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During the recent SEMA Show in Las Vegas, the Tire Industry Assoc. elected antique car tire maker John Kelsey, of Camdenton, Mo., to the Tire Industry Association “Hall of Fame.” Kelsey said he was the first antique tire manufacturer to advertise in Old Cars Weekly when the publication started.
Kelsey’s recent award is one that is presented to two individuals each year for their accomplishments in the tire industry. Four other people are chosen for awards based on the historical perspective of their prior contributions.
Kelsey told members of the organization “It is a humbling experience to have one’s life’s work recognized in this manner.” He said that other TIA members allowed him to move the arena of vintage auto tires forward.
“My earliest insights into vintage auto tires were handed to me in the ‘40s by my father, my first mentor,” Kelsey told the group. “He started his auto collection in 1928 with a 1909 Maxwell (a car John Kelsey still owns). As a collector, he gave me the opportunity to learn tire and rib designs from their earliest inceptions.”
Kelsey also pointed out that his involvement in vintage tire marketing and sourcing over the past 40 years had led him to all corners of the earth. He gave Goodyear Tire Co. a special thank you for helping him fit his vintage tire program into their manufacturing system.

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