I can find in a 10-minute search were on the 1972 Lincoln; Michelin. Possibly 1971 Lincoln, too, although I can't confirm that.

      Some GMs had them for 1973; Corvette and Cadillac, specifically. BP
      We've got to quit saying, "How stupid can you be?" Too many people are taking it as a challenge.

      Ayn Rand:
      "You can avoid reality, but you cannot avoid the consequences of avoiding reality."

      G. K. Chesterton: This triangle of truisms, of father, mother, and child, cannot be destroyed; it can only destroy those civilizations which disregard it.

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      • #4
        My Uncle had a '66 Chrysler Newport that he bought new and though it wasn't available with radial tires when new, he soon put them on. I don't recall the exact year this happened but it had to be in the late 1960s. He really liked them. One of the tires gave him trouble after a long time, when it was well worn, and Michelin gave him full credit for a new one.

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        • #5
          My dad had a 1970 Lincoln and it came with bias-belted tires. Later he bought a '76 Mark IV and it came equipped with Michelin radials. GM didn't begin equipping Corvettes with radials until 1973. I began selling tires in '74 and while we carried radial tires, we didn't sell that many of them compared to bias and bias belted. It was until car makers began making radial tires standard across the board before radial tires sales really took off. Chrysler waited some time before equipping their cars with anything but bias-belted...they allegedly maintained radial tires and their torsion-bar suspensions were incompatible. True or not...lots of people spread that.
          Poet...Mystic...Soldier of Fortune. As always...self-absorbed, adversarial, cocky and in general a malcontent.

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          • #6
            My dad had a 1966 Ford LTD. It did not come with radials, but within the first year he put Dunlop (fabric belt) radials on it. Going through corners on twisty two lane blacktops was strange - it would squooge to the outside (maybe just the driver's butt dyno), then hang in there for all it was worth. Made the woven-pantyhose seat upholstery they used that year feel VERY slippery
            sigpic
            JohnP, driving & reviving
            60 Lark & 58 Scotsman 4dr

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            • #7
              In the early years of belted tires many were made with rayon belts. Rayon is a very strong fabric but it's water soluble. If moisture gets into the inside of the tires the rayon starts deteriorating. It was eventually done away with as tire material and replaced by steel cord belts and in some cases, aramid belted material, which is the generic base of Kevlar, though not bullet resistant. We sold aramid belted tires and they were excellent, though more expensive. I'm not aware of any aramid tires still being made...a shame as it made for excellent tires. Maybe the technology for steel belts has gotten to the point where it's superior now.
              Poet...Mystic...Soldier of Fortune. As always...self-absorbed, adversarial, cocky and in general a malcontent.

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              • #8
                "Chrysler waited some time before equipping their cars with anything but bias-belted...they allegedly maintained radial tires and their torsion-bar suspensions were incompatible."

                I'm pretty sure that the owner's manual on my folks 1970 Fury III, recommended against radials but did not say exactly why.

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                • #9
                  Here's one take -
                  http://www.michelinman.com/about-us/...have-been.page

                  Isn't the internet wonderfull...

                  Mike

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                  • #10
                    Never heard of that, Nels, but I DO remember my neighbor up the road buying a brand new 1968 Ford LTD in the fall of 1967 with a set of Michelin radials. I mentioned her car before here: http://forum.studebakerdriversclub.c...highlight=1971

                    Craig

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by BobPalma View Post
                      Possibly 1971 Lincoln, too, although I can't confirm that.

                      Some GMs had them for 1973; Corvette and Cadillac, specifically.
                      See the link in my post just above where I scanned a 1971 Lincoln brochure with the radial tires.

                      Remember the little plastic emblem on the dash of some Pontiacs reminded one had 'Radial Tuned Suspension'?

                      Craig

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by 8E45E View Post
                        Never heard of that, Nels, but I DO remember my neighbor up the road buying a brand new 1968 Ford LTD in the fall of 1967 with a set of Michelin radials. I mentioned her car before here: http://forum.studebakerdriversclub.c...highlight=1971

                        Craig
                        Craig; those would certainly have to have been dealer installed...or, perhaps for some reason, Canadian production got standard-equipment radials years before U.S. production. But I doubt that unless you confirm otherwise. BP
                        We've got to quit saying, "How stupid can you be?" Too many people are taking it as a challenge.

                        Ayn Rand:
                        "You can avoid reality, but you cannot avoid the consequences of avoiding reality."

                        G. K. Chesterton: This triangle of truisms, of father, mother, and child, cannot be destroyed; it can only destroy those civilizations which disregard it.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by BobPalma View Post
                          Craig; those would certainly have to have been dealer installed...or, perhaps for some reason, Canadian production got standard-equipment radials years before U.S. production. But I doubt that unless you confirm otherwise. BP
                          Bob, they no doubt could have been dealer-installed. What I do know was a), they were on the car upon delivery to her at the dealer, and not installed 'a few weeks later', and b), they were definitely NOT 'standard equipment' on an LTD for that year as she told me (and all the rest of the neighbors gathered around) that she paid 'big money' for them, and did not hesitate to show all of us her new radial tires on that car. For the record, it was a fully-loaded four-door hardtop, gold with black vinyl top and black interior, so the car was not exactly a 'low-budget' car for the time.

                          (I feel I am really dating myself here!! I don't think anyone now gathers around a neighbor anymore when he or she drives up in their brand new car!)

                          Craig
                          Last edited by 8E45E; 08-13-2014, 01:20 PM.

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                          • #14
                            The way that I remember it -
                            The US tire companies were unable to convert to radial production all at once for the quantities needed for new car production. The tire companies pressured the car companies to stay with bias tires for a while longer. The compromise was the bias-belted tires. Of course, eventually the tire companies converted their manufacturing operations.

                            I bought a new 1966 Dodge Charger. When it was near new, I put a set of Michelins on it. At that time, people would stop me and tell me that I had a flat tire. I also had Michelins on my 1968 Buick Riviera GS.
                            Gary L.
                            Wappinger, NY

                            SDC member since 1968
                            Studebaker enthusiast much longer

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                            • #15
                              American tire manufacturers had trouble mastering the steel belts. The tread would seperate. Michelin had a trick for better vulcanization to the steel, they brass plated the belts and it worked better.
                              Bez Auto Alchemy
                              573-318-8948
                              http://bezautoalchemy.com


                              "Don't believe every internet quote" Abe Lincoln

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