Tag: Tyres

The Science Behind “Big and Little” Tire Combinations – @CokerTyre

The Science Behind “Big and Little” Tire Combinations – @CokerTyre


Okay, so it’s not really science. Big and little tires are your preference and it’s a method of customization that hot rodders have been using for decades. It originated from racing, as most forms of racers (dirt track, Indy and drag racing) would fit racecars with smaller front tires and wheels and larger rear tires and wheels. The smaller fronts reduced rolling resistance and weight, while the larger rear tires provided more traction and a modification to the final drive ratio. The look translated well to street-driven hot rods, and it is a timeless design that is still be utilized to this day. Hot rodders have experimented with various combinations, and continue to do so, while holding a measuring tape and their trusty Coker Tire catalog for reference. Whether you choose the traditional look of bias ply tires, or the upgraded handling of a radial tire, there are dozens of combinations that give you the timeless big and little look. It’s also important to look at wheel sizing, as staggering the diameter and width can provide a more aggressive stance with the right tire selection. We’re proud of our extensive tire and wheel size selection, and we’re sure that we can accommodate even the wildest big and little tire combination, so if you’re setting up the stance on your hot rod, call us and we can help you dial it in with the right tires and wheels. You can also call up on the help of our neighbors at Honest Charley Speed Shop if you’re working on the chassis and suspension for your hot rod. For now, let’s take a look at some awesome examples of hot rods that perfectly embody the big and little look. We made an effort to keep it consistent with the chassis style (1932 Ford), so that you see the dramatic changes by simply swapping tires and wheels. You can use these hot rods to draw some inspiration for your build and see how you can match up a set of big and little tires and wheels

This 1932 Ford Vicky has a distinct tire and wheel combination that really enhances the stance. It’s rolling on a set of our Firestone Dirt Track tires, sized at 500-17 and 820-19, mounted to custom Hot Rod Steel wheels that are powder coated black for a sinister appearance. This combination is not only “big and little” but also “tall and skinny” with a difference of 6 inches in overall diameter.

This is a more common approach to big and little tires and wheels. This 1932 Ford roadster has similar chassis and suspension modifications as the rest of the cars featured, but uses a set of our BF Goodrich Silvertown Radial whitewall tires for the perfect amount of rubber rake. The car features a 165R15 front tires and a 285/70R15 rear tire, giving it 5-1/2 inches of difference between the front and rear tire diameters. The wheels are Hot Rod Steel, powder coated red and sized at 15×5 and 15×8

The most exaggerated combination in our featured group of big and little tires is this full fendered 1932 Ford roadster, built by Adams Hot Rod Shop. It features Firestone Dirt Track tires, sized at 500-15 and 820-17, wrapped around a set of stock style wire wheels. The diameter difference on this combination is a touch over 8 inches and it really gives this car a wicked look

While this 1932 Ford Tudor sedan looks subdued in comparison to some the wild combinations of big and little tires, it still has an aggressive look. It features a set of Firestone Deluxe Champion bias ply tires, sized at 500/525-16 and 750-16. This combination provides a diameter difference of 5 inches

A popular design for big and little tire combinations is our Excelsior Stahl Sport Radial. We offer these tires in a variety of sizes, and they have the narrow tread profile of a bias ply tire with the construction of a modern radial. This 1932 Ford roadster features a combination of 500R16 front tires and 750R16 rear tires, wrapped around our Hot Rod Steel wheels. Diameter difference on this combination is 6-1/2 inches

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How can you preserve your tires from age-related rot? – Kurt Ernst @Hemmings

Sometimes, no amount of care is going to help. Photo by author

Tires may be the most overlooked—and most misunderstood—component on your car. While modern tires are incredibly capable (even compared to those made a decade back), they still require some degree of care and feeding to maximize their lifespans.Reader Doug Higbee recently chimed in with a rather specific question about tire care, asking:

Tires age. ‘We’ know this to be the case. What would be Hemmings recommendation to preserve tires from age-related rot?  I cannot confirm what I was advised many years ago: Using a pure silicone spray on the tire will help replenish what has dried from the tire over time. I have witnessed this absorption to be extremely rapid after the spray contacts the tire, leading me to believe it benefits a ‘thirsty’ tire. What is your take on this?

First and foremost, we need to acknowledge that modern tire compounds have evolved at an incredibly fast pace. In some cases, they’ve become even more specialized, too: Modern summer-only performance tires offer a level of grip unimaginable in a street tire a few decades back, but the window in which they can be safely used has grown smaller. Both Pirelli and Michelin warn that summer-only tires may be subject to sidewall cracking in low temperatures, voiding any manufacturer’s warranty.With this in mind, the rubber compounds used in a modern tires differ from the rubber compounds used in tires years ago. What may have been good advice for a ’60s-era bias-ply, or an ’80s-era radial, may be harmful to tires today. For advice on proper tire care, we looked to Goodyear, which manufactured over 169 million tires (of all types) in 2021

Per the Akron, Ohio-based manufacturer, sidewall and tread weathering, often referred to as dry rot, is a result of the breakdown of compounds used to make the tire. Though a natural age-related process, several things can accelerate this, including UV exposure, environmental extremes (particularly a hot, dry climate), high ozone levels, underinflation, and lack of use. Tires benefit from regular exercise, and don’t like to remain stationary for extended lengths of time. According to South Bend, Indiana, (and online) vendor the Tire Rack, “The repeated stretching of the rubber compound actually helps deter cracks from forming.”To care for tires, Goodyear recommends cleaning them regularly with water and a mild dish soap, followed by a rinse with clean water. The manufacturer cautions against the use of some tire dressings, specifically those that contain petroleum distillates. While these products may temporarily enhance a tire’s appearance, in the long run petroleum products can prematurely age a tire. The Tire Rack backs this up, advising that excessive use of tire cleaners and dressings can remove anti-oxidants and ozone protectants from the tire’s rubber compounds.

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That Great Old Tire Look – Dan Stoner @Hemmings


Remember those great old Firestone gold-line Indy tires? Those real wide ones that look great on GT40s and Shelbys and just about any track car, pre-1975? There’s something about the shape and style of those bias-ply tires that looked so much better than the radials that came after them, and these Indys are right up there with a piecrust slick and a pizza-cutter front runner. It’s as if a Great Being in the sky looked down upon us gearheads and said, “Look, you’ve foolishly squandered your life’s savings on these damn things, so your punishment is that you can either have tires that perform well or tires that look really great. But you can’t have both.”

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Tasty: slots and bias-plys! – Dan Stoner @Hemmings


Here’s one of your author’s biggest pet peeves: the wrong tire choice on an otherwise bitchin’ car. Do you know that pain? You feelin’ that? Does it even matter to you? The Great Bracket Racer In The Sky as our witness, a new rounded-corner, sensible radial on a period-perfect, pre-’75 muscle car causes a rash that takes weeks to disappear.

Now, one of the cures for a rash like that is to start scouring social media for vintage snapshots of cars done right, just because everything was new at that moment and all the parts and goodies and custom touches were nothing more than the stuff available in stores. And, really, isn’t that the whole point? Aren’t we building and driving and loving and hating and buying and selling these cars because we’ve got a love for nostalgia and truly believe car design was better at some point in the past? That’s a lot to unpack, but it’s right…right?

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Determining Tyre Age: DOT Code Explained – OPONEO.CO.UK


Do car tyres have an expiration date? Does the age of a tyre actually matter? These are the most common questions asked by car owners thinking of replacing old tyres. Even if your tyres don’t show much wear after a few years of driving, bear in mind that they are considered “new” for up to 5 years from the manufacture date. It’s good to know what the tyre age is then – it’s not advisable to rely only on a visual inspection of the tyre wear.

What is the tyre DOT code?

Each tyre has an imprinted DOT code on the sidewall. DOT stands for the Department of Transportation and the code is made of numbers and letters – they indicate the place and date of the tyre’s manufacture.

Read on to find out how to check the tyre’s date and place of manufacture and why the age of a tyre matters.

To begin with, watch our expert video:

Production year – how can you check the tyre age?  

The DOT abbreviation is followed by numbers that indicate the tyre factory code and date, respectively. Production time is indicated by the last three or four digits.

Three-digit numbers indicate a production date before 2000; the first two digits stand for the production week and the last one indicates the year.

For example, 346 means the 34th week of 1986 or 1996. To indicate that the tyre was manufactured in the 90s and to distinguish it from products from the previous decade, the triangle symbol is shown.

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You’re ignoring the most important part of your car: Five things to know about tires – Kurt Ernst @Hemmings


Tires are the Rodney Dangerfield of car parts: They can’t get any respect. On the daily driver, they’re likely to be ignored until one goes flat, and on the project car, they’re likely to be the last thing in line for an upgrade. Yet those in the know understand that tire technology has advanced by leaps and bounds over the past two or three decades, and for those seeking improved performance, tires may offer the biggest single bang for the buck out there.

Consider this: Tires control how much torque you can translate into forward motion, how much speed you can carry into a corner, and how quickly you can scrub off speed. Don’t believe us? Borrow the keys to a Challenger Hellcat or equivalent and see how difficult it is to get a good launch on street tires. Sure, 700-plus horsepower sounds impressive, but if the car (or driver) has a hard time getting that to the ground, it’s just a number.

Admittedly, other components play a part, too, but tires are far easier—and likely less expensive—to upgrade than engines, transmissions, suspensions, and brakes. They’re also wear items that need to be monitored closely throughout their lifespan, especially if your car sees the occasional track day. Or, if you live in parts of the country where rain, cold temperatures, snow, and ice are harsh realities for part of the year.Below are five things to consider when shopping for a new set of rubber, whether it’s for your daily driver or a weekend toy.

To many, the codes on a passenger car tire’s sidewall might as well be Egyptian hieroglyphics, but with a little bit of information, they’re not mystifying at all. Here, we’ll focus on passenger car radial tire size, which is typically a sequence of three numbers followed by a forward slash, two more numbers, a letter or two, then two more numbers, a space, two numbers and a letter (like 205/55R16 91W).

The first number in the example above, 205, is the section width as measured in millimeters across the tread from sidewall to sidewall: This tire is 205 mm, or 8.07 inches, wide. Next comes the number after the forward slash, or in this case 55. This is called the aspect ratio, and it is a measurement of the sidewall height, expressed as a percentage of the tread width. Doing a bit of math, 55 percent of 205 mm works out to be 112.75 mm, or 4.44 inches.

Now, we get into the letters (or letter) following the aspect ratio. Tires made after 1991 typically have one letter, “R,” denoting radial construction. The exception is “ZR,” which indicates a “Z” speed rating of “in excess of” 149 mph. The adjacent numbers indicate the diameter of the wheel (16 inches, in our example above).

Modern tires also include a load index and speed rating (or clarification). The 91 cited in our example means that the tire will safely carry a weight of 615 kilograms, or 1,356 pounds. It’s most relevant as a baseline; when replacing passenger car tires, it’s okay to go with ones carrying a higher load rating, but not ones rated below the manufacturer’s specified load rating. Finally, the “W” indicates the tire’s speed rating, in this case up to 168 mph. (This can also be displayed with a “ZR” next to the aspect ratio, clarifying the maximum speed of the tire instead of just a range.) Listing all service ratings and speed ratings would fill most of a page, but this information is readily available online.

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BFGoodrich Tire Company (Wikipedia)


My gone but not forgotten US Spec Ford Ranger was shod with BFG rubber

Founded by Dr. Benjamin Franklin Goodrich in 1870, the B.F. Goodrich Company, later known as BFGoodrich, was among the first rubber tire manufacturers to be located west of the Appalachian mountain range. In the previous year, Goodrich had purchased the Hudson River Rubber Company. Based in Akron, Ohio, the BFGoodrich Company began as a manufacturer of rubberized hoses, which were sold mostly as firehoses. The company also produced rubberized belts, similar to those used on modern vehicles as serpentine belts (fan belt). As the company grew, it began to manufacture pneumatic bicycle tires, eventually leading to the production of pneumatic automobile tires in 1896, making BFGoodrich the first company in the United States to manufacture this type of tire.


BFGoodrich was not the only tire manufacturer in the United States at the turn of the 20th Century. Among its competitors were GoodyearFirestoneGeneral and Uniroyal. Due to extensive research and scientific methods, such as tire wear evaluation and longevity testing, BFGoodrich was at the leading edge of the industry. Ford Motor Company, then owned by Henry Ford, chose BFGoodrich tires to be fitted in the new Model A Ford in 1903. That same year, the Model A, equipped with the tires, became the first car to cross the United States from east to west. This event made BFGoodrich a household name. Michelin North America., Inc., makes B.F. Goodrich tires. The Goodrich Corporation, formerly called B.F. Goodrich Company, stopped making tires in 1988 and sold the business and the B.F. Goodrich name to Michelin.

Sears Allstate Tyres


Looking at John’s Leatherback the other night I noticed that it had a really old set of Sears Allstate tyres fitted.

Did a bit of research on the Allstate brand and found an article on the Sears archive here and below

Today, when people think of Allstate, they think of automobile insurance. Over the years, however, Sears used the Allstate brand name on a wide variety of products for the automobile, from spark plugs to rebuilt automobile engines.

The Allstate brand began in 1925 as part of a national contest to name Sears’ new brand of automobile tires. Public response in the contest was overwhelming. Before it was over, 937,886 people submitted a total of 2,253,746 names. Entries came from every state and in 25 different languages. Hans Simonson of Bismarck, N.D., received a $5,000 cash prize for his winning entry Allstate.

In 1926, Sears adopted the trademark Allstate for initial use on automobile tires and tubes. The tires-guaranteed for 12,000 miles-quickly became big sellers in the catalog and at the new Sears, Roebuck and Co. retail stores (which first opened in 1925). Sears Chairman General Robert E. Wood credited the Allstate tire with making an important contribution to the success of Sears’ retail store program.

Sears formed the Allstate Insurance Company on April 17, 1931. Allstate offered low rates, available to customers through direct-mail sales (Sears catalogs) and through sales booths in Sears stores. Allstate eventually expanded into fire insurance.

The highpoint for the Allstate brand came in the 1950s and 1960s, when the brand appeared on a wide range of products, including garage door openers, fire extinguishers, motor scooters and camper shells. During these years, before seatbelts, heaters, radios, and air conditioners became standard equipment on automobiles, Sears offered a complete line of these accessories under the Allstate brand.

In 1952, Sears introduced the Allstate automobile. Built by the Kaiser-Frazer Corporation, the Allstate automobile came in two models: The Standard ($1,395) and the Delux ($1,796) models came with a choice of optional four- or six-cylinder engines and a transmission overdrive. All automobiles came with a 90-day guarantee. As popular as the insurance and accessories were, however, few people wanted to buy an entire car with the Allstate name. Disappointing sales caused the Allstate automobile to disappear from Sears stores after 1953.

By the end of the 1960s, Sears limited the Allstate brand name to insurance, tires, and automobile batteries. By the mid-1970s, Sears no longer used the Allstate brand on merchandise. In 1995, Allstate became completely independent after Sears divested its remaining shares to Sears’ stockholders, ending the company’s 70-year relationship with the brand it created.


Sears Archive