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Sharing tire advice for a late 30's cruiser - thank you Mr. Harwood


Stude Light
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I finally got my 1939 LaSalle on the road after an engine, trans, driveline and chassis rebuild. I spent a lot more money than I wanted to, but my desire was to have a reliable touring car that I could put plenty of miles on without worrying what was going to fail next.  That's when I looked at the tires.  The bias ply wide whitewalls looked to be in really nice shape and they were barely worn, but from the date code it appeared they were made sometime in the early 1990s. I've read plenty of stories on this forum and have my own RV and trailer tire stories to tell and that is: Beauty is only skin deep, it's what's on the inside you can't see that counts (wait! seems I've heard this somewhere before). Anyway, I figured I would have to go spend even more money and buy a new set of bias ply whitewalls before I started to enjoy the car.

 

Before spending another pile of cash, I decided to seek some advice first and reached out to Matt Harwood.  I don't know Matt but I met him briefly at Hershey last year and, from his forum posts, he seemed like a pretty stand up guy, plus I knew he has been around the block a few times (no pun) with this era car and loves to drive his '41 Buick.  He was gracious enough to respond and offered up his experiences.  From that correspondence I decided to check into radials and reached out to Diamondback Tire. The guy that answered the phone was Bill Chapman.  What a nice guy.  He spent a lot of time with me on the phone and explained how their Auburn Deluxe Radials might be a good choice for my car.  Sure, he wanted me to buy his product but it wasn't a salesman pitch but rather, some info about the design and some of the issues they had specifying and getting dimensions correct.  I needed a 7.00 x 16 but he only had the 7.50 x 16 but since they were made a little undersize would probably be fine. In the end I decided to buy a set and he threw the beauty bars in for free. Then I talked tubes...he's like "no, no...no tubes.  Your rims will accept a tubless tire no problem. Tubes will only give you grief."  Okay, we'll see.

 

I already had all the car's alignment specs all dialed in, got the tires swapped out and balanced (it did take a lot of weight - put most on the inside but still needed some outside).  Wow, what a great looking tire (has the raised beauty bar and pie crust edge) and what a great ride! Compared to the BF Goodrich Silvertown bias plys that were on the car, they tracked a lot better and the ride quality was much better. Truly impressed.  And yes, they all hold air fine. I have a few hundred miles on and really enjoy driving it.

 

This reads a bit like an advertisement but I really just wanted to share my experience and, rather than a PM, I want to thank you Matt for the great advice that steered me to abandon the bias ply and go with radials! Very happy I did.

Scott

 

And as a side note, I did give away my old tires to a new owner rather than filling up the landfill - not being used as a driver.

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Edited by Stude Light (see edit history)
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