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Tires & Wheels for 1938 Coupe--what to do?

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  • Tires & Wheels for 1938 Coupe--what to do?

    About 5 years ago I bought a 1938 Coupe. Car came with original rims and some bias ply Universal Tires that I'm guessing were at least 10 years old then. Car has been painted and is now at the upholstry shop so it now time to get some tires ordered but I have some questions regarding what to do? Car has been converted to 245 Commander 6 and now has overdrive trans but top speeds and use will be likely be limited to 60 or less and no long distance driving is anticipated at this time.

    Question 1 - Do I get new wheels or not? Original wheels are 16" x 4 and are in good shape but:
    - will need to be sandblasted and powder coated and are of the rivited design
    - using existing wheels will mean that I will be tied to bias ply tires and tubes
    - getting new wheels would enable use of tubeless tires, widing rim width by 1/2 to 1" and possible change to 15" to allow more tire choices. New rims would also allow the possiblity of radial tires

    Question 2 - If I get new wheels shoul I convert to radial? I'm thinking not as low speed steering would be much more difficult & might impose loads on the steering gear it was no designed for.

    Question 3 - If I stay with current wheels & bias tires do I pay the extra $25-30 for Firestone tires over the Coker bias ply tires - or is there some other brand/supplier that stands out?

    Thanks for your thoughts & experiences

  • #2
    There is some thought that Coker tires are made for show, not travel. I've 'heard' that Coker won't stand behind road hazard guarantee because 'tires are made for looks, not use.' Be aware this is not personal experience, although the 7.10-15 tires that I had on my '53 Commander Coupe rode and handled no where near as good as the radials I subsequently installed. Could have been that Radials are that much improved, or that Coker tires don't handle and ride well. (due to politically correct thinking, I've tried not to libel Coker)


    • #3
      I have both. If you are going to drive frequently you will be happier with the radials. However, if you are going for the look you cannot beat the wide white bias. Just understand that the quality of the bias ply are not great quality (Coker's include). It's not unusual to have difficulty getting them balanced (e.g. they are not round).


      • #4
        Have you thought of running radials with a tube inside and use your original rims ??


        • #5
          Originally posted by fiveftsix View Post
          Have you thought of running radials with a tube inside and use your original rims ??
          This what I do and they work fine. No trouble balancing them and tubes are still readily available. I run modern radials and they are great on the road but not so good at slow speed with no power steering. Parallel parking is a workout.
          Ed Sallia
          Dundee, OR

          Sol Lucet Omnibus