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best classic tires?


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My 53 Dodge restoration had 710-15 as the original tires. I want to get as wide a white wall as possible.

In 4ply bias I have found acceptable tires from Goodyear, BFGoodrich and in 6ply from Lester. I know nothing about Lester.

In radial Diamondback has a 215/758 15 but the white wall is 7/8 to 1 inch narrower. I know nothing about Diamondback either. I might accept the narrower WW if the difference between radial and bias ply matters.

Any advice?

Have any of you had good or bad experiences with Lester or Diamonback? Thanks Stan

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I would get radials for sure because of better ride and easier steering especially if you have manual steering. I have a 56 olds 88 and I just received my wide whites from diamondback, they look really good and the transaction was smooth with the purchase. They came in the 2 1/2 weeks like they said. They will advise you on the phone as to which tire will work the best. I took my 5 old rims to walmart to have the tires taken off (they did it for free) and then I took the rims to be painted before I get the new tires put on. Even tho only a little of the rim shows around the hub caps it is amazing what a differnce it makes to have the rims painted. Some cars came from the dealer with blackwalls but if you look at old pics you can see what your car generally had on it, in my case I found that the cars with the smaller moon hubcaps had blackwalls (probably because much of the rim was exposed for color anyway) and the ones like mine with larger hubcaps had whitewalls. good luck with your tires.

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I'd recommend you go with the Goodyear 710X15 Super Cushion Deluxe with a 2 3/4" white wall. It's the exact brand, tire mold and size white wall that your car came from the factory with and you'll be most pleased with the ride and handling. I understand that you want as wide of a white as possible, but this is the tire that will make your car look it's best.

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I got of set of 7.00 X 15 Radial wide whites from Diamondback for my touring '41 Packard. They have two ww widths to choose from. VERY good product that looks like period tires with the performance of modern radials. I'm happy!

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Call Eric Maxwell at Universal Tire in Lancaster. He know his stuff and will steer youin the right direction. I have driven on the Lester tread and I really like the soft ride and I like the looks of the wide white wall. It's also very quite.

Frank

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<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: durant28</div><div class="ubbcode-body">3 points each including spare for maximum deductions for non correct tires. </div></div>

Which is not a good choice to make when only one point can keep a vehicle from making the ten point spread per prize level in regular class judging. cry.gif

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<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: windjamer</div><div class="ubbcode-body"> True or false I dont know,BUT,I have been told that radial tires are unsafe on early wheels that where manufactured befor the advent of radials.Im told they can cause the wheel to split. </div></div>

I've had radials on my 62 Invicta for 20 years and 31,000 miles. No problem.

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  • 1 year later...

Red Ram -

I too have a 53 Dodge (V8 Coronet convertible) that needs new tires. I'm leaning toward the tire that I understand came originally on the car - 710x15 Goodyear Deluxe Super Cushions with 2 3/4" whitewalls. Wondered what you ended up putting on your car & whether you're satisfied with them. Also where you got them.

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About a dozen years ago, the Great Race came through the city of Canton, Ohio, and Coker Tire was there as a vendor. At the time, I couldn't find a radial that was the correct equivalent size and whitewall width for my car. Decided to take a trip to their trailer, and ran into Corky Coker myself. I told him what kind of car I had, and before I could tell him what I was looking for, he already knew the size and ww I needed. He promised that they would soon come out with what I was looking for, and a couple years later, they did. I have had no problems with Coker Radials, but I hear that other vendors provide good product as well (Lucas, Diamondback, Universal). Just do your homework.

As for the AACA judging, what I have done is obtained a complete set of five wheels that fit my car. Since I drive 2-3,000 miles a year on my car, I have the radials on during the spring and summer months, and right before I go to Fall Hershey for the AACA meet, I switch them over to the bias-plys, and keep them on until the next show season (and first long trip) begins.

To me, it's a personal preference, I just like the way radials handle, though the bias-plys aren't really a problem, if you just keep your hands on the steering wheel like you should, and pay attention on the curves (and any grooves in the road). Drive 650-mile round trip to Hershey and back on them, and have never had a problem.

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I have been buying 99% of all my antique car tires from Coker Tire for over 40 years. I bet hundreds of tires if I could add the up. I've only had one fail and they replaced it immediately. I have mixed feelings about radials. The do ride bet ter but the do not offer the purest the true authentic look. and in some sizes, for example the 900x14 that late 50's Lincoln's take there isn't a radial that offers the right ride height. BUT either way Coker is the company to do business with.

Also, anytime a company uses there marketing materials to run down the competition you need to take a second look at what they are really sell. I know of at least one tire company and one garage lift company that spend more time running down the competition than telling you what they have to offer. Beware at that point.

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Skyking: Just wondering, what are the two larger holes in your Met. wheels for?

Bill, that's a question I myself never got an answer on. I have no idea what they do. They don't line up with anything once the hubcap is removed. There are two small phillips screws that hold the brake drums on but the large holes don't even line up with them. Maybe for manufacturing purposes. If I do find out, I'll post it.

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I have mixed feelings about radials. The do ride bet ter but the do not offer the purest the true authentic look. and in some sizes, for example the 900x14 that late 50's Lincoln's take there isn't a radial that offers the right ride height.

When I had a set of radials on my '57 Metropolitan I didn't like the way the car sat. The radials were too small in height and the next size would have been way too large. I removed them and also added a set of the Firestone 5.60-13 bias/ply and the car looks normal again. While adding the bias tires I also rebuilt the front end. The car handles fine.

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Bill, that's a question I myself never got an answer on. I have no idea what they do. They don't line up with anything once the hubcap is removed. There are two small phillips screws that hold the brake drums on but the large holes don't even line up with them. Maybe for manufacturing purposes. If I do find out, I'll post it.

I did ask around and found two answers.

1. To cool the brake drums while driving..

2. They're for adjusting the brakes in MG Midgets , they use the same wheels .

The second answer sounds more logical to me.

The only thing I disagree with is the Midgets came after the Metropolitans. Maybe other British cars also used them.

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Hi, Bob. Hope all is well up your way.

My guess is for cooling. Your diameter from the picture looks slightly larger than the holes my TR6 wheels have for cooling/air flow (I believe there are "16 holes" on the TR wheels that border the outside edge. (Car is snow bound in the shed and I am not going to shovel a path to see it). In short I am only making a guesstimate.

Regards,

Peter.

Edited by Peter J.Heizmann (see edit history)
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I did ask around and found two answers.

1. To cool the brake drums while driving..

2. They're for adjusting the brakes in MG Midgets , they use the same wheels .

The second answer sounds more logical to me.

The only thing I disagree with is the Midgets came after the Metropolitans. Maybe other British cars also used them.

Thanks; sounds reasonable to me.

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Skyking: Just wondering, what are the two larger holes in your Met. wheels for?

It's a British car... isn't that reason enough ? :D

(I'd bet on these holes being there for some sort of adjustment purposes, like brakes... how much cooling would they provide with the Met hubcap installed ?)

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I met a fellow at the Scranton Region AACA show about four years ago who had a '41 Buick Convertible Sedan.

He has a set of Coker's new ( at that time) "antique radial" WWW tires on it - equivalent in cross-section to a 6.50 x 16 (15?) tire. In other words, it "looked right" on the car.

He toured a lot with the car and said they were wonderful, that he'd never put bias-plys on a driver again.

Have seen other driver cars with them in the ensuing years, no complaints, except for the cost. :eek:

I still use bias-ply tires on my antique drivers, and have no complaints... they work. Just have to be careful on access ramps and curves - usually the bias plys start to shriek before you get into real trouble... ;)

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Hi, Bob. Hope all is well up your way.

Hi Peter, nice to hear from you and thanks for asking...........:)

Not much going on in the way of cars this winter, taking a break!

As for the holes, like Desoto Frank said, once the hupcaps are on, any air is now blocked. All adjustments to the brakes are done on the backside of the backing plate so that leaves the English cars like the Midget a pretty sure purpose. I'll keep asking............Keep warm.

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OK, just to be abby-surd consider that after 1 January 1968 it was illegal to sell a pneumatic tire in the United States that was not labeled in accordance with FMVSS-109

(see Section ).

Ref: [Code of Federal Regulations] [Title 49, Volume 5]

PART 571--FEDERAL MOTOR VEHICLE SAFETY STANDARDS

Sec. 571.109 Standard No. 109; New pneumatic tires

S4.3 Labeling Requirements

This means that if you have a tire exactly as delivered on a 1953 automobile it is either much too old to be safe or illegal for street use (and possibly both).

That takes care of the "authenticity" issue regardless of construction or whitewall size. It don't exist.

Given that, I have never seen a car that did not benefit from radials particularly on slippery surfaces (know you would never drive in rain and hide under an overpass if it started but here we have something called "Florida ice" which can be a surprise. The biggest problem is probably going to be finding a modern tire that fits the skinny rims/heavy cars of yore.

Tubes could be a problem on wheels that do not seal well (such as any true wire wheel) but latex paint can often be a solution.

But frankly I would not have bias tires on any car I expected to enjoy. There just is no reason. They wear poorly, run hot, and cost gas. Besides, radial were available here in the early '60s (anyone remember the original Michelin "X" ?)

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Another consideration: damage to the fender if the tire fails. I hope it never happens to a old car, but it has happened to my pickup, van and suburban (and have seen it on big trucks many times). I am not convinced that steel-belted radial tires are the way to go because the steel belt can seperate and tear up the fender as it flies off. For a while I thought that if I used a 'temperature A' rated tire I would be safe. That seperation did $1200 damage. (previous seperations were with 'temperature B' rating. Have not tried a 'C' rated tire. yet. I have had pickup and trailer tires 'load range C' and also 'D' break belts too. Different brands too. (Firestone is NO worse than any other). And I do check the air pressure often! My point is a bias tire is less likely to do damage than a steel radial tire. Any new vibration or 'out of round' feeling gets my attention!:mad:

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Aside from deductions on judged cars, there are pros and cons to radials on OLD cars. The good:they ride, handle, steer, and stop better and are easier to purchase at any tire shop, if looks are not a concern, since the good driving characteristics are why one buys a radial. Now the Bad: someone said earlier when a radial fails the belts rip off causing whipping damage to the fender area, it happened to my friend on a Ferrari $9000 to fix. Production dates on radials is strictly a factor . In many countries radial tires are required to be replaced after 5-6 years due to possible fatigue.This is whether or not the tire is worn. Many bias tires can go over 10-12 years. Usually on our collector cars , bias tires dry rot or cracks become visable before the tire wears out. Radials are expensive and width is important, as some cars have tight fitting skirts. Stepdown Hudson,et al, as example. Stress on the rims should be a concern in extreme manuvers. And tubes may be a requirement. You call it.

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My driver '41 de soto has a set of recap bias truck tires (load range C) that were installed 1975... the casings were old then! I'm still trying to finish them off! (20000 miles):D As to radials on a step down hudson I had a set of radials on a '52 back in 1973 with no clearance problem. I think they were 235/78x15...

Edited by mrspeedyt (see edit history)
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My BFGs are 20 on my Hudson and appear great, Don't think I want to go over 55-60. I agree that most radials will fit, but the wider ones today won't. A friend had a Hornet with radials... a pleasure to drive, although more difficult to steer at very slow speed ,such as parking.

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Seems like these discussions on tires are never ending and always include the Bias Ply tire verses the Radial tire and wheels/rims interchangeability from one to the other. About all one can do is use common sense for the use they intend.

If you want your car to appear exactly as when it came from the showroom floor stay with the size and look of the tires on the car at the time. If that means a Bias Ply tire, so be it. Everyone drove on those through most of the 1960s, some of us even used them at extremely high speeds. I personally have driven cars with Bias Ply tires at speeds over 165 mph and have lived to tell about it. As a personal opinion, cars with manual steering do not steer as easily with radials if the original steering was designed an created during the Bias Ply standard equipment years. It is also absolute fact that no Bias Ply tire will be as safe or handle as well on wet or icy pavement as a Radial Ply tire, with possible exception of the Bias Ply Polyglass tires briefly appearing in the late 1960s, early 1970s.

Myths:

(1) Bias Ply tires will withstand age better than a radial. Regardless of the tire type the synthetic rubber used is basically the same and subject to the same deterioration with age with both tire types. No tire over five years of age is absolutely safe on any vehicle, even if only driven a few miles every year. For those old enough to remember, the typical life expectancy of a Bias Ply tire was rarely greater than 12,000 to 15,000 miles of average driving, that reality has not changed. Do the math. Even if you only drive your vintage car 3,000 miles a year, Bias Ply tires will be used up in five years.

(2) You can't put Radial tires on wheels/rims intended for use with Bias Ply tires. Old wheels can be just as unsafe and prone to failure even with Bias Ply tires, there is no concrete evidence to the contrary; just as there is no concrete evidence Radial tires will result in wheel failure with wheels/rims made before 1970 for use with Bias Ply tires. Metal fatigue is just that, metal fatigue, and just happens when metal is continually stressed, as it is when used in automobile wheel/rim applications.

(3) White wall tires were standard equipment for all cars of the '30s, '40s, 50s, and even '60s. That is a myth except on cars like Lincoln, Cadillac, and top of the line Chryslers. All others came standard with black wall tires. White walls were an option that even in the 1960s added around $2.00 per tire to the cost of the car. Which was one hell of a deal for the car makers considering they were only paying around $2.00 per tire in the first place. Our replacements were considerably more costly, maybe even as much as $12.00 each in the Bias ply days.

(4) Tires that we refer to as wide whites continued into common factory use through the 1950's. Not entirely so. White walls began narrowing with some vehicles in 1958-1959 and became very narrow by the 1970s. Only way to know for sure what is right or looks right on a given car is to invest in sales materials for a given car for a given year. Even that material will not to give you the exact white wall width on any car delivered within its model year and may have varied somewhat within a model year and among various tire vendors, but will give incite to the correct look.

For what it is worth, I've driven from coast to coast more than once on bias ply tires and have no problem doing it again and again. Just as a 1940 something car was driven great distances when they were new the same 1940 something car will make it again if in proper repair and the oil is changed before leaving and/or returning on any trip over 1,500 miles each way. Bias ply tires will do the same.

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