Ben P.

Has anyone tried these Blockley clincher tires?

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This is a stretch — maybe someone across the pond has tried them?

Posted this on the MTFCA site as they are a common Model T Ford size - a lot of good input, but haven’t heard from anyone who’s tried them yet.

https://www.blockleytyre.com/product/30x3-5
 

Authentic looking period diamond tread which vanished after Montgomery Ward took over the clincher tire market once those rims became obsolete. This tread appears in every single incidental period car photo in the old family albums.

The price and/or import duties + shipping (the VAT tax does NOT apply to US buyers) do not concern me at all. I am inquiring with the company tomorrow to ask WHERE they are made. Currently, all clincher tires from Coker, Universal et. al., are made in Vietnam and the quality is — well, most people can’t get more than 3 yrs. heavy touring out of them.

 

If you’ve tried these tires I’d like to hear from you before I make the leap.... Particularly interested in how they handle on the car. 

Thanks!

 

pics below: 1) Blockley in question. 2) 1916 or 17 (I think) Maxwell - family album. 3) Period tire sale - Unattributed uploaded photo found on that worthless parasite spam-master site called Pinterest.

 


 

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100 miles without a flat and 1000 mile total life was quite normal pre WWI.

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30x3-1/2 is not going to be a long life size no matter what you do. They never were. 3 years heavy touring sounds pretty good to me. The longest lasting are allegedly the Wards Riverside 30x3-1/2 oversize of years past. They are available in replica, but word on the street is that the new Riverside last about the same as other reproductions, except "non skid", which have an even shorter life due to less rubber on the ground. I have some new Riversides but haven't run them enough to know.

 

I have not had any Blockley's yet, but their market is primarily vintage racing, and many of their later larger sizes are DOT approved and speed rated! You sure don't want any failures on the track. Chances are good these tires will be a cut above the other brands. They are expensive. The 30x2-1/2 is a recent addition at Blockley. I haven't heard of anyone trying them yet either.

 

In larger sizes, Blockley are sticklers for the correct narrow dimensions (or so they claim). 30x3-1/2" clinchers made after world war one are really 31x4". You might check Blockley's actual dimensions if that matters to you. It wouldn't surprise me if these are 30x3-1/2 actual, and if so are going to look a bit narrow compared to other model T tires. I would also expect Blockley to be more concerned with good traction than tread life.

 

As for the country of origin, I don't know. I heard a few years back that those Vietnam factories are the only ones still equipped to make clincher tires. My new riversides have "made in Vietnam" stickers on them. I would like to hear what you find out.

 

 

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Tinindian, yeah you aren’t kidding about tire life in the day.

Bloo, yup I’ll keep you all posted with what I find out. 31x4 is what was originally called for on this particular car. Blockley claims these are 31.496” in overall diameter and 3.937” in width - sounds awfully close.

It was exciting to find this old tread pattern. I may end up being the Guinea pig as far as tread life+quality go. Though that may be a year out as the poor car’s engine is at the start of a rebuild.

One thing’s for sure, the tires currently on it have to go! 2 of them are Olympic, ‘made in Australia’ - could well be older than me. Was told that they were last made in early 70’s. No idea how many miles are on them, but found 40 years worth of Hershey PA campsite tickets in the car’s map pocket - imagine it was toured heavily for many years.

(No I haven’t driven on these cracked tires very far. A bit around the backyard and maybe 6-7 miles down the road - enough to discover why the engine smoked. Though I was pressing my luck🙂)

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Olympic hasn't been in business for a very long time, they were made in Melbourne - there original buildings are still around if you google them (they're heritage protected) 

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Hmmmm...I grew up in Dad's recapping shop. Maybe there is a market for recapping vintage tires....

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Recapping vintage tires? At the risk of sounding prejudice - not on a car I can’t replace.

Though to be honest, the only thing I know about recapped tires is what my grandfather said about them. He was always real glad other people bought them! He owned a Taxi service from about 1930 to 1948. Not that recapped tire purchasers would be customers (though they often were), but in the days before synthetic rubber (when rubber would often run scarce) he always had access to better stuff.

I think 1/2 the reason he had that business was so he had access to better quality stuff. Tires for one, heavy duty brakes, and most of all - heavy duty generators that could charge 2 batteries he wired in series (or parallel - I forget his exact words). Of course after the government put restrictions on rubber use in the summer of 1941 he had access to new tires long after everyone else - even new car dealers!


Seriously though, I doubt it. The Vietnam tires are cr*p through and through. Wouldn’t be worth it on those. The older quality tires, Wards Riverside and Australian Olympic’s — at this point they’re all 45+ yrs old. Couldn’t possibly be safe with a recap at this point.

BTW, I’m not the last idiot with 1970’s Olympics. There are a few T’s still running around out there with a pair still on the rear wheels.

That really say’s something about the 3,000-mile -and-shot Vietnam cr*p....

Edited by Ben P.
Auto-spell interference (see edit history)

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Well, Blockley answered my inquiry, these tires ARE made in Vietnam — or Thailand if I read this correctly.

 

Below is a cut-and-paste of their response:

 

The Blockley beaded edge range, or Clincher as it is sometimes called in the US, got made because I have many cars which need these tyres - from an early 1900 Darracq to others including the 1916 Indianapolis Sunbeam which I race (with 880x120 and 895x135) , plus early Bentleys ( 820x120 and 880x120), and a 2 litre GP Delage V12 I am restoring which is on 820x120. 

It took 10 years from my first drawing to getting a prototype 710x90 tyre. I needed to first understand the reasons why the stuff made now is so bad otherwise mine would be not much better. People making them think it must be straight forward and "how hard can it be if it was done 100 years go" - but they'd be wrong. All the knowledge has been lost, and my Engineering background has helped a little in fathoming out the issues. I have driven my Indy Sunbeam to 120mph (3200 in top) at Goodwood, something I wouldn't dream of doing on anything else the wholesalers are pumping out.

Beaded edge can only be made today in either Vietnam as you say, or Thailand - no where else is interested. When I was making my tyres I was told that it wouldnt work because that is not how beaded edge is made etc etc and I pointed out politely that since I was paying up front for this and that tooling, sand supplying them a mould and so on, that if it didnt work out they would still be well paid. After doing all this, then we had to keep going on about alterations in the sidewall that were essentaial and then eventually we made something that I can say is the best beaded edge tyre ever produced. The reason for this is that I know they are as good as beaded edge was in the 1920's, yet made with better materials not then available (nylon cord instead of cotton cord, and much better rubber). Perhaps because materials are better today Coker etc think whatever they make will be fine but that isn't the case. But I spend alot on the rubber I use, so I get really good grip, yet te tyres don't wear out - read what Mr Frankel says about my 820x120 tyres on the Blockley website.

Also we have had to produce inner tubes - one tube per tyre size. Not one tube with a multitude of sizes written on it that gets sold for a multitude of tyre sizes. The Michelin beaded edge lists 5 sizes on one tube. I make 4 tubes to cover their one.

https://www.blockleytyre.com/product/30x3-5

The tyres are in stock and the tread pattern is based on what I thought looked best in period in the photos I looked at. The price is £149 plus postage to the USA.

The not so good news is that I have been making a really good inner tube to suit this tyre, which has been going on for a while (making the mould and other tooling, prototyping etc and realistically I will not have this tube for another 5 or 6 weeks. These have a nickel plated stem 60mm long.

I'll ask Lee to contact you to let you know the cost for 5 tyres plus shipping so you know the price. The £ is historically "cheap" at about $1.30 to the £. Or $1 = £0.77 so it is good for US customers. The only down side is the postage which we do at cost, but ideally I really need to get a good stock of them with someone in the USA. These tyres are in a different league to anything you will have experienced - they came about mainly as a result of a Model T man over here who deals and repairs Model T's (Tuckett Brothers) who said how bad the tyres are now, but they have no choice, and could I do something about it.. VCoker has been trying to shut me down for a good 15 years, so I thought "why not! And made a lovely 440/450x21 size for the later Model T's with a period correct pattern. There is a 30x3 in progress. .  

Best Wishes,

Julian.

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Vietnam, Thailand, whatever — I’m placing an order for 5 in May. They do use nylon rather than cotton cord, and even if quality is no better than the Vietnam clinchers currently known on the market — the accuracy with which they captured the period diamond tread design is stunning. Hasn’t been around for 80yrs.

I’m still game.

Though, as mentioned, I won’t be able to test them on the car until the engine is rebuilt. That looks to be about a year.

 

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Improved tubes would find a ready market. Their quality has been poor in recent years.

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On 1/20/2020 at 5:50 PM, Ben P. said:

Below is a cut-and-paste of their response:

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I like that fellow’s response. It makes me want to buy a set of those tires even if I don’t have a vehicle they will fit on. It sounds like there is quite a bit of attention to detail and if he trusts his own life on them while racing at speeds my later car will never see he must have confidence in them.

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Lucas Classic Tire does currently sell some Blockley non-clincher tires. Racing type mostly:

https://www.lucasclassictires.com/Blockley_c30.htm
From their own UK website they also sell Crossply, Radial, and straight side types:

https://www.blockleytyre.com/category/crossply-tyres

(you might have to backtrack through their main menu on that last above link to find the whole range though.)
The beaded edge (or clinchers) are new.

 

 

Edited by Ben P. (see edit history)

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If Blockley is good enough for the jolly gentleman who drives this 1926 Speed Six hard and fast,..................

 

 

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I'm more impressed with all the HAY they rounded up for this........ 😮

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