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  • Tires

    Finding tires for a 1947 Studebaker can be a challenge. When my car had its annual safety inspection this summer, I was told it needed new tires, as the sidewalls on the old ones were cracked too much to be roadworthy.

    I asked my tire dealer (a family-owned independent service station, in business for 82 years, who sell a large volume of tires) for 2 sizes of radials I have used previously. Neither is now available. Then some thoughts came to mind.

    The original tires on a 1947 Champion were 5.50-15. Through the 1960s, Volkswagen bugs used 5.60-15, and I had used them on the Studebaker after buying it in 1973. When that size was no longer readily available, I went to 6.00-15, before going to radials.

    I called a friend who is a well-known expert and mechanic on air-cooled VWs. "What size tires are used on 1960s Volkswagens now?" I asked. He gave me 3 sizes that bug owners are using.

    I returned to my tire dealer. The first size: "Sorry, not available." The second size: "Sorry, not available." The third size: "I carry them in stock. Do you prefer Cooper or a less expensive brand, Starfire Solaris?" Given the low mileage the Stude gets (average 1,500 miles per year) I chose the latter.

    The tire size is 185-65R15. They have been on the car for about 200 miles. Road conditions have included city driving; twisty, hilly secondary roads; and main highways. I have been well pleased with the handling. The tires look correct on the car.

    Bill


    Bill Jarvis

  • #2
    So these would be Blackwalls produced in China?
    StudeRich
    Second Generation Stude Driver,
    Proud '54 Starliner Owner

    Comment


    • #3
      Starfire Solaris IS a lower priced Cooper brand.
      Coopers, at least in my experience, are a harder rubber compound; making them a longer lasting tire with less traction. I had a set that got transferred to three different vehicles; and I finally sold them for $10 each. I was not pleased with the traction, and have not bought another set.
      "All attempts to 'rise above the issue' are simply an excuse to avoid it profitably." --Dick Gregory

      Brad Johnson, SDC since 1975, ASC since 1990
      Pine Grove Mills, Pa.
      '33 Rockne 10,
      '51 Commander Starlight,
      '53 Commander Starlight "Désirée",
      '56 Sky Hawk

      Comment


      • #4
        Cooker Tires
        Mike
        Fort Worth, TX


        1964 Avanti R2 #R-4986

        Comment


        • #5
          Don't go with Coker Tires, they are the worst most expensive tires out there. Try Diamond back.

          Bo
          Bo

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          • #6
            StudeRich and Rockne10 ---- Yes, the Starfire Solaras are blackwalls made in China, and are a lower-price Cooper brand. If I were driving the Studebaker a lot more, I would have bought the Coopers.

            My prior experience with Coopers has been solely with studded snow tires on my 2004 and 2014 VW Jettas. I always have been pleased with traction and tread life. My summer tires are always Michelins, however Michelin does not make a snow tire than can be studded.
            Bill Jarvis

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Bo Markham View Post
              Don't go with Coker Tires, they are the worst most expensive tires out there. Try Diamond back.

              Bo
              Sorry you had such bad luck. I order 4 to 6 sets a year for car collections I maintain and never have an issue with delivery, quality or balancing. There are many ways to get discounts also.
              Mike
              Fort Worth, TX


              1964 Avanti R2 #R-4986

              Comment


              • #8
                I always have had good luck with Cooper tires. They are made in the US.

                Comment


                • #9
                  I just returned 9 cooper tires for the second time for my 64 Avanti R2 and 64 Super Hawk. Problem is with the white walls. within a week they turn brown as in ugly and cracked throughout. Unable to clean the white wall with multiple products. Upon a suggestion from another member on this website, I ordered 9 Diamond Back white walls for those cars. BTW I hated the Cooper tire ride on both cars, very stiff ride, not enjoyable.
                  Mark

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    In the 1990s, I worked for a fairly large livery service for about nine years. The original tires on the sedans and limousines would eventually wear out. The company replaced them with Coopers because they were cheap. The Coopers had many failures, usually ply separation, long before the tread wore out. The sedans went about 65K miles per year, so it wasn't an age thing.
                    Gary L.
                    Wappinger, NY

                    SDC member since 1968
                    Studebaker enthusiast much longer

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Silverplate View Post

                      Sorry you had such bad luck. I order 4 to 6 sets a year for car collections I maintain and never have an issue with delivery, quality or balancing. There are many ways to get discounts also.
                      Luck had nothing to do with it. Two sets of tires so out of round they couldn't be balanced is not luck. It is piss poor quality control......... Then the hassle trying to get them returned. No problems with Diamond Back and never an issue with Cooper.

                      Bo
                      Bo

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                      • #12
                        l still buy bias-ply tires for my Studes, at the same time always keeping the steering/suspension components in decent condition. A close Studebaker-owning friend does the same.

                        Whenever it is time for new tires, we both get the same - B F Goodrich 670/15 wide whites from a distributor that handles Coker tires. We have been doing this for 30 years and neither of us has ever had a problem. 18 years ago my son bought a Power Hawk that had black-walled radials installed. We switched that car to "our" BFG 670/15s and he, too, has been happy with them - AND the bias plies solved his problem with heavy "Armstrong" steering at "parking speed". And we don't have to worry about cracking rims.

                        Roger Hill


                        60 Lark Vlll, hardtop, black/red, Power Kit, 3 spd. - "Juliette"
                        61 Champ Deluxe, 6, black/red, o/d, long box. - "Jeri"
                        Junior Wagon - "Junior"

                        "In the end, dear undertaker,
                        Ride me in a Studebaker"

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Bo Markham View Post

                          Luck had nothing to do with it. Two sets of tires so out of round they couldn't be balanced is not luck. It is piss poor quality control......... Then the hassle trying to get them returned. No problems with Diamond Back and never an issue with Cooper.

                          Bo
                          Like I say sorry for your luck.
                          Mike
                          Fort Worth, TX


                          1964 Avanti R2 #R-4986

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I have only bought 2 sets. My Hawk got Diamond Back. I couldn't be happier with them. The 54 Commander got Coker, they are OK at best, but not even close to driving and riding as good as the diamond back.
                            Wayne
                            "Trying to shed my CASO ways"

                            sigpic

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I bought some Coker WWWs for my 50 Commander. One was too out of round to balance. Coker would not send me a replacement until they had the bad tire back in their hands. The other option was to buy another tire and then send the bad one back for a refund.

                              What a way to run a company!
                              RadioRoy, specializing in AM/FM conversions with auxiliary inputs for iPod/satellite/CD player. In the old car radio business since 1985.

                              17A-S2 - 50 Commander convertible
                              10G-C1 - 51 Champion starlight coupe
                              10G-Q4 - 51 Champion business coupe
                              4H-K5 - 53 Commander starliner hardtop
                              5H-D5 - 54 Commander Conestoga wagon
                              56B-D4 - 56 Commander station wagon
                              60V-L6 - 60 Lark convertible

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