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AACA tires


Rick Marsh
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We live in an economy which maybe 70% consumption based. Suppliers respond to perceived demand. The AACA vehicle owners have a weak spot in that demand.

Each year we see an increased number of vehicles on our fields which originally had alpha radial tires. These are primarily GM, Ford and Chrysler vehicles from 1975 through 1978. Most called for GR78-15, HR78-15 and LR78-15 tires.

I propose that a register be built identifying AACA vehicle owners who have these vehicles needing these or similar tires.

If they would contact me with year, make/model, tire size & contact information, I will log them into a database.

Once the number of entries is sufficient to gain attention, I will present a summary to Coker, Kelsey & Universal to get their attention and hopefully a commitment.

My contact info is:  Eric C. Marsh  575 Paulownia Drive, China Grove, NC  28023  c-704-267-9383  ECMarsh@ctc.net          I do not text.

I will post progress.    Please spread the word.  We need to build demand!

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I have recieved my new reproduction Goodyear GR-70-15 Whitewall tires from Kelsey a few months ago just in time for the 2016 MCACN. (1st set delivered) Persistence worked this time. I had to show my Radial equipped 1973 Century GS with 14in non radial tires because the radials were not available at the 2015 Va. Beach meet. I got my 1st junior there. Looking forward to showing it again this year with the Radial tires.  P.S. Thanks for all the help and responses for all the help with my question when I posted this in the judging forum

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10 hours ago, JamesBulldogMiller55Buick said:

I didn't know that !! Thanks for that !

I've got one of my car's original US Royal tires.. not still on the car of course..

 

Yes,  My son restored a mid '50s Cadillac for a customer and he bought a set.  I was surprised to see that design.  When I had my '55 Buick I found a NOS wheel and tire at Hershey.  I displayed it in the finished trunk compartment.

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Good morning,

 

I thought this would be a good time to give a status update.  This topic started with a request for details to build a registry.  I stated   If they would contact me with year, make/model, tire size & contact information, I will log them into a database.

 

AS of today, I have received zero letters , phone calls or e-mails.

 

I guess I will expand my request out to the marque clubs.

 

Rick Marsh

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P metric was the Industry replacement for the Alpha numeric radial. If the alpha numeric radials are not available, AACA should accept the P metrics, but we don't....I know quite a few people who wont show their cars in AACA due to the tire issues and HUGELY punitive tire deductions  . We always hear everyone worry about why we have a tough time attracting younger people and substantially increasing our membership...but then we prevent an otherwise potentially 400 point car from being competitive because of these HUGE tire deductions even in the case of P-metrics used in place of Alpha numeric radials... Its counter productive. If the appearance is equivalent to stock, let it go or take fewer points

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Mr. O'Toole,

 

I'll give a short section of the tire CJE:

 

Radials were available starting in 1945.  They did not come on American cars for years because they were more expensive to manufacture than bias ply.  GM started offereing radials in 1967 followed by Ford and finally Chrysler.  The horse power race heated up in the late 60s and a wider footprint was desirable.  The alpha series bias ply was the answer.  In the mid 70's these alpha series morphed into a short leved alpha series radial.

I'm trying to collect owner information in a registry so we can hopefully drive some demand and generate the need to manufacture these tires.

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Hello Jim Jones,

 

The P-Metric was not a replacement for the alpha radial.
 
We as a nation started down the road in the late seventies to convert to the metric system.  We were already making numeric identity radials (first introduced in 1945).  The folks in Akron were not convinced that we should make the change so they created parallel production and called them P-Metric.  The EuroMetric radial and the P-Metric are nearly dimensionally the same. P-Metrics initially were the new tire so that is where the new formulations were tried out.
 
The alpha series radials were dropped because it was too much variation within the inventory thereby driving up cost.
 
P-Metrics were introduced in 1979 and have run in parallel with Eurometric radials ever since. Some manufacturers even have both on their newest offerings as model dependent.
 
As to the deduction, we only have one rule on the judging field and that is the vehicle should look the way it did when it left the dealer with factory authorized accessories.
 
If you hear an owner complaining about a large  deduction, it most often is because they are more focused on the trophy than on the authenticity of the restoration. 
 
I’m trying to collect enough data in a owner registry so that we can get they alpha radials back into manufacture.  That is the primary reason for this subject thread.
 
If you want to help, I would appreciate it.  I can always use all the help I can get.
 
If you are looking for a sounding board for complaints, I am not a candidate.
 
I personally know plenty of young people who have come into this hobby. They are attracted to AACA because of our openness, our depth of knowledge, our love of the hobby and our commitment to the history (authenticity) of vehicles that came from factories.  Many of them have no use for class judging because of the time and expense. You will find many of them in DPC, HPOF and on the tours.
 
 
 
See you down the road,
 
Eric Marsh
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Jim Jones, I completely agree with you.

 

I am all for cars appearing authentic, that's why I joined the AACA.  The organization appears willing to accept replacement parts for most wear items that are sympathetic to the car's original equipment.  Thus, a set of bright yellow Accel ignition wires is frowned upon, bit a subtle set of black wires from the corner parts store is fine.

 

In restoring my dad's 1978 Mercury Marquis I hit the alphanumeric road block.  I was able to get a tire exception letter (kidneys are easier to source) and I'm delighted my car earned a Senior at Hershey this fall.  It did so sitting on a set of British tires that were manufactured for Bentleys and Rolls Royces.  They cost a small fortune. My boys are 13, 11, and 7. I probably should have put that small fortune into their college funds as the only value in these tires is winning the prize. They are no more authentic than any P-series tire I might have found.

 

But I'm afraid either you and I are in the minority or we're part of a very silent majority.  Younger people are interested in cars but justifying the costs of tires or absorbing the punitive point deduction is a real turn off.

 

I'm 46 and I don't think their were 5 people younger than me with cars entered at the Auburn Spring Meet last year.  We can pretend making it virtually impossible to get a 70's car to the Senior level isn't a turn off to the people who grew up loving those machines, and a few principled folks might be right, but those principles are a disservice to the future of my favorite car club.

 

Mr. Marsh, I sincerely applaud your effort to build a critical mass of buyers.  I'm happy to see the club offer a pathway forward.  I fear given the numerous variations on tire sizes and styles and the limited years they were used, these tires will always be prohibitively expensive.  Sadly, they'll become safety hazards from age in 7 years or so and will require expensive replacements... all this just so a Judge on his knee doesn't see the letter P.

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Good morning Mr. Farrell,  I applaud you on the efforts on the Mercury.  Some cars are much more difficult to do than others.  I'm restoring a 1934 Airflow and a Packard or a Buick would have probably been easier.  Yes, I would like to build a registry of AACA owner vehicles needing Alpha radial tires.  I also recognize that this is a small number of owners and all the more reason why a grouping will offer advantages.

I also caution looking at AACA only through the lenses of the judged vehicles.  This is an expensive side of the hobby and many young people have other financial priorities.  I was one of those when in my 30s and 40s the college tuition bill took priority over the Pontiac I owned.

I find many young AACA members embrace the DPC and HPOF  side and I see young families coupling their family vacation with an AACA National Tour.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Gentlemen: I have a '73 Dodge D-100 4 X 2. The service manual lists G78 15 and H78 15 as the tires for that vehicle. I can't narrow it down any better than that. For judging purposes, would either tire size be correct?? the H78  X 15  (7.60 X 15 replacement) is probably an option?? that year.   Ben

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Good morning bdilljr,   I would look for better detailed information than the service manual before purchasing tires. A copy of the owner's manual or a copy of the sales literature will more clearly identify what was the standard and what options were available as to tires for your Dodge.

 

Eric Marsh

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  • 3 weeks later...

Well, I attended the Western National Meet in Palm Springs this March. I am a Life Member. My car is a 1978 AMC Concord D/L coupe with a 232Ci and a 4 speed and factory A/C. It is a very rare model as equipped It is as close to a 400 point car as one could expect. The only gig that I expected was for the Craig am/fm  8 track Dealer Installed stereo. AMC never offered a AMC "brand" am/fm 8 track: only a am 8 track or am/ fm radio. So dealers made a few extra bucks contracting vendors to accommodate buyers desires. I was surprised when the team captain advised me that P/70 series tires were not offered until 1979 (78-79 same class 27M). I say surprised, but not so sore that I was ready to kick dirt on the "umpire". But, I probably won't enter the car again in point judging. AMC offered DR78/14 as a added option to the bias tires. The present conversion is P195R78/14 and they are the only style that is close ( or exact) to original. That is what I plan to buy, because as previously stated radial tires can be unsafe after 7-8 years. Discount Tire will not even repair a radial past 7 years. Let's be frank, AMC  are lovers' cars, and don't bring in big bucks. I can't even imagine that anyone would produce a custom tire( no P) for 70s economy cars.  Cost vs. return on investment is why we don't see many at AACA Meets. So I intend to drive the Concord, and only show it locally, when convenient. I think that is a shame and an injustice that cars such as Gremlins Pintos Corvairs and so many economy cars are at such an disadvantage. After all they were most of the cars that many folks actually drove. But that's the Umps call.

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Good afternoon,

I started this thread back on March 06 in order to gather information into a registry of vehicle owners from the mid 70s who wish to restore their vehicles to the original state including the tires. In the past, owner of vehicles from the 20s did this on their own. In the past, the owners of sports cars collected the information and that statement of demand translated into several suppliers stepping up to the need.

rons49, I am trying to work this issue by building an owners list as you will find if you reread the original post of 06 March 2017.

If, however, you wish to complain about AACA using this thread, I am not a good audience.

 

Rick Marsh 

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Who is the person of contact? I just went on line and there are DOT conversion charts by many  vendors . This is one https://www.tirerack.com/tires/tiretech/45_conversionchart.jsp  . Radial tires are not as forgiving as the old bias tires, so care must be given to the proper conversion from the old nomenclatures. This is a guide for many of our members. I know that you are an innocent bystander. This statement is only for other members information. But for sure I will use the proper tire according to the DOT and safety regulations, not the ones required to win a trophy. My car was equipped with D/78R -14 tires and the correct conversion is P195/75R-14 . Foreign cars used the non-P style. These may work but are incorrect for my light load.    IMO the old judges guide should take precedent, that is, radials after 1976 are ok on all US cars. Simple as that.  Stay well, Ron

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Wow!  Where do I start.

Reread the initial start of this thread and the contact for building this registry is Me.  Send your location information, type of vehicle and desired tire size and I'll add you to the registry.

 

If you want to contact the DOT, the contact is ....?????

 

In the meantime, have you considered displaying your AMC in the DPC.? That is where I display my 1964 Barracuda.

 

OBTW, the correct conversion for DR78/14s is 185/75R14s  not the P-metrics which came later.

 

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Rons49, it was suggested to me that I show my rotisserie restored 1978 Marquis in DPC as well purely because of the tire issue.  While I haven't seen your Concord, it sounds incredible and I hope you take no offense at that suggestion.  While our club claims an interest in attracting younger members, the cars we grew up with face very real (club-imposed) barriers that diminish our ability to participate at the top level... but this discussion forum is no place to discuss such things.  

 

Given the apparent apathy toward's Mr.Marsh's well-intended efforts, my hunch is class 27M will continue to see few Senior cars... reinforcing the perception that cars of this era have little collector value.  I'm sure we'll still see Aspens and Spirits and such, but with the tire barriers these cars face in our club they'll surely go elsewhere instead.  

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Hello Mr. Sweet,   We put an article in the Antique Automobile magazine in May of 2016 which addressed this very issue.  In the case of vehicles from the 70s, radials were being produced in parallel to alpha radials. A conversion chart will identify which of the parallel (period correct) tires are applicable.  Example  a   LR78/15  versus a 235R75/15.

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  • 3 weeks later...
Hello Mr. Sweet,   There is not a short answer but, I will attempt to keep it short.  If the exact tire you seek is not currently in production, I suggest you seek a period correct tire that is being produced.

Example: a 1978 Lincoln with an LR78R-15 is not in production.   Lucas is advertizing a 235/ 75R-15 white wall tire.

So this would be very close to the same size and it is the same type.

There was an article about this in the Antique Automobile Magazine last year, I believe the May issue, that gives you more detail on this subject.

Thnaks,

Rick Marsh

 

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On 4/26/2017 at 11:55 PM, ted sweet said:

so what is allowed when the correct tire isn't reproduced?

 

The rulebook explains you just need to submit proof that the tires aren't available and then you can get a tire exception letter.  I'd think the rulebook would take precedence over a magazine article.  I took this at face value and found, with my car nearly complete and JR78-15's long gone, that getting JR78-15's was almost easier than getting an exception letter.  Given the 5-point penalty per tire, you can consider your car essentially ineligible for a coveted Senior if you don't have a letter.

 

i feel the apathetic response to Mr. Marsh's well-intended efforts speaks to just how few club members care to spend a small fortune on "period appropriate" tires that look no different from a P-metric radial.  There's great respect for honorable rules but the punitive policies chase enthusiasts away.

 

We may hear of the great differences, but if members cared they'd be signing up for these Gerald Ford era tires and instead I'm just hearing crickets.

 

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There's another thread that is looking for a way to attract younger people to the AACA.

Rules such as the tire rule cited above are enough to turn away all ages from the AACA.

 

 

I can get rules abiding tires for my car, because enough people lined up to buy those tires.

The same thing can happen for the Gerald Ford era cars. If, enough people sign up.

Edited by JamesBulldogMiller55Buick
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OK boys and girls,   I displayed a car and helped judge this last weekend at the AACA National Meet in Auburn.  This left me time to get around and see nearly all of the vehicles on the field including 15 vehicles from the Classic Car Club as this was a joint meet.

 

Lots of good looking vehicles and lots of proud owners whether they were chasing a trophy or not.

 

I spoke to nearly every owner  in classes 27K,L,&M because these are the classes that cover 1973 to 1978 vehicles which may have come with Alpha series radials.

 

This effort placed two more names on the registry of AACA owners who would like these tires to see a production date.

 

I've now been to the Forum, Speedster, the Rummage Box and the Buick Club.   I'll continue to talk with each owner at each National Meet that I attend.

 

What I don't quite have the answer to is the following.   The owners of the 1920s cars, some years ago and without the internet were able to band together and get their tires into production.    The sports car guys got together and got their radials into production.  Within the last two years, the Corvette guys got together and got the GR70-15 in production by working with Kelsey Tire.

 

So why is it that the 1973 to 1978 production AACA car owners cannot move from  "I" can't   to "We" can't ?

 

I spent a whole career fixing problems.  The six years we are talking about is only 5% of the years displayed at each meet. 

 

I'm committed to fixing this supply issue.   I'd appreciate some help in spreading the word.

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  • 1 month later...

Good evening Dennis Jones,

 

We do a display at each of our AACA National Meets.  People are most familiar with the restored vehicles in class judging. Each is supposed to represent how a vehicle left the dealer with factory authorized accessories.  Back in 1988 we expanded to include vehicles with original features.  This is our rolling library and is the Historic Preservation of Original Features class (HPOF). Vehicles are only original once so this is something special.  Around 2000 we expanded to include those vehicles that are 25 years and older that are driven vehicles. This Driver Participation Class (DPC) is quite popular because for a smaller investment, you can enjoy an antique vehicle. The vehicle can have some deviations from original but is still expected to reflect the era. A modern radio would be acceptable but mag wheels would not be acceptable for example.

 

I'm fortunate enough to have a vehicle for each class and enjoy them for what they represent.  My DPC vehicle is also a daily driver.  Why drive a new car when you can drive an antique.?

 

Rick Marsh

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Rick Marsh,

Thanks for explaining to me the difference in classes.  I guess my 33 Chevy would be entered in the DPC class because I have installed a 6 volt alternator on it and those little oval mirrors to see in the blindspots for changing lanes.  Oh yes, and somebody prior to me converted it to a rumble seat.

 

Dennis Jones

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Edited by Dennis Jones (see edit history)
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On 7/4/2017 at 0:14 AM, Dennis Jones said:

Rick Marsh,

Thanks for explaining to me the difference in classes.  I guess my 33 Chevy would be entered in the DPC class because I have installed a 6 volt alternator on it and those little oval mirrors to see in the blindspots for changing lanes.  Oh yes, and somebody prior to me converted it to a rumble seat.

 

Dennis Jones

 

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Dennis, I would try class judging first. Those items you listed will not take that many points from your car on the Meet Field. I would also think that the side mirrors could easily be taken off if you were serious about an award, then replaced after the Meet.

 

Wayne

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  • 3 weeks later...
On 3/10/2017 at 3:14 PM, FLYER15015 said:

And you have got to include my 'B-16's" !!!!

100_1235.jpg

I took a set of Martin tires off  a 1941 Packard Darrin.  I suspect Martin was all but gone out of business by late 1960's (and do not know history, but suspect they became Lester tire).   The point of my post though is that we had been driving around sorting out the car and just did not get to the new tire project as soon as we should have - and when we demounted the wheels the rim bead on the tire was 2/3 separated (in thickness) around 80% of the rim area on all 4 wheels (aka - we were "playing with fire" and the tires had seen their day even though they still were in amazing condition as far as no tread wear, white whitewall, no visible cracking, and ....).

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John,

I'm sorry for your loss.

In the 6 years we have had our car, all 4 tires have been dismounted and inspected 3 times (every other year) and they are now due again.

Cost for their biannual inspection is $50.00

We put less than 1K on them each year and so far my local tire guy is amazed at their condition, inside and out.

ANY concern on his part and he will not remount them !!!

A new set of Lesters is in our plan, and we are waiting a full road report on them from "Dave's Buick" on the Pre War forum.

I've been told that the Martin's are worth more than the car, and it is really a shame to be driving around the Colorado mountains on them, but they look so beautiful on the "Baby".

 

Mike in Colorado

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