Tire prices 1949

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1,204
Location
Missouri
My mom has a bank register from the year she got married and there is an entry for "4 tires - $78" I ran this through an inflation calculator and in today's dollars it is $781. I don't know if tire prices had normalized following WW II, but that seems pretty expensive. When I used to run 4 ply nylon bias tires on my 1964 Nova I was lucky if I got 11K miles out of them. Today I get 80K out of a set of tires that cost about $450. If you got 10K out of a set of $78 tires in 1949, you buy 8 sets to get to the mileage I get from today's tires. In today's dollars that is about $6250 for what I spend $450 for today. Doesn't even account for much greater performance and safety.
 
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2,820
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Southeast Alabama
Back in the early 1970s I lived on Okinawa for a couple of years. I can remember buying Bridgestone Tires for my Toyota @ around $10.00 US mounted and balanced - drive away price. We had a 1940 or 1941 car at the start of the 2nd World War. During the war tires were virtually impossible to buy. As far as cars went they did not make any for the public from the start of the war until around 1946. Then you had to get on a list and take whatever came in or you went to the bottom of the list. For the most part when production started again factories turned out the 1941 model cars as they did not have time to retool with the demand. It was about 1949 before you could walk on a lot and find anything. I remember that the 49 Ford was a new body style. Tires were still on the high side because of pent up demand.
 
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upstate NY
How long you think it would take someone to rack up 80k miles in 1949? Just curious, my grandfather had a Buick he bought new in early 50's until shortly before he passed, said it was his DD for 10+ years & wasn't put in storage til 80's, iirc had 90k+ miles when someone from autotrader bought it in 2008.
 
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Southeast Alabama
With the tires back then if you were lucky you could get between 10 and 15,000 miles out of them. That was the time of the 1000 mile oil change too. Gasoline was severely rationed to conserve tires limiting vehicle use. There was a national speed limit of 35 miles an hour during the war gasoline was rationed and you got 3 gallons of gas a week. Doctors and a few others got more as in those days doctors came to the house when you were sick. Japan had taken over most all of the countries that were growing rubber trees and harvesting rubber.
 
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1,840
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Southwest
Originally Posted By: SrDriver
Back in the early 1970s I lived on Okinawa for a couple of years. I can remember buying Bridgestone Tires for my Toyota @ around $10.00 US mounted and balanced - drive away price. We had a 1940 or 1941 car at the start of the 2nd World War. During the war tires were virtually impossible to buy. As far as cars went they did not make any for the public from the start of the war until around 1946. Then you had to get on a list and take whatever came in or you went to the bottom of the list. For the most part when production started again factories turned out the 1941 model cars as they did not have time to retool with the demand. It was about 1949 before you could walk on a lot and find anything. I remember that the 49 Ford was a new body style. Tires were still on the high side because of pent up demand.
Right. And remember, tires were nowhere near as long-lived as they are now. If mom got 25K out of those tires that would be pretty good. The heavy-duty discounting in tires that we just take for granted wasn't a factor even in the 1960s when i was a kid. Most gas stations had racks of tires, (wrapped with a kind of brown paper tape) If you needed a tire that's where you got one. When Sears Roebuck came to town with a proper department store the automotive department was kind of a sensation because you could buy quality tires at a significant discount. Everyone would be down there, and it would take most of Saturday for Dad to take his turn to buy a set of Sears tires.
 
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646
Location
PA
Not to change the decade of the late 1940's, but I am having a hard time understanding prices for automotive parts and services. I added another Huffman one quart oil dispenser with swing-spout to the collection. It was sold in 1935 for $6. The same year President Roosevelt enacted the first minimum wage at 25 cents/hour. That would translate to 3 working days to pay for it. Too expensive for the average consumer since it was sold primarily to service stations. Gasoline cost 19 cents/gallon or 76% of the minimum wage rate. I can only surmise that an automobile was not intended for the lower/middle-class America which only became widely affordable after WWII late 1940's. Motor oil (2 gallons) sold for 75 cents. [Source:1935 U.S. Bureau of the Census] At current Pennsylvania minimum wage rates of $7.25/hr this oil can would sell today for $174. Using the 1935 pricing ratio, today's gasoline would sell for $5.51 per gallon.
 
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646
Location
PA
Today, an analogous situation would be to buy a Western Digital enterprise level 3Tb hard drive [$180] for home data storage/backups. Most consumers don't need such an Overkill device unless they are building a NAS for family use.
 

ledslinger

Thread starter
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1,204
Location
Missouri
Originally Posted By: SrDriver
Back in the early 1970s I lived on Okinawa for a couple of years. I can remember buying Bridgestone Tires for my Toyota @ around $10.00 US mounted and balanced - drive away price. We had a 1940 or 1941 car at the start of the 2nd World War. During the war tires were virtually impossible to buy. As far as cars went they did not make any for the public from the start of the war until around 1946. Then you had to get on a list and take whatever came in or you went to the bottom of the list. For the most part when production started again factories turned out the 1941 model cars as they did not have time to retool with the demand. It was about 1949 before you could walk on a lot and find anything. I remember that the 49 Ford was a new body style. Tires were still on the high side because of pent up demand.
The tires purchase indicated by the check register were likely for the new Buick my grandfather bought for my mom while she was a coed. She had the choice of the post war car or the pre war, she chose the pre war. She said it was a beauty in dark blue. Another quirk of post war car buying was the storage of chrome. Some cars were shipped with wooden bumpers and you brought your car back to the dealer for installation of chrome ones when they came in.
 
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2,089
Location
British Columbia, Canada
Originally Posted By: SrDriver
During the war tires were virtually impossible to buy.
I'm told that my father once got into a race with a neighbour during WW II, my dad driving a farm tractor with fairly good tires, the neighbour driving a truck with straw stuffed in the tires. I guess the tubes didn't hold air, or maybe there were no tubes. Apparently my dad smoked him!
 

ledslinger

Thread starter
Messages
1,204
Location
Missouri
Originally Posted By: ledslinger
Originally Posted By: SrDriver
Back in the early 1970s I lived on Okinawa for a couple of years. I can remember buying Bridgestone Tires for my Toyota @ around $10.00 US mounted and balanced - drive away price. We had a 1940 or 1941 car at the start of the 2nd World War. During the war tires were virtually impossible to buy. As far as cars went they did not make any for the public from the start of the war until around 1946. Then you had to get on a list and take whatever came in or you went to the bottom of the list. For the most part when production started again factories turned out the 1941 model cars as they did not have time to retool with the demand. It was about 1949 before you could walk on a lot and find anything. I remember that the 49 Ford was a new body style. Tires were still on the high side because of pent up demand.
The tires purchase indicated by the check register were likely for the new Buick my grandfather bought for my mom while she was a coed. She had the choice of the post war car or the pre war, she chose the pre war. She said it was a beauty in dark blue. Another quirk of post war car buying was the storage of chrome. Some cars were shipped with wooden bumpers and you brought your car back to the dealer for installation of chrome ones when they came in.
Meant to say the "shortage of chrome"
 
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3,897
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Canada
many people don't realize how much of a luxury having a car was back then. Everyone walked or took the bus. There was none of this "multiple car family" nonsense, unless you were rich.
 
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646
Location
PA
Yes. Look at today's mini-van. Selective climate controlled leather captain chair seating in the middle row with DVD enttertainment. Amazing! We come a long way.
 
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36,461
Location
ME
OT I just chucked a flyer from 2002 from VIP, a local chain. They had 4 13" tires for $89, 14" for $99, and 15" for $109. 235/75/15s must have flown out the door. These were all 70-80 series. They also had 4 Pirelli 195/60/15s for $99, something I'd like a time machine to go retrieve. LOL
 
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Location
Southwest
People were simply poor. The vast majority of the wealth created by the industrial revolution was created recently--very recently. Like starting the beginning of the twentieth century.
 
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14,725
Location
Central NY
Originally Posted By: Lolvoguy
many people don't realize how much of a luxury having a car was back then. Everyone walked or took the bus. There was none of this "multiple car family" nonsense, unless you were rich.
If I lived close to work I would walk or bike. There's a good chance that, when I move in April, I am going to be only 2 miles from work. I will probably end up walking to work.
 
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17,914
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NH
When I was in college (granted, 15 years ago) I went car-less, and biked. Worked pretty well. Granted, I never went more than 4 miles. But I got used to it. I tried to get used to it once out of school, but my commute was 6 miles (not a big problem) and hilly (large problem) and I hated carrying all the stuff to shower afterwards once at work (I sweat profusely, and work in an office--so major problem). Some days I wonder if it'd be worth it, to live closer to work, and bike/public transport. I know that every time the car breaks or a payment is due I think about it more!
 
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Southwest
Originally Posted By: supton
When I was in college (granted, 15 years ago) I went car-less, and biked. Worked pretty well. Granted, I never went more than 4 miles. But I got used to it. I tried to get used to it once out of school, but my commute was 6 miles (not a big problem) and hilly (large problem) and I hated carrying all the stuff to shower afterwards once at work (I sweat profusely, and work in an office--so major problem). Some days I wonder if it'd be worth it, to live closer to work, and bike/public transport. I know that every time the car breaks or a payment is due I think about it more!
The answer is Yes. I lived in an area where I drove 30K per year. In those days there were only a handful of affordable cars that could stand up to that kind of use. I had very little flexibility in what I could drive. Now I live 3.5 miles from work. I drive 8.5 to 9K per year. Practically any old car will do. When my kid learned to drive, I realized that I didn't have to get another car. I just bicycle commuted during the good weather. An entire automobile expense saved. A really nice feature is that when I come home for the day, I'm done. No need to go to the gym. (I take the long way home). On the other hand, I have my wife for backup in rainy weather. The reality is, we change jobs. We have two earner families with different commutes. But I will say this: All things being equal, choose the place that's closer rather than farther away, even if its not as nice. We spend a heck of a lot of money on cars even when our needs are pretty nominal.
 
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