An Entertaining & Informative Vintage Automobile Internet Magazine

An early Goodyear Tire Company truck

This photo was sent in with others that appear to be involved with the Goodyear Tire Companies “Wingfoot Express” pneumatic tire promotion involving Packard trucks in 1917. The exact role of this early-teens truck which is came to us identified as a GMC in unknown. Can any of our readers tell us more about this truck, and was a local service truck or was it involved in the bigger tire promotion? Photo courtesy of Bob Zimmerman.

One response to “An early Goodyear Tire Company truck

  1. The truck appears to be a 1908 – 1911 Reliance which had not been renamed GMC yet although the brand was already a part of that corporation. The vented engine cover is missing below the driver’s seat probably in an effort to provide better engine cooling. A view of a similar Reliance can be seen at the following link.

    digitalcollections dot detroitpubliclibrary dot org/islandora/object/islandora%3A176184

    Goodyear’s description of the many different journeys undertaken by the Wingfoot Express vehicles indicates that they were all Packard, White, and Mack trucks. The presence of solid rubber tires on the rear wheels would also seem to indicate that this trucks did not take part in any of the trips. Photos of the trucks on the treks show pneumatic tires on all axles. On the original “Akron to Boston” trip the truck was accompanied by two support automobiles.

    The first of the Wingfoot Express journeys, which left Akron, Ohio, in early April 1917 to Boston, Massachusetts, went through 28 pneumatic tires. Encountering rough road conditions after only 25 miles, the first trip to Boston took 23 days. Returning through Connecticut, in order to pick up cotton fabric produced at the Goodyear mills needed at the factory in Akron, took only five days. Goodyear has recreated the original truck, and it is shown at the following link.

    www dot facebook dot com/481470531885364/photos/a.508718095827274.117213.481470531885364/1073199639379114/?type=3&theater

    The previous summer company engineers had scouted various routes the truck might take. There were shorter routes than what Goodyear eventually decided upon, but those routes did not have strong enough bridges and the winter conditions would have likely made the route impassable. The majority of the actual route was over the Lincoln Highway. Goodyear’s president, Henry Seiberling, was a staunch supporter of this national road, and a 17 mile section of the road west of Salt Lake City, Utah was even named for him.

    By examining the used pneumatic tires from the original trip to Boston, Goodyear learned that they needed a stronger bead and heavier sidewalls. Consequently, by the time of the third trip in June 1917 the complete round trip took only seven and a half days. By September 1917 these round trips to Boston (via Connecticut on the return leg) had become weekly journeys. The trips continued even through winter unless the roads were impassable. Some of the troubles the drivers encountered are described in the article “Motor Truck Transportation Playing Important Part Today” at the link below. In wintertime the trucks went out in groups, instead of individually, in order to assist each other if trouble was encountered.

    chroniclingamerica dot loc dot gov/lccn/sn84020558/1918-02-10/ed-1/seq-7/#date1=1917&sort=date&rows=50&words=Akron+Boston&searchType=basic&sequence=0&index=5&state=&date2=1918&proxtext=%22Akron+to+Boston%22&y=0&x=0&dateFilterType=yearRange&page=2

    A year after the start of the trip, eight trucks were making the trips to Boston and returning through Connecticut to Akron.

    Note: The Goodyear website does not give a definitive start or completion date for the first Akron to Boston trip. Goodyear only states the trip took 28 days, it started in early April, and the return journey took five days. The Norwich [Connecticut] Bulletin of April 30, 1917 notes that the truck was on its return trip while in Danielson, Connecticut on Saturday, April 28th. So tentatively the dates for the trip might be April 5 – May 3, 1917, but this conflicts with another article that stated the trip started on a Monday (April 5, 1917 was a Thursday). A variety of other dates and total trip time are mentioned on various websites.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *