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Just before the national meet in Temecula this year, I ordered five new Bedford 700 x 17 tires from Lucas for my 1934 8-cyl Silver Arrow, and also ordered five tubes from them at the same time. After the old tires and tubes were removed, I spent the better part of a day ‘dressing’ the interior surfaces of all five wheels, and ensuring that the rubber band around the rivets was in good condition and properly positioned. The inside of the wheels was as smooth as a baby’s bottom! I supervised the installation of the new tires and tubes at my usual local tire store, where they know I’m picky but accommodate me anyway (a tip to the tire installer works wonders). They used a proper amount of tire talc and spread it around thoroughly in the casings. I put very few miles on the new tires before driving to the meet. Itinerary both directions was through the Mojave Desert, with temps up to 110 degrees.

Had TWO flats on the return trip, one near the town of Mojave–at 110 degrees or close to it, and the other a day later south of San Jose at about 80 degrees. As originally planned, we spent the first return night in Bakersfield, where I sought out the oldest tire dealer in town and bought a 16-inch truck tube (all that was available on a Saturday) which seemed to fit the wheel better than the 700/750 x 17 tube furnished by Lucas.

We closely examined both failed tubes, orienting them to the respective wheels, and found no rough spots on the wheels that could have caused the tube failures. We determined that both tubes had developed small longitudinal splits immediately adjoining and parallel to the bonded seams–leading me to deduce that the Lucas rubber is too thin. I ended up replacing ALL the Lucas tubes with 16-inch truck tubes, which were substantially heavier then those from Lucas. I’ve since put at least 500 miles on the replacement tubes, more than half of them in 90-100-degree weather, without incident.

Accordingly, I will NOT use Lucas-furnished tubes in the future, but will stay with locally-procured 16-inch truck tubes. BTW, the Lucas tubes had NO manufacturer or country of origin marked on them, only the size. I am VERY pleased with the Bedford tires, however; even the two that suffered flats survived that trauma without damage, and they were certainly inspected thoroughly.