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The Downey and Son Garage Revisited

Rich3

Here’s another look at the Downey and Son Garage showing an additional service that they offered; on-site tire recapping. Severe rationing of new tires during the Second World War created a strong demand for the recapping of old casings and it appears that they continued the practice into the post war years. Retreading is seldom seen today except on tires intended for trucks and heavy equipment, and then it’s usually done at large, centralized facilities rather than small operations like this one.

The technician on the left is operating a buffer that removed the remnants of the old tread in order to prepare the casing. On the right we see a finished tire being removed from the mold after a new tread band has been bonded to it. Surprisingly, a tire service business existed at 15th Avenue and Kingsway as recently as last year and we have to wonder if it’s connected to the garage in our photos today. You’ll find our earlier photos of Downey and Son’s here along with many other posts about service stations on The Old Motor. Photos courtesy of the City of Vancouver.

Rich4

6 responses to “The Downey and Son Garage Revisited

  1. I remember that my Dad had a 42 Dodge Sedanette during WW II. It had recap tires on it and we had flat tires almost everyday. He finally resolved that by getting a set of Jeep tires through a military connection that he had. Those tires sure looked funny on that Dodge, but resolved the flat tire concern. My Dad was a physician and needed his vehicle to make house call, go to the hospital, and his office.

  2. David, when I was a kid in the sixties, recaps were still very common. A lot of us used them on our daily drivers, but were always scared of them as they seemed to fail pretty often. Still, a company in Tampa called “Ivey’s” sold recap cheater slicks that seemingly everyone ran on the cars we drag raced and swore by them. Funny that we were so cautious about street driving, but would race at high speeds with basically the same technology.

    • Bob, I had good luck with the recaps I used in the seventies on the streets. I suppose the success ratio had a lot to do with the bond to the tire carcass that the re-capper was able to establish with the new tread.

  3. There used to be a tire place in Tampa near 13th St.and Kennedy that had a sign that said “We don’t “cook” your tires” whatever that meant. It was there till the early 2000s

    • Chris: Perhaps this is a reference to the “hot-patch” method of tube repair in which the rubber patch is sealed to the tube with burning substance! I’m not sure that a hot patch was cheaper than a “cold patch” which was just an adhesive.

  4. It’s one of the oddities of the re-capping industry that the major equipment for it (Bandag) is German but Germans don’t allow them on their Autobahn. and frankly, if you have been dodging tire carcasses on the interstate, you can appreciate their viewpoint. How many wrecks in a year are caused by dodging carcases on the highway?

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