View Full Version : Wide white tire inserts?

06-25-2012, 04:21 PM
Hey guys,

I'm looking at putting new tires on the '63, and I really love the look of wide whites. The problem is that Coker Tire (who seems to be the most reasonable) is still charging prices that I'm not sure I'm prepared to pay for what amounts to a daily driver.

So about these inserts (here's an example I found on ebay (http://www.ebay.com/itm/Chevy-Chevrolet-Ford-NOS-14-White-Wall-Tire-Insert-Set-/280903968928?hash=item41672e68a0&item=280903968928&pt=Vintage_Car_Truck_Parts_Accessories&vxp=mtr#ht_2803wt_1139)), are they any good? Are they a waste of money? Anyone used them?

I'm trying to figure out what keeps them from flapping up from the tire where the white and black meet.

Thoughts are appreciated. A set of "modern" tires with these would amount to half what I'm being quoted from Coker, which means more money for other challenges.

06-25-2012, 04:21 PM
Oh, for the record, I have aftermarket 14" rims on the '63, so yes, those would fit.

06-25-2012, 04:34 PM
Not to sure they'd be good with a radial tire , they were made for bias ply tires.

06-25-2012, 04:40 PM
The "Porta Walls" rubber fake wide whitewalls were barely OK with Bias Ply tires, but with Radials they grind a grove in the thin 2 ply. sidewall everytime your wheel rotates because of the sidewall flexing.

The other issue is they like tubes better than tubeless, because they can leak with the whitewall in between the Wheel Rim and tire bead.

Not a good idea nowdays. The best option is this super Valcanizing rubber White Tire Paint, I bought some on the Internet (sorry I don't have the website info) to make some raised white letter tires out of my Goodyears.

Anyway this set you found is OLD Stock Atlas from a Chevron/Standard Station back when they had Repair Garages, pretty OLD!

06-25-2012, 04:43 PM
These used to be called "porta walls" by some companies. The problems are they are not actually attached to the tire except at the bead. Since radials are fatter than bias ply tires, these whitewalls will stick out, they will flap in the wind, and if you tag a curb while parking, it will rip them up and off. They make the tires harder to balance as well as keep in balance.

You might want to look into diamond back tires, which from my understanding, are modern tires with a whitewall vulcanized on top of the tire. They see to be less pricey and are rumored to perform better than Coker tires.

I tried some of the whitewall paint some 35 years ago. It looked good at first, but soon developed tiny cracks that looked terrible. It also was impossible to remove when I wanted to go back to the narrow whitewall. Best to try one tire first and see how well you like it. Maybe the newer paints are better.

06-25-2012, 04:46 PM

06-25-2012, 05:06 PM
Yeah, you guys are confirming my thoughts. I've thought of the tire paint option too, but I've heard it yellows pretty badly with time. I looked at diamond back, but their prices are pretty close to coker. I guess more research is needed.

What is a good white wall solution for a fairly decent driver? I'm open to suggestions.

06-25-2012, 05:10 PM
i'd go with "whitewall paint". but the tires have to be cleaner than clean before applying!!!

with radials, you'd probably be touching up the the paint every couple of weeks, due to flex, but probably wouldn't be much more time than i spent on the 40 keeping the whitewalls "purdy"... :)

63 R2 Hawk
06-25-2012, 06:29 PM
There used to be places that would make wide whitewalls out of narrow ww tires by spinning the mounted tire against a blade. The white rubber is a complete layer underneath the black wall and can be skived off so you can make any width whitewall tire you want out of a narrow white tire. I haven't seen anybody doing this for years now, but there used to be several places nearby when I lived in California. Forget the "Portawalls", they will eventually fling off from centrifugal force. I used to see them littering the sides of busy highways back in the 50s.

06-25-2012, 06:37 PM
I tried whitewall paint on a '57 wagon. I did all the right prep work, cleaning, applying, etc as what was recommended. It looked great sitting in the garage.

After curing for a couple of weeks, I took the car around my curvy neighborhood. Within 3 miles of hard turns, the paint was cracked and flaking off.

Don't waste your time or money. I tried it and found out that if you want whitewalls, cough of the cash and just buy them.

06-25-2012, 06:58 PM
I have coker, alstate/Sears, and Diamond Back. The latter is far superior to any I have seen. They add the white wall after the tire is manufactured and when doing so they place a barrier between the black tire and the white insert thus there is no bleed through as you see in all other radial. Once the bleed starts you will never see bright whites again. They are slightly more expensive but I would not buy anything else. Also they come very well balanced.

06-25-2012, 08:15 PM

Did you apply the flexible stuff (whitewall paint) from a person in Iceland? I bought some a few years ago, and I have not had the time to try it. It does not really harden.


06-25-2012, 08:30 PM
It sounds like diamondback tires is probably the best bet to get the tire I want. I looked at their site, and I really like what they have to offer. It's just a pity that there's not a solution out there that's middle of the road. It seems like it's either you get the right thing for a premium price, or you waste your money for anything else at all. There's really not a mid priced, mid quality product it seems. I'd imagine that if there were, a lot more drivers would have wide whites.

Sam Ensley
06-25-2012, 09:43 PM
I have a friend who just removed some old Coker tires from his pick-up. They were, I believe, 7:10 or 750-14's. They are about 3" whitewalls with most of the tread left. He lives in Florida on the Atlantic coast below Daytona. PM me, if you are interested, and I will put you in touch with him.

Pat Dilling
06-25-2012, 09:43 PM
I have had both Coker and Diamondback. In my opinion and experience Diamondback is the better choice. I had several warranty issues with Coker, they honored their warranty without question, but having to have tires mounted and balanced again was a real pain. I have had excellent service with Diamondback and they have a good variety of tires.


06-25-2012, 10:31 PM
To: Jim C,----Actually, the 'Port-A-Walls' would be quite nostalgic to the 'old timers' at the auto shows! (not to us young guys) Kind of a 'conversation piece'. Wouldn't run them with radials though. Good Luck!!

Sam Ensley
06-25-2012, 10:37 PM
My first "good" car was a 1947 Ford Club Coupe that my brother sold me because my Grandma was fearfaul of my riding an old 1942 Harley I'd traded for. When he brought the car down from Illinois, it had blackwall tires. I immediately purchased some Porta-walls, and my car really looked well. I still like whitewalls and fender skirts.

06-25-2012, 10:43 PM
I have a friend who just removed some old Coker tires from his pick-up. They were, I believe, 7:10 or 750-14's. They are about 3" whitewalls with most of the tread left. He lives in Florida on the Atlantic coast below Daytona. PM me, if you are interested, and I will put you in touch with him.I will keep that in mind. I'd really like to go with radials though, for the added drivability. I haven't driven on bias ply tires many times, but it's been often enough to know that I definitely appreciate what radials do.

I did consider at one point just getting cheap tires to drive on, and a set of bias ply wide whites on the original Stude wheels for shows, but in that case, those would be 15" wheels.

06-26-2012, 12:57 PM
A 1963 Lark should not have more than about a one inch whitewall and that is from the rim out.

06-26-2012, 01:22 PM
Well, they also should not have 14" alloy rims, but when I bought her, that's what she came with. So since I'm already doomed to fail any trip to the concours, I may as well have fun, right? :D

06-26-2012, 01:26 PM
A 1963 Lark should not have more than about a one inch whitewall and that is from the rim out.

Remember Gary that the narrow white walls at the rim, only appeared on the Brochure cars and the first few months of '63 Production and Firestone and BFG discontinued them forever, so they are NLA.
They of course were replaced by the kind most are familiar with that have the black stripe at the rim and a 1 inch stripe next to that as a very few of todays tires still do.

Since Firestone discontinued the FR780, Cooper is just about the last of them now, in our "75" profile 15 in. size.

I agree that wide whites just look WRONG and very obsolete on '63 and later cars.

cultural infidel
06-26-2012, 01:32 PM
A 1963 Lark should not have more than about a one inch whitewall and that is from the rim out.

why not? I have read this time and time again. His tires should have whatever white wall width the he would like. They should be his decision. It doesn't matter what period correct bollocks calls for.

Jim should decide what he wants, not what nostalgia wants.

Jim, I say go for the wide whites if you dont mind droppin the coin. I plan to get Diamond Back Wide Whites at some point down the line. I have read nothing but good reviews on them. If I remember correctly, they are also way more wallet friendly than the cokers, depending on the model

06-26-2012, 02:14 PM
I have thought about wide walls too. If I had to pick a tire, I would pick probably diamond. The quality is said to be good with minimum of yellowing. If you buy a set that is quite pricey, buy four more cheep black wall tires and save the other tires for car shows.

06-26-2012, 02:30 PM
The biggest problem is that I'm not 100% sold on www tires. Sadly, you can never find wide whites locally, so its not possible to see what they would really look like before I drop a grand, which makes the decision hard. Eventually I will want wide whites for the 60, as that was on the build sheet. The 63 had firestone tires from the factory, but like I've said, my ride was lowered and I got 14" wheels, so what's the point in trying to be original?

As far as looks go, I don't mind the opinions, but to me, the 63 isn't that radically different from the 60 and 61 models that came with www tires. Besides, there are a few owners of 63s on this site with sides, and they pull em off fine.

It's all academic though, as I will probably succumb to my caso ways and just go for the thin white band and save a few hundred bucks.

Skinnys Garage
06-26-2012, 02:38 PM
For what it's worth, here's a set of porta walls with 14" radials on my '59 way back when. After a few hundred miles, they did start to crack on the outer edge and after some time will yellow. But, if you just want to try the look, I don't remember them giving me any driving or leaking problems. Personally, I like the black walls with your current wheels and color combo.:!:


cultural infidel
06-26-2012, 02:56 PM
I think thats a great look for those larks.

06-26-2012, 07:03 PM
Several videos like this...http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pHWTa2tAYIc Works for me. I don't run with scissors, but I used to rock-climb (for those of you that think this is dangerous). Calculated risk. Just like driving an old vehicle.

Jet Green Daytona
09-22-2012, 04:36 PM
If you want to comparison shop you can try Lucas Classic tires or Universal tires, both are on the Web. Maybe one of them will be cheaper to ship than another, even if the prices of the tires are the same, the shipping might save you enough money. I only have one experience buying tires from Universal and the tires arrived the next day, but I should mention that I am only one state away from them, they are in Pa, near Hershey.

I like the wide whites too, even if its not correct for the car.


Sam Ensley
09-22-2012, 07:42 PM
I have a friend who has some Coker WWW's, 14 inch, that he took off a truck. He will sell them cheap, maybe give them away, but they are in Florida. They are also pretty old although they have much tread.

09-22-2012, 08:17 PM
I had Diamond Backs on my 52 truck and loved them, They still had tread on them when the truck was totaled. (70,000 miles)

09-22-2012, 08:19 PM
Coker also sells other brand tires. I bought a set of BFG's from them back in April. Cost about $700. for a set of 4. they were in Daytona for a show so that gave me an excuse to go to Fla. and save shipping. Plus I got to see what I was buying. My Silverhawk just doesn't look right without wide whites. Over the past 33 years It has had Firestones, Allstates,Good years,and now BFGoodrich. Several years ago we put some Broadway Classics on th GT with 1 1/8" wide white. My son put the same thing on a 52 Champion as did my son-in-law on a 64 Wagonaire. But when we needed tires for the GT again,we couldn't find them. They were very reasonably priced.