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Hot Rods Portawall , anyone have good luck with them?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by samdjr74, Feb 23, 2016.

  1. samdjr74
    Joined: Feb 8, 2016
    Posts: 170


    Hi all,

    Looking for cheaper alternatives to wide white walls. I know a few folks here have used them with bad results, has anyone had good results with portawalls on a radial with a large side wall?

  2. Blue One
    Joined: Feb 6, 2010
    Posts: 11,193

    Blue One
    from Alberta

    They might work well for a toilet seat cover to keep your butt warm when the seat is cold :D:D
    By the way, whitewalls suck whether they are real or fake. :)
    Ron Funkhouser likes this.
  3. Jalopy Joker
    Joined: Sep 3, 2006
    Posts: 27,754

    Jalopy Joker

    they work really good if you never drive the ride that you install them on - there are limited sources of white tire paint that you might try - even whitewalls from big name companies have problems at times - no cheap solution - keep your eye out for a used set but, those will likely be old tires.
  4. Never tried old ones, the ones that we used to get new worked OK until they started flapping. Extremes in weather are hard on 'em. You might could glue em to th tire I suppose.

    Oh and @Blue One is correct whitewalls are for grocery getters.

  5. Rusty O'Toole
    Joined: Sep 17, 2006
    Posts: 9,609

    Rusty O'Toole

    Not bad on some bias ply, won't work on radials.
  6. radials will pop em up and look weird bulge on the bottom.
    save your money and just say no.
  7. samdjr74
    Joined: Feb 8, 2016
    Posts: 170


    Ok, thanks all, I'm also looking at Cali tires but I can also go completely stock and slap on some bias ply's. not sure about that one. The car is a 58 Coronet so a little heavy but it would have come with bias tires originally. It's not going to be a daily driver but I do plan on putting miles on it.
  8. waldo53
    Joined: Jan 26, 2010
    Posts: 863

    from ID

    I put porta-walls on my truck a few years back for the same reason you're looking at them - a cheap alternative to the real deal. The pic in my avatar shows them on. The tires are radials. I ran them for 6 years with no issues whatsoever. The key is to get them on exactly right the first time, and going with the smallest whitewall you can live with. Mine here are 2 1/2". In all that time, no one ever noticed they weren't real white walls. When the tires wore out, I bought a set of Diamondback 3" whitewalls. Anyone who says whitewalls suck obviously wasn't around in the 50's when "everyone" ran them whether it was a custom or a rod.
    chopper99, wbrw32 and 41 C28 like this.
  9. samdjr74
    Joined: Feb 8, 2016
    Posts: 170


    Good to know, what is the secret to getting them on right the first time?
    chopper99 likes this.
  10. check out this video
    Joined: Jul 20, 2006
    Posts: 2,422


    I never saw white walls on rods or customs when I was growing up in the 50's and 60's. They were for grocery getters
  12. Atwater Mike
    Joined: May 31, 2002
    Posts: 10,728

    Atwater Mike

    You would have if you lived in California...Everybody ran 'em. I'm talking about '32 roadsters, coupes, full fendered sedans, customs (!) '52, this is where it was happening...Oh, and we had our own periodical. HOT ROD MAGAZINE. (Then, not now...)
    chopper99 and waldo53 like this.
  13. ky54mordor
    Joined: Feb 3, 2016
    Posts: 8


    Does anyone recommend any particular brand to go with? Brands to stay away from?
  14. tubman
    Joined: May 16, 2007
    Posts: 5,915


    When I was a teenager in the '50's these were about all we could afford. I think it's all about proper installation. After several failed attempts, with the port-a-walls flopping all over, we found there was a garage in town that had a guy who could install them so they really hugged the tire. I never found out how he did it; it's probably "all in the wrist".

    Another set-up I saw a couple of times were "beauty-rings" that had the white sidewall attached. You just mounted them like regular "beauty-rings", and they looked pretty good. I always wondered why nobody took this concept further. Probably because you couldn't run full wheel covers with them. As to whitewalls in general, where I came from, no one in their right mind would have been caught running full wheel covers and blackwalls.
    Hnstray and waldo53 like this.
  15. waldo53
    Joined: Jan 26, 2010
    Posts: 863

    from ID

    I think the trick to installing them is to get a tire guy that has done them before, and has a lot of patience. The tire should be inflated slowly, in stages, checking that the edge of the mounting lip of the porta-walls is exactly at the rim line. They tend to push up and out, that's when they get wonky.
    Atwater Mike likes this.
  16. Atwater Mike
    Joined: May 31, 2002
    Posts: 10,728

    Atwater Mike

    My pal Ramsay (his real first name!) had a set of original Porta Walls. They were thick, had a rim that was like 1/4", real 'stout'. (NOT 'flat white', more like the 'off white cream', like expensive naugahyde of the period)
    These things were heavy, but went between the rim and tire bead nicely. You had to take your time inflating them, working them so as not to let 'em 'push out' as you inflated the tire.
    My Mom suggested we use vegetable oil to set 'em, we listened and it worked like a champ.
    I never saw any more like those, but never really searched...Ramsay's Dad found 'em somewhere, so we used 'em. They were 16". on '40 Ford passenger wheels: 7.00 X 16 rear, 5.00 X 16 front.
    Black channeled '30 'A' Coupe looked 'real Zorch', black wheels and 'baldys'! (uh, 'tall' Baby Moons...
    Swiped 'em from a trailer lot, they used International pickup wheels, had same inner nubs as early Fords! "Baldies ala Grabowski."
    I drove that coupe (flathead, very dependable!) from Santa Clara to and from L.A. 6+ times. Joe Reath called me a 'die hard', (flathead w/no fenders)
    Porta walls never gave a problem, but I did see cheaper ones do terrible things. Raise up at speed above 35, even rip and fly off!
    Ramsay's never did. Looked good, too.

    My roadster had 15" U.S. Royal Master whitewalls. (rejects, I was 16!) Great whitewalls, rejected by U.S. Royal store for 'smudge' in whitewall! My Mom made quick work of the discoloring with some bleach, then neutralize with white vinegar!
    Cool stuff...Kitchen tricks...made me the cook I am today!:p
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2016
  17. 41 C28
    Joined: Dec 17, 2005
    Posts: 1,772

    41 C28

    I ran portawalls on my 41 Chrysler 40 + years ago no problems. Couldn't afford real white walls.
  18. waldo53
    Joined: Jan 26, 2010
    Posts: 863

    from ID guys that haven't seen whitewalls on rods and customs - just take a look at today's posts in our very own thread "Vintage shots from days gone by"
  19. BobF
    Joined: Dec 30, 2004
    Posts: 230

    from Poway, CA

    Heh, heh, I remember port-a-walls back in the 50's. I had them on my stock 31 A vicky with 16" steel wheels in high school. All used tires, no two matching tread patterns :) The thing I recall most was folks hitting a curb and ripping a chunk out of your WW. Really looked strange gong down the road with a big gap going round n round :) I also recall they were about $5.00 for four of em.
  20. My dad was a used car dealer for over 30 years and a new car dealer for close to 20 years. I grew up around the things.
    They were the car dealers best friend.
    We used to buy the things by the pallet load.
    It was all about the installation. Watch the Mooneyes clip in the above. It will keep you out of trouble.
  21. samdjr74
    Joined: Feb 8, 2016
    Posts: 170


    Thanks again. I need to see if there are any guys in north Jersey that has installed these successfully.
  22. Hdonlybob
    Joined: Feb 1, 2005
    Posts: 3,974


    Over the last (50) years I have used a fair amount of them...
    Only problems you will have is if you don't get them evenly tight when mounting them...lots of soap and oil plus repeatedly trying with get them on right when the bead pops...
    I happen to really like the nostalgia of them too.
    And yes I have used them on Radials...
  23. mattheruthless
    Joined: Jan 13, 2015
    Posts: 69


    ive got portowalls on my truck.. i put them on by myself. i pretty much mount/dismount my own tires haha but anyways. i bought them also because whitewall tires are way out my means.. but i will say that they do wear out in my experience after about year and a half. i daily drive my 59 apache so im thinking thats why mine eventually curled around the edges and cracked apart where the lip of the rims hold the portowall. i bought mine from Kool Rides Street rods and custom car products. they stick on without putting soap on or glue IMG_4379.JPG
  24. denis4x4
    Joined: Apr 23, 2005
    Posts: 3,819

    from Colorado

    When Pep Boys had they on sale for $.99 each, we bought them whether we needed them or not!

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