Your special car, truck, or motorcycle may need special tires. Here are some tips.
Automotive collectors, like automotive collectibles, come in all sizes, shapes and ages. But whatever your fancy – 1932 Ford highboy, 1936 Cord, 1970 Boss 302 Mustang, 1953 Indian Scout or 1947 Harley Davidson S-125 – you can’t drive or even display your car or motorcycle without handsome, hand-picked tires.
They also develop flat spots from long storage without being moved. And when tires develop a brownish or whitish hue or begin to show cracks (“checking”) in their sidewalls – or whenever they’re 10 years old or more – it’s time to replace them.
If you’re planning on new rubber for an upcoming event, don’t wait until the last minute. Buying tires for your collector car isn’t as simple as driving to the local tire dealer or discount store. They stock sizes and types suitable for modern cars. On the other hand, virtually any dealer can order the tires you request from a collector-car tire specialist, though it might take a week or more.
While most tire dealers and discount stores can order tires to fit your collector car, they might not know the size and type you really need. You’re also better off working through a specialty company or having your new tires sent to a restoration shop familiar with such wheels if you car has a split rim or delicate alloy wheels.Several companies are characterized as “full service,” meaning they can probably offer tires and advice for anything from a 1903 Oldsmobile to a 1970 Dodge Challenger.
More important, if you’re not sure what tire you need, they can help you make a good choice. Companies like Coker Tire, Lucas Automotive and Universal Vintage Tire have reference materials that include the original factory tire size, rim manufacturer and correct wheel offset. In some cases, they can even provide tires and tubes for early race cars and motorcycles. Thanks to websites and UPS, you don’t need to live near a collector-car tire specialist to gain access to the ideal tire for your antique, classic, hot rod, race car, or motorcycle. These five companies aren’t the only sources for tires, but they are among the best known.
The video below brings back memories for older guys and educates the younger ones about the difference in tires on classic muscle cars a few decades ago.