Drag racing is a popular pastime for car enthusiasts, and it has certainly come a long way in the early days of the hobby. In the late ‘40s, there was an influx of gear heads, fresh out of the military with an intense need for speed. From modified street cars to home-built machines, racers quickly gained knowledge about making their hot rods quicker and faster. Not long after the nation’s first few drag strips opened to the public, racers began experimenting with tires. At the time, a purpose-built racing tire was something that only existed in Indy car or other forms of round-track racing.
For drag racers, traction was dependent upon street tires, or tires that had been recapped to feature a slick tread. These recapped tires did not offer much traction, so progression of the hobby resulted in the need for real drag racing tires. Enter Marvin Rifchin, whose father, Harry, had a tire dealership and recap business. Marvin was heavily involved in the dirt track scene, and made a name for himself in the Midget and stock car racing industry by introducing a tire with a special compound, designed to work much better than regular recap rubber.
With a firm grasp on the round track market, Marvin experimented with a drag racing tire, as the sport began to blossom quickly. By 1957, he had created his first drag racing tire, and by the next year, M&H was in the winner’s circle, thanks to a popular racer who took a gamble and tried one of Marvin’s new purpose-built M&H drag racing slicks. That racer was Don Garlits, and he blistered the competition on his first event using M&H Racemaster tires. The original M&H slicks offered less than seven inches of tread width, but it was the structure and compound of the tire that made such a huge difference in performance. Don Garlits’ victory meant a lot to the company, as it sparked an incredible tidal wave of business, which continually increased as the years rolled on.
Initially, drag racing was a tough market to enter, as racers generally didn’t make much money, and spent every dime they had to make more horsepower. Tires were a mystery to most folks, so they ran recaps until the undeniable performance of Marvin’s race tires made them a believer. Of course, all this success encouraged other tire manufacturers to enter the drag racing market, and by the mid-60s, M&H went head-to-head with giant companies like Firestone and Goodyear. Marvin and his M&H Tire Company openly accepted the challenge, and the brand wars of the ‘60s led to some of the greatest advancements in tire technology.
Many will say the heyday of drag racing lasted throughout the 1960’s and into the early ‘70s, but tire technology never stopped evolving, even with a poor economy and lessening interest in drag racing. By the end of the 1970’s, M&H had developed tires for many applications, and had succeeded in many ways, but Marvin decided to branch out to create his own tire factory, instead of relying on an outside manufacturer to produce the tires. As the years went by, Marvin decided to sell the company to Interco Tire, but he still remained involved in the company until his final days. Unfortunately, we lost Marvin Rifchin on June 3, 2009 at the age of 94. He certainly lived a great life and made an enormous impact on the sport of drag racing.
Today, M&H Racemaster holds up the legacy that Marvin had instated so many years ago. With a wide variety of racing and street tires, M&H offers its products to a broad range of customers, from all out drag racers to street machines. M&H is a major player in nostalgia drag racing, but it also has a firm grasp on modern muscle cars with its extensive lineup of drag radials designed for large-diameter wheels. The legendary status of M&H hasn’t gone unnoticed, as it was one of the first inductees into Hot Rod Magazine’s “Speed Parts Hall of Fame”. With nearly 60 years of experience, M&H Racemaster lives on as the world’s first purpose-built drag racing tire, producing track-proven products at a price you can afford!