Modern Tire Dealer

MAY 2019

Magazine for the professional tire industry

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23 w w w . M o d e r n T i r e D e a l e r . c o m Other favorites of his include a 1903 Curved Dash Oldsmobile, 1906 Cadillac and a 1906 Stanley Steamer. "In the museum setting, you wanted to demonstrate how transportation had evolved from the earliest-era cars up through whatever would be considered vintage at a given point in time, and on up through the generations of cars as they advanced." Kelsey says he never owned a Buggyaut, which is considered by many to be the first American gas-powered automobile. It was built in 1893 by Charles and J. Frank Duryea. "Many people were expanding their thoughts and usage of the internal combus- tion engine in the 1890s. To be included as well were the development of steam and electric cars during this time period." Ask him to name a favorite car, and he can't. "I have personal memories with all of them. To say I really have a favorite, that would be a tough one. I was raised around steam cars first of all, but again, being in the museum business and whatnot, as time goes by, you generate a set of experiences, events you go to with cars, your parents, your children, yourself, and so forth as time goes on." THEN AND NOW Kelsey hoped to open his antique tire busi- ness three years earlier than he did. "When I came home from the service, I had my separation pay from the Army," he says. "at gave me a certain amount of liquidity to make the purchase of these tires, which I started to do in 1966 initially. However, I needed to complete my military obligation before I'd be able to be considered for some financial assistance from one of our local banks. I started buying the first vintage auto tires in the fall of '69. "Armstrong and Denman were our pri- mary sources for these types of products. As you were able to afford them, you'd make purchases and work the swap-meet circuit. at was very active. at was the only way you really met your customers, face to face. Credit cards weren't used. 800 numbers were not available. FedEx didn't exist. UPS was servicing only a few states." Kelsey started a dialog with Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. in 1980. By 1984 he was solely a Goodyear distributor. "In my case, I saw more of a particular need for the Goodyear major brand, which, up to that point didn't have a presence in the vintage auto tire market." Kelsey has exclusive rights to Goodyear antique and classic tires globally. That includes antique military tires. "Based upon our size range mix, primarily driven by the American auto manufacturers, I would say our business is probably 85% domestic. "At one time we had six warehouses in North America. We were doing about 150 swap meets and shows a year." Kelsey and his wife, Janice — "a very staunch supporter and advocate of the business" — need only one warehouse now. It is located in Missouri near Kelsey Tire Inc. headquarters in Camdenton. "e efficiency of logistics has reached a point to where multiple locations, to the extent that we used to have them, are no longer necessary," he says. Kelsey primarily advertises in vehicle enthusiast publications. But he sells by phone, in person and online. All the tires offered by Kelsey Tire are identical to the originals, a necessity, particularly with show cars. "In the world we live in, authenticity is everything," says Kelsey. "External optics have to be identical for maximum judging points." e oldest tire he sells is the 450-21 Balloon Goodyear. "My 1925 Chevrolet Superior K Touring Car uses that particular size," says Kelsey. "en the sizes go forward from there. "e newest tire we're working with at the present time would be a mid-'80s Fox Body Mustang tire, the Eagle VR60 Gatorback tire. And we're active in the development of vintage original equipment radial tires. "We plan to continue with the expansion and development of our product line. Once you develop an SKU, it's with you forever." To look back on Kelsey Tire in 1985, written by our own Lori Mavrigian, check out MTD's March 1985 story starting on page 24. ■ "THE EFFICIENCY OF LOGISTICS HAS REACHED A POINT TO WHERE MULTIPLE LOCATIONS, TO THE EXTENT THAT WE USED TO HAVE THEM, ARE NO LONGER NECESSARY," SAYS KELSEY. H u p m o b i l e s w e r e t h e product of the Hupp Motor Car Co. for some 30 years beginning in 1909. At one time, the Kelsey Museum housed a 1910 Hupmobile, Model 20 Runabout. "Great little cars!" says John Kelsey, owner of Kelsey Tire Inc. "The ap- propriate tire — clincher design — is 32x3½, or if a straight side (conventional bead design), the size was 33x4. The rim diameter is 25 inches (different designs) in both cases. "We do not offer these tires. We do offer the Good- year 6.00/16 and 6.50/16 for the 1934 forward Hupmo- biles." — Bob Ulrich Hup, two, three, four… Personal nods to a forgotten marque car My grandfather Dr. Joseph Ulrich (pictured with sons Richard, left, and Joe) owned a Hupmobile in the mid-1920s prior to the Great Depression. John and Jan Kelsey, pictured here at the Goodyear Customer Conference in Dallas last January, continue to spend a lot of time on the road selling Kelsey antique and classic tires.

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