AutosDriving in winter: A look back at Chevrolet's 'Liquid Tire Chain' invention from the 1960s

Driving in winter: A look back at Chevrolet's 'Liquid Tire Chain' invention from the 1960s

Chevrolet's idea was ahead of its time.
Chevrolet's idea was ahead of its time.
Images source: © Press materials

4:03 AM EST, January 27, 2024

Car features during that era were truly astonishing. A glance at the catalogs of those years will reveal startling accessories like a vinyl record player in a swaying car, a coffee maker, and a foot-operated button for changing radio stations. In the 1960s, the primary constraint on automotive designers' fantastical ideas was their imagination.

At the end of this inventive decade, Chevrolet unveiled its solution for customers struggling with harsh winter conditions. They introduced the Liquid Tire Chain Traction Dispenser, essentially tire chains in liquid form. Its operation was straightforward. You simply pressed a button in your car, and a polymer from a can – decorated with warnings of imminent death – would spray onto your tires. Notably, during this era, a heated rear window was an extra feature you needed to pay additional money for.

The special V75 Liquid Tire Chain was offered across the entire Chevrolet range, excluding the station wagon and El Camino pickup models. This was exclusively available in 1969. Astonishingly 2,600 customers opted for this aerosol can option, despite the consequential cost of $22 (equivalent to about $150 today). Among these, 188 decided on a Chevrolet Camaro, a model infamous for its instability on dry surfaces, let alone wet ones.

Interestingly, these liquid snow chains – made of polymers - are still on the market! With a quick online search, you can buy a 6.76 fl oz spray of liquid grip for only about $4. However, it is generally more advisable to rely on a reliable set of winter tires and good old common sense when behind the wheel.

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