Ammo Delivery with Nobby Tread Tires

If you are traveling by automobile this summer, you have likely given some thought to the condition of your tires. It is an important safety consideration no matter what terrain you are traversing, but imagine your level of concern if you were hurtling through Mexico over treacherous roads to deliver ammunition to the Mexican Rebel Army. According to 1914 newspapers, that was the exact situation for those pictured below.

I wish the picture was clearer. I tried to enhance it using AI, but that only provided marginal improvement.

Unfortunately, the caption that goes along with the photo does not even indicate what type of car it is, or who was doing the supplying, but it does extol the virtues of using “Nobby Tread” tires under such arduous circumstances.  The caption also explains that the car made three round trips between Brownsville, Texas, and Victoria, Mexico, to deliver the ammo amid the revolution, a bloody struggle to end a dictatorship and establish a constitutional republic led by familiar names like Pancho Villa and Emiliano Zapata. The roads were hazardous, and capture would have meant certain death, so reliable tires were more than mere luxury.

Nobby Tread tires were a product of the United States Tire Company which was owned by United States Rubber. This advertisement gives a closer look at the tire:

Notice this advertisement refers to the Nobby as “one of the five.” This is a reference to the one plain tread and four anti-skid tires being produced by the company at that time.

This advertisement avers that drivers will experience 90% fewer punctures with the Nobby than with other tires.

Who knows if that was a true statement, but if you were speeding over questionable roads through a war-torn country to deliver bullets to one side, and under a hot Mexican sun, no less, the Nobby Tread was likely the smart tire choice.

This photo, also taken in 1914, features a new Cadillac ambulance outfitted with Nobby Tread tires in the city of San Francisco.

A Rare Brand of Go

On more than one occasion I have had people express disbelief that we are able to find vintage car parts at antique stores (for reasonable prices)! Although respect for car parts seems to be trending up among purveyors of fine antiques, many dealers just have no interest in the subject. Kind of like how I feel when I see salt and pepper shakers or those glass “hen on nest” dishes. I once found a 1940s Lincoln Zephyr V12 horn ring, with the horn button intact, for twelve bucks at an antique store. That was a great find, and so is the Oldsmobile Skyrocket air cleaner lid I found last week:

This item is easy to date because the Skyrocket name was only used for a few years; Oldsmobile introduced it in 1961 and it was used through 1963. The Skyrocket engine was a 394ci, 4-barrel, high-compression engine. The 10-to-1 compression ratio delivered 325 horsepower in 1961. That compression ratio was upped to 10.25-to-1 in 1962 and turned out 330hp. Happily, this one has most of the decal intact.

Here it is pictured in the 1962 brochure.

The Skyrocket was an option for the Dynamic 88 and standard on the Ninety-Eight and Super 88. This ad features a 1961 Ninety-Eight “with Skyrocket performance.”

This 1962 ad features a Super 88 Holiday Coupe with “a rare brand of GO!”

A Ninety-Eight headlines this ad from 1963 and touts the horsepower which, by the way, was needed for such a heavy automobile. According to the brochure, the shipping weight for the Ninety-Eight was a considerable 4,241 pounds.

The 394 was still used in ’64, but the Skyrocket name was not. The Skyrocket certainly went out in style, however, with the tail lights on the ’63 Ninety-Eight being among the most unique and beautiful:

Photo credit: Nadablue, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons