What do you use for tires?

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    This has undoubtedly had a lot of discussion before but what do you use for tires. My ’54 is somewhat sloppy in the front end. My mechanic says the front end is tight and he feels the problem is the bias ply tires I running. We tried a couple of radials (from a Ranger I think) temporarily and the handling seemed much better. I just checked prices and WOW! Thought I’d see what you are doing.


    Originally a ’54 Merc had 7.10X15 tires with a recommended tire pressure of 23-25 lbs. When the “alphabet” sizes came along the 7.10X15 was a G so a G78X15 tire was the proper size. These were all bias ply tires. Tire conversion charts for the metrics show a 205/75R 15 as the same size.

    I have a ’55 with the same tire size recommended. I use a Firestone FR721 (their name for the tire has nothing to do with size) in a 225/75R15. This is of course a radial tire. I do not personally care for the wide whites on these cars which was original style equipment and this is why I purchased the Firestones. They have a white wall that is 1.5″ wide. I like the black between the wheel and the whitewall. Your personal preference for originality is very important.

    As I recall they were not overly expensive. If you go to Coker tires for the original wide white and tread design in a radial tire they will be very expensive.

    There is no doubt that the radial tires will make for a MUCH better handling car. The choice is yours: stick with bias ply and keep the originality but give up handling; use an original type tire in a radial and spend a bunch of money; go to a later model radial that gives up the originality.

    If you are concerned about judging of your car, IMOA does not do “Concourse judging” at its events so as I long as the tires are clean and the proper size it is not a problem. If, however, you are going to events that do concourse judging then whitewall width, tread design, and construction can become an issue.

    Hope this helps.

    Virgil Klein
    Head judge IMOA




    Thanks for the info; it helps a lot.

    One more question. Are you using the original wheels with the Firestone radials? I read somewhere that some early wheels (perhaps 40’s) couldn’t take the stresses of radial tires.

    Best regards,

    Ed Conery



    I do use the original wheels without any problems whatsoever. I have heard that the flexing of the radial could cause problems especially with hubcaps staying on the wheel but that has not been an issue either.

    Any wheel that can be used with a tubeless tire should be adequate. You referenced wheels from the 40s and most of those required a tube. Not a good thing with a radial tire.

    One other comment: do not get tires that are too wide as they will not fit between the rear brake drum and the body of the car when you try to put them on.

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