Thursday 18 May 2023

Dunlop, Firestone, Pirelli Too ...

This entry was originally going to be about the Toyota Motor Company, linking to the illustrative track "I'm Stuck In A Pagoda With Tricia Toyata".
However, I later discovered that Tritia Toyata (yes, I know it's spelt differently) was in fact a US Newsreader, and had nothing to do with the manufacturers of the Prius, the MR2, the Celica, or the Corlloa (and there are many more vehicles beginning with "C" in the past and current range).
Never mind, just bounce back a few tracks on the bands second album, find a lyrical reference, and make this entry about black rubber rings.

Horse carts, push carts, farm tools, bicycles, anything that rolled basically got by using metal or wooden wheels.  Yes, the ride was uncomfortable but be honest they never really went fast or far enough to consider comfort.
But all metal wheels were expensive and heavy, and wooden wheels brittle when faced with stony/rocky roads and tracks.  To increase the life of a wooden wheel, a metal band would be heated and shrunk over the wheel.  The life of the wheel increased, but not the comfort.
The metal banding was replaced by the use of rubber, albeit in solid form which at least provide some form of shock absorption.
The first pneumatic tyre (basically a rubber skin filled with compressed air) was patented by Robert William Thompson in 1847, but never went into production.  John Dunlop then conceived a similar method of encasing air in rubber and attaching it to a wheel and was granted a patent in 1888.
Dunlop's patent was declared invalid 5 years later when the similarities were noted - the possible confusion coming from the fact that Thompson's design was intended for Horse Drawn carriages, whilst Dunlop's was primarily for bicycles.
He may not have had the patent, but it was Dunlop that developed and exploited the technology and it's wider use.  Many tyre manufactuers followed including those still big names today: Goodyear, Firestone, Pirelli, BF Goodrich, Continental (to name a few big names) all utilised Dunlop's methods of construction and production.
In 1946, Michelin further enhanced things with the radial tyre - this gave the tyre better re-inforcement and flexibility, increased comfort, better heat sustainment,  and a longer life.
Michelin had already bought the bankrupt Citreon company in 1924, and was now able to launch a new car (the 2CV) with it's new radial tyres.  Within 30 years, the radial tyre became the industry standard.
Tread patterns, water disbursement, road holding, wear indicator markers - the basic tyre has developed a lot in recent years (gone are the days when the choice was: Remoulds for £10, Kwik-Fit Own Brand for £25, or a big name brand for £50+.  You now need speed rating, seasonal variation, efficiency rating, and (if you're at the top end of the market, or riding round in a 4x4, you need very deep pockets).
Tyres - possibly the most important component in any car (apart from, perhaps, the nut behind the wheel).  As Robert Mark explains:
(note: not the real Robert Mark ...)


The Dickies formed in Los Angeles in 1977.  Their debut gig was at the Whiskey a Go Go on Sunset Boulevard, and were the beneficiaries of A&Ms search for something easier to handle than the recently paid-off Sex Pistols.
The Dickies musicality, stage entertainment, and growing following convinced A&M to give them a contract.
Now, it's true that The Dickies legend (if that is the correct term?) is built on their break-neck speed cover versions of tunes such as "Paranoid", "Nights In White Satin", "Sounds Of Silence", "Eve Of Destruction", "Silent Night" and more.  It's not helped by the fact that their biggest and best known hit was the childrens TV theme "Banana Splits (The Tra-La-La Song)".
Yet in the space of 18 months, they also managed two albums stuffed full of their own tunes.  And very good they are too.
However, internal fighting, loss of band members and management, as well as their record contract expiring meant it would be 2 full years before a third album appeared - by that time, the musical landscape and their original audience had moved on.
But they re-grouped and kept ploughing on, releasing albums where a label would give them support, and playing support slots to bands who cited them as an influence.

Their second album 'Dawn Of The Dickies' was released in 1979 and includes their cover of "Nights In White Satin".  Whilst only modestly successful on release, with it's irreverence, sound, and focus on melody, it stands today (along with the debut 'The Incredible Shrinking Dickies') as a direct line to the later Punk bands to emerge from LA, including Green Day and The Offspring who both cite The Dickies as major influences. 

Track 3 is titled "Manny, Moe and Jack" and is basically an advert for their mates garage:

When your on the road
and your car wont pull that load
and your wheels aren’t feeling fine
Well I know of this joint
where they’ll check your plugs and points
I know these guys they're three good friends of mine

Manny Moe and Jack
They know what I’m after
Manny Moe and Jack
They Know what I’m after
They're Manny Moe and Jack

Once your inside
they wont take you for a ride
they got a good deal for you and your automobile
for the right price
they will sell you fuzzy dice
and leather hand grips for your steering wheel

If its tires you want they got a lot for you
Dunlop, Firestone, Pirelli too

Many Moe and Jack
They know what I’m after


  1. I swear I left a comment here last week. I was asking if you'd ever covered the Ford Galaxie. A quick search shows not. Anyway, I didn't want to step on your toes. Keep going with this excellent series, it's a learning experience.

    1. No Ford Galaxy as yet, but it's now on the list - just need to work through what I will hang off it

    2. And thanks for the vote of confidence by the way - several scribbles/thoughts written for future entries. Renewed impetus now I know someone is reading it.