During World War II, United States consumers were asked to "make do" with the existing tires on their automobiles as a sacrifice for the war effort.
Supply lines for tires had been pinched by the fighting, and much of the domestic supply of rubber was reserved for military vehicles.
But by the time the accompanying photo appeared in 1947, the war was over and the tire business was booming again. Americans immediately began trading in their bald, wartime tires for fresh retreads or brand-new rubber. Chattanoogans could buy a single new tire on credit for $1.45 a month in 1947, or presumably a whole set of tires for $4.35 a month, according to newspaper ads.
This photo taken outside the Sidney Scott Tire Company, at the intersection of Georgia Avenue and Seventh Street, appeared in the Chattanooga News-Free Press on April 19, 1947.
The store was owned by World War I veteran Sidney Scott, who was a native of Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia. He was a member of the Highland Park Baptist Church and one of the first trustees of the Tennessee Temple Schools, according to newspaper archives.
The photo was taken to call attention to a new "baked enamel" paint oven being installed at the store. The new process was said to create an automotive paint job that would be "unaffected by the weather."
The photo featured a 1940s-era Buick Roadmaster convertible packed with six young women, who, the caption noted, were employees of the Olan Mills portrait photography company. The photo was taken by newspaper photographer Delmont Wilson and is among a collection of vintage images viewable at ChattanoogaHistory.com.
The Buick in the photo is one of the most iconic car models of the mid-20th century. The majestic, top-of-the-line Buick offered sweeping body lines and leather upholstery on its power front seats. Under the hood was a 320-cubic-inch, V-8 engine making 144 horsepower. A pristine 1947 Roadmaster sold at auction in 2013 for $93,500.
According to newspaper records, Sidney Scott sold the business to General Tire Service in 1948 and opened a new store at 332 Market St. that specialized in auto seat covers, body repair and paint work. By 1949, according to reports, he was back working at General Tire Service as a manager. Scott died in 1977 at age 89.
Launched by history enthusiast Sam Hall in 2014, Chattanooga History.com is maintained to present historical images in the highest resolution available. If you have photo negatives, glass plate negatives or original nondigital prints taken in the Chattanooga area, contact Sam Hall for information on how they may qualify to be digitized and preserved at no charge.
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