Period Correct Radial Tires

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    I have a 1954 Mercury with period correct bias-ply tires and am considering changing to period correct B F Goodrich Silvertown Radial Tires. Does anyone have experience with Radial Tires and would recommend them. I am interested in ride quality more than being correct for judging. 

    Wayne Jones


    Roy & Brenda Lange


    I have a 53′ Merc that I put radials (Coker) on and it was like night and day, especially cornering, and that is very important to me since I live in the mountains and going up and down through the canyons can be a challenge even in a modern car. Also, if you get caught in the rain your will be very glad you have them. The bias-ply had a tendicy to “roam” all over the highway, where as the radials are a joy to drive on, straight a true. The bias-ply had a tendency to “roam” all over the highway, where as the radials are a joy to drive on. Roy

    <p class=”MsoNormal” style=”margin: 0in 0in 10pt;”>Warning…if you have large/full hubcaps on the car, they may fall off when driveling, I had to go to ‘Dog Dish” hubcaps to keep them on. The Radials flex and cause the hubcaps to fall off….more so in the front than the rear.



    I have Firestone radials on my ’55 and they are absolutely wonderful.  I bought them because they have a 1.25″ wide whitewall.  I do not like the real wide whites or the narrow stripe and these fit the bill.  Coker has great tires but they tend to be pretty expensive, but if you want the correct tread design and whitewall width they can fill the bill.  I have had no trouble with the hubcaps on my ’55 coming off.

    I did own a ’58 Edsel for a while (4 door Pacer, a real boat).  Originally we used bias ply tires on it simply because they cost less than radials.  That car would absolutely make you seasick with the bias tires and literally floated down the highway almost out of control.  A set of radials instantly made the car a very nice road car.

    Just a question: What do you mean by “period correct” radials?



    Thanks for your response I am now convinced to get the radials. Will have to take my chances about the hub caps coming off. As I mentioned before, I had a 1954 Mercury hardtop bittersweet the same as I just acquired brand new in 1954. Back then I don’t think anyone with a car noticed how bad the bias-ply tires were. Guess we have all been spoiled with the radials and modern gadgets. I remember I bought a compass with a suction cup and put it on my dash. Guess that was the first navigation system. By “period correct” radials I meant Coker has the correct width whitewall made by B F Goodrich in a radial that will give the car the same apperiance as that period in time. I remember B F Goodrich and Firestone tires were very popular in the 50’s.


    Try to imagine what tires will look like in 60 years.  I have seen experimental tires on the internet (can’t recall what brand) that don’t have air and the sidewall is open with a sort of bridge like support for the tread.  Imagine never having a flat again.  It was a big step back in the 70s to go to polyglass tires if you recall.



    I saw those tires in an e-mail. I believe they were Michelins and they along with the wheels were so ugly they would ruin the apperance of any car, but maybe not, the cars themselves will probably be ugly and require ugly tires and wheels.

    I do recall the polyglass tires very well. I owned a Western Auto store throughout the 1970’s and sold many of them.

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