M201 original tyre / pneu d'origine

One usually associates early Hotchkiss jeeps with standard 600 x 16 cross-ply bar grip tyres. Photos of jeeps in service during the 1950s and 1960s would certainly indicate that this was the case. However, a close inspection of the first sales brochure for the Hotchkiss M201 reveals that the first batch of jeeps produced at the St Denis factory were fitted with Dunlop 650 x 16 'Track Grip' tyres. Congratulations go to Christophe Muller for tracking an example of this tyre still on a Hotchkiss rim and providing photos.

Before dismissing the vintage 'TrackGrip' tread pattern as a relic from the past, a very similar pattern is still manufactured by Dunlop in India under the brand 'Grader' though block tread that traverses the complete width of the tyre is of course no longer permitted.

They describe the tyre as "Highly applicable for military application as the pattern is well proved design for the performance of any terrain i.e. highway, soft earth, mud & snow etc. The cross bars ensure high tractive force with skid resistance."

Sadly it is not produced for 16" rims though.

(photo: www.dunlop.co.in)

A complete history of the tyres fitted to M201s can be found on Jean-Louis Martin's excellent M201 website.