Posted by Bob on November 18, 2002
: : : : : Hi! Can you please tell me the origin of the phrase "Where the rubber meets the road". Did it have something to do with rubber trees meeting the trucks for shipment? Thank you!
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: : : : I remember that phrase from a jingle in a series of TV commercials in the 1960's and 70's. I think it was for Firestone tires, but I'm not positive. I remember that there was this tune, sung by a choir of deep-voiced men. I think it went "Firestone...where the rubber meets the road" Of course they may have used the phrase before then.
: : : "Where the rubber meets the road" refers to the tire of a vehicle on the surface of a road. It means "where it really counts."
: : :Thanks, but I think that may be too simple. I heard years ago from a man who worked on a rubber tree plantation that it originated there.
: Rubber trees are 'tapped' to collect the raw rubber in a container, they are not felled and carted away in a lorry.
Quite right. It really was the jingle, a really awful effort that scanned badly (there was a line about different car trips you might take, including "visit Grandma" which had the unfortunate position in the line where the metrical stress fell on the last syllable, so "visit grand-MA" which sung as awkwardly as it looks). But the jingle ended with the memorable "where the rubber meets the road" which then became a catchphrase that (to my astonishment, anyway) persists to this day.