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The Tires Of May 1978 - Trail's End

Posted in Features on January 10, 2014 Comment (0)
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Photographers: Four Wheeler Archives

This issue of Four Wheeler has included a big emphasis on tires. While thumbing through the May 1978 issue of Four Wheeler, we were fascinated by some of the advertisements for the tires of the era. In the truck world, sizes were beginning to get larger and radial tires had yet to gain traction (no pun intended). Of course, what was large then isn’t large now, and radial tires are now the norm. Heck, there was even an ad for a paddle tire, which could be custom grooved by the manufacturer. This is some of what buyers in 1978 had to choose from.

Goodyear Tracker A-T
Goodyear hyped its Tracker A-T by detailing a story about the 1860’s Texas-to-Kansas Chisholm Trail, and how the company set out to find a part of the trail while driving a Jeep shod with Tracker A-T tires. Details of the trip were surprisingly minimal, but included info saying that the triple-tempered polyester cord body A-Ts “aggressive tread ran smoothly and quietly over the pavement, yet they were tough enough to dig in and keep us rolling over potholes, boulders and pulling through powder-soft sand.” Interestingly, the brand-new ’78 International Scout SSII that was road-tested in the same issue was shod from the factory with Tracker A-T tires.

Dick Cepek Super Wide Multi-Paddle Tire
This tire had 48 paddles arranged in three different heights and thicknesses. Designed for high-horsepower machines, the tires were touted as being available in new sizes of 21.5 inches in width for 15- and 16-inch wheels. Dick Cepek could also custom groove ‘em for you. For $12 you could get the “Play Groove,” for $12 you could get the “Stagger Groove,” and for $25 you could get the sand-only “Competition Groove.” Insert “groovy” joke here.

Western Auto Sand Blaster
This tire was called the Sand Blaster, but apparently it was good at more than just sand. According to the ad, it was also good at Baja, mountains, hills, mud, and ditches. Oh, and “trail humpin’.” Western Auto said the computer-designed tire was “smooth and quiet on the flat and bulldog-tough in the boonies, with unique self-cleaning pyramid lugs for winning, not spinning.” For just $39.95 you could take home a 7.75-15 tire.

Formula Desert Dog
Formula Tires didn’t waste words in its ad, which showed a desert panorama and a headline that made you want to let the Dogs run. The ad touted the Desert Dog (“Best all-around off-road traction”), Desert Dog PCV (“On-road off-road mileage king”), and the Desert Dog Xtra (“The ultimate gripper”). Formula says these tires would get you through rocks, sand, wet stuff, soft stuff, and rough stuff, “Yet give you the long mileage you want, too.”

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