Firestone has introduced the industry’s first lower-cost, lower-profit, “third-line” tire series in the post-WWII period. Initially available in two sizes, it is designed specifically to meet growing competition from independent tire merchandisers such as Sears Roebuck and Montgomery Ward, among others, that consistently maintain prices below those of nationally advertised brands. Firestone’s major rivals are expected to unveil similar products, perhaps before the end of the year. On a scale of 0-100, OEM tires are “rated at 100, second-line tires at between 72 and 80 and third liners at about 67,” according to WAR.

Ford is leading the charge in rising convertible output in 1953, while Buick is the chief builder of pillarless 2-door hardtops. Industry convertible production is expected to reach a third-best level of 165,000-plus units in 1953, trailing the record 205,987 built in 1950 and 1949’s second-best 203,234 units. Output of the hardtop, introduced in 1949, is forecast by WAR at a record 850,000 units. If achieved, that would represent a 53.5% increase the prior record of 553,797 built in 1952.

Packard may find itself between a rock and hard a place after Chrysler completes its takeover of body supplier Briggs Manufacturing. Chrysler is expected to assume complete control of Briggs sometime between Dec. 18 and Dec. 31. Although Packard’s supply of modestly restyled ’54-model bodies appears safe, WAR notes that it likely will have to find a new supplier for its redesigned ’55s. (After the Chrysler acquisition, the Conner Ave. Packard-body plant is sold to Packard, which uses it as a body manufacturing and assembly facility through the ’56 model year. After ’56, Packards become badge-engineered Studebakers built in South bend, IN.)

Diligent preparation was the key to Lincoln’s victory in the Large Car class of the 1953 Carrera Panamericana road race (an annual event first organized by the Mexican government in 1950 to celebrate the opening of the country’s portion of the Pan American highway. It is cancelled after 1954 – also a win for Lincoln – due to safety concerns.) “Before the race, chassis units were taken apart and checked for any possible metal fractures.” Non-stock features include “extra safety devices such as rollbars, heavy-duty sway bars and two shock absorbers on each suspension spring.” Additionally, the wheels are equipped with “air scoops” to cool the brakes.