Where Can You Buy a Tire for $11.90?! It's Not 'Where,' but 'When'

Bob Ulrich
Posted on March 22, 2018
Look at that sexy tread pattern!
Look at that sexy tread pattern!

I love it when I'm looking through an old magazine and find a tire advertisement. It's interesting in so many ways, from the tread pattern to who is selling the tire. However, the most fun is checking out the price of the tire.

In "The Detroit News" television program listings from Aug. 6-12, 1961 (hey, I like old TV shows; I'm a baby boomer), there is a clearance sale for discontinued tires, billed as "1960 models." The ad says, "Must be sold to make room for 1961 stock!" Now that's taking inventory turns seriously.

The tires in question? Kelly Safe Trac, size 6.70-15 "White Walls." The price for the "rayon tube-type" tire? $11.90 each! (Plus tax and the old tire.)

Of course, 14- and 15-inch nylon tube-type and tubeless were available at "slightly" higher prices.

The 6.70-15 bias is the equivalent of a 195/70R15 today. That is no longer a popular size, and there is no Kelly tire available in it (there is a 195/70R14, however). I did find a General Grabber HD highway all-season tire in size 195/70R15 Load Range C for $119.60 on the Tire Rack website.

The comparative applications are not apples to apples, but based on the inflation rate, $11.90 in 1961 would equal $99.12 today. That set of four Kelly Safe Tracs in 1961 compared to a set of Grabber HDs today would still be less expensive, $396.48 vs. $478.40.

The ad, by the way, was from Belle Tire Distributors Inc., one of the largest tire dealers in the country. Belle Tire is based in Allen Park, Mich., a suburb of Detroit, which explains its newspaper ad in "The Detroit News."

At the time, Belle Tire was the "headquarters for foreign and sports car tires, seconds-blemishes and take-offs," and could be reached by phone at TE 4-8660!

Related Topics: Belle Tire, consumer tire advertising, General Grabber HD, history, inflation rate, tire pricing

Bob Ulrich Editor
Comments ( 3 )
  • See all comments
  • Geary

     | about 5 months ago

    I was alive and working in the early 60's at a Sunoco station that was a Kelly Tire dealer. The pricing is correct and 6.50x13 was the cheapest tire you could by.

More Stories
The 2019 Porsche 911 GT3 R will make its customer racing debut this weekend in the iconic Falken Motorsport teal and blue colours.

Falken Motorsports Continues in the Fast Lane

After romping to a double victory in the last race of the VLN Endurance Championship, Falken Motorsports is now heading for the next highlight: The team of the Japanese tire manufacturer is the first customer team to provide a set of test tires for tests of the new Porsche 911 GT3 R on the Nürburgring race track.


CRC Industries and NAPA Partner to Support Service Men and Women

CRC Industries Inc. is partnering with the National Automotive Parts Association (NAPA Auto Parts) to support the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund (IFHF), a not-for-profit organization that serves United States military personnel suffering from traumatic brain injury (TBI) and post-traumatic stress (PTS).

Peter Derschang joins Leeds West Groups after serving as chief financial officer at Brakes Plus Corp.

Leeds West Groups Hires New CFO

Leeds West Groups (LWG) has hired Peter Derschang to serve as chief financial officer and a member of the advisory board of directors.

Earning one of these Automotive Lift Institute (ALI) gold certification labels is a little more challenging under the new edition of ANSI/ALI ALCTV now in effect.

ALI Strengthens Vehicle Lift Testing Standard

The Automotive Lift Institute’s (ALI) updated safety standard expands the third-party testing required for a vehicle lift to earn the organization’s gold certification label.

Be the First to Know

Get the latest news and most popular articles from MTD delivered straight to your inbox. Stay on top of the tire industry and don't miss a thing!