NTW Inc., the Dale City tire store chain that in recent years has struggled through bankruptcy proceedings and a family feud between its owners, said yesterday that it had agreed to be taken over by Western Auto Supply Co., a Kansas City, Mo., auto parts retail chain.

Terms of the transaction were not disclosed, but Western Auto will acquire 97 percent of the company from the founding Pumpelly family. NTW President Tom Pumpelly will retain the other 3 percent.

NTW owns and operates 52 tire stores with about $108 million in sales this year. In addition, 38 NTW franchise stores have annual sales of about $80 million.

The acquisition gives Western Auto a major position in the tire retailing business. Earlier this year, it purchased Tire America, a Wheeling, W.Va.-based tire chain about the same size as NTW, for about $35 million in cash, stock and notes. In addition, about 20 percent of the revenue at Western Auto's 1,900 owned and franchised stores comes from tire sales.

"We're very close to Sears' size {in tire retailing}, with Tire America, Western Auto and NTW," said Tom Pumpelly, who will remain president of the company for at least three more years. NTW will keep its name and operate as a subsidiary of Western Auto.

"We found this to be a very exciting opportunity," said Leo Carney, vice president and treasurer of Western Auto. "Obviously, there are certain cost savings to be made, especially in the tire industry, from a volume of product."

Carney said there is very little geographical overlap between the three chains. The three also are aimed at different sectors of the tire market, he said, with Western Auto selling low-priced house-brand tires, Tire America in the middle of the market, and NTW selling brand-name tires like Michelins and Pirellis at a discount.

Pumpelly would not discuss why his family chose to sell NTW, although he said, "It gives us a little financing to expand at the rate we want."

Tom Pumpelly and his brother, Reed, founded NTW in 1971 with $6,000 they raised by selling their cars. The company grew quickly for the next decade, but hit the financial skids in 1983 because of overexpansion. It filed for bankruptcy protection in 1984.

Over the next year, Tom and Reed Pumpelly were involved in a bizarre fight for control of the company. Reed Pumpelly agreed to sell a controlling interest in NTW to a group of investors without telling his brother, but then had second thoughts, and the brothers teamed up to attempt to regain control. After a protracted legal fight waged in courts in the District, Virginia and Delaware, the brothers won back control of the company two years ago.

Under a bankruptcy reorganization plan, NTW has been repaying its creditors 100 percent of what they were owed, over a five-year period. Tom Pumpelly said yesterday the company is ahead on its payments under the plan. He said the company earned a $2.6 million profit in the fiscal year that ended Jan. 31, and expects about a $4 million profit this year.

Carney said Western Auto was confident that NTW's problems were behind it. "As far as their performance relative to the bankruptcy plan, they've been far exceeding their objectives," Carney said. "We feel that NTW ... is a company that has turned itself around and has excellent management."

Carney said Western Auto was considering slightly extending NTW's offerings beyond tires. He said an existing NTW operation that works on automobile front-end alignments may be expanded, and he also said the retailer might add batteries to its product line in the future. Carney said Western Auto had no plans to bring Western Auto stores to the Washington area.