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Projects School me on tires

Discussion in 'Traditional Hot Rods' started by 35 Dodge, Jul 8, 2015.

  1. 35 Dodge
    Joined: Aug 25, 2007
    Posts: 15

    35 Dodge

    I am in need of help on tire selection. I like the look of the wide whitewall tires but was told because they are biased they are evil and to stay away from biased tires. I am building a 35 Dodge fender less truck. What I think would look good is a rear tire that is 30" to 32" tall with a wheel width around 6"-7" not really sure what would look good on the front. I am thinking something a little smaller and narrower. What are my options? Any photos of your rides would be great
  2. Ralph Moore
    Joined: May 1, 2007
    Posts: 651

    Ralph Moore

    Bias ply tires are not so evil as you think, I have them on my 31 coupe and yes you have to pay attention on rough roads, but I have not even balanced mine and they do fine.
  3. My two Hudson's have bias tires and the Model A is about to get them. Just waiting to wear out the radials before I put them on. Yes the handling is different but basically you're just going back to how it handled before radials, and it's not that bad. They are not evil by any means. They will wander a bit on a less than perfect road. As far as looks go I say go with bias tires. If you want handling/ride and a "vintage" look doesn't matter that much then go radials. My personal is bias all the way. Keep in mind most modern tire shops will frown on a "old bias ply".
  4. Hot Rod 50
    Joined: Jul 30, 2007
    Posts: 498

    Hot Rod 50

    It all comes down to the style you're going for. Radials on a traditional style build are fugly imo. You said fender less truck so I'm assuming straight axle early style build. You gotta go bias ply. I went with 750/16 rears and 600/16 front fire stones from Coker. They look awesome and the rears are 30" tall +- and the fronts are 26". The 750's are a really tall tire. Since yours is a truck the 820's might look good but why're gonna be 32" or so tall. Wheels on mine are 4.5 wide and 6" wide. They look awesome to me. Coker does have a bias ply look radial if you want to drop some dough.

    My thoughts on bias plys on old cars. They are supposed to be fun to drive. And maybe a little challenging, so a little road walking just adds to it. You'll get used to it.

    Good luck. Post pics.
    Tony Martino likes this.

  5. 35 Dodge
    Joined: Aug 25, 2007
    Posts: 15

    35 Dodge

  6. 35 Dodge
    Joined: Aug 25, 2007
    Posts: 15

    35 Dodge

    Here is an outdated photo of my project. I have been working on getting the bed back together this past winter. I cut the bed length down from 8 feet, down to 5 feet.
  7. patmanta
    Joined: May 10, 2011
    Posts: 3,598

    from Woburn, MA

    It's an easy answer as far as looks go, but seeing as you're in New England, it is a decision worth consideration. Remember though, folks drove on Bias Plys in New Hampshire Winters for decades before Radials became the norm.

    You could split the difference and go with Coker Bias Look Radials on a 15" wheel, or perhaps their Nostalgia Radials in 16" (which are the only ones close to a 32" height).

    I have NO IDEA what the ride would be like with a mixture of Bias Ply out back and Radial up front would be like. Someone with more experience should chime in on that.
  8. To start with bias ply tires are not evil, if that were the case M/T would have stopped making the sportsman 40 years ago. The whole radial v bias deal is that they are different, the behave differently and you drive them differently.

    They do make radials that look so much like bias plies that the average HAMBer (who are the world's renowned authority) would have to get close enough to read the little letters and numbers on them to tell that they are not bias ply tires. So if radials are a must for what ever reason do your homework and get you some. or contact diamond back if you are lazy. :)

    I think that tire choice is part of a build and should have been done prior to suspension choice, your tires and your suspension should be matched in capabilities.

    All that said, my go to tires have always been 8.00-9.00x15 rears and 6.00-7.00 fronts on a fender car and narrower fronts for open wheel cars if I am going bias ply and 235s and 205-215s if I am going radials. 70 or 75 series on a hot rod. No matter what tire you choose you are a fool if you don't take time to feel it out before you go road racing. Once you know how it is going to act you can drive it accordingly.
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2015
    volvobrynk likes this.
  9. I am running Diamondbacks www on my truck look fine to me
    rear wheel b.jpg
    But it is your car, your vision, your choice.
    volvobrynk likes this.
  10. olskoolspeed
    Joined: Mar 2, 2009
    Posts: 474


    Wow, it's amazing all of us older guys survived the "pre - radial years". If I remember correctly, we raced on and off the track pretty well with them.
    volvobrynk likes this.
  11. LOL it was mid '70s before I ever had a radial tire, they were just out of my price range. I never had radial tires on a bike until about 3 years ago and I have always owned a bike. :D

    The Ol' Man liked radials Pirellis were his favorite and that was well before steel belted radials. He ran them on his roadster before traditional was traditional and they still came in summer and winter tires. I can't tell you that they were any better and if he were alive he would probably say the same thing. But it made him happy to won them and I guess that's good enough isn't it.

    I always laugh when someone says well cars weren't as fast back when bias ply tires were used, so who is actually driving their hot rod 130 plus? The speed limit before the mandatory 55 in happened in the '70s was the same as it is today and people drove that fast. Most of the time big old heavy boats with drum brakes and bias ply tires and somehow some of us are still here to tell about it. Amazing. :rolleyes: :D
    volvobrynk and patmanta like this.
  12. 2935ford
    Joined: Jan 6, 2006
    Posts: 3,435


    I've had bias plys on all 3 of my builds. I like the look and they fit the build.........with the roads here, yes, paying attention is a good thing but......shouldn't you be paying attention no matter what the tire! :)
    volvobrynk and patmanta like this.
  13. john worden
    Joined: Nov 14, 2007
    Posts: 1,645

    john worden
    from iowa

    I don't think you should run a mix of bias ply and radials.
  14. Nothing wrong with bias ply. HRP
  15. Some of us survived that too. ;)
    volvobrynk and john worden like this.
  16. 35 Dodge
    Joined: Aug 25, 2007
    Posts: 15

    35 Dodge

    The car builders in my area are the T buckets and rat rods. So they're the nay says on the bias tires. I have always had radials. I really don't buy something twice especially when I am unable to unload a set of white walls
  17. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 47,103


    Bias ply last half as long and cost twice as much. And they don't handle nearly as well. But they look "right". I guess what you decide on, depends on your priorities.
    metlmunchr, volvobrynk and AHotRod like this.
  18. I'm gona jump in here.
    There are no real rules about this subject, except don't
    mix radials and bias plys, ever.
    Aside from that, from my viewpoint, you almost
    have to start a build trom the wheels and tires up,
    or at least determine where your axles will be at the end
    of the build and if you want a level build or a rake.
    IMHO, Traditional cars usually look "right" with some rake.
    The earliest "rake" came only from rubber.
    It was more west coast than east very early because
    west coast rodders needed more top end for dry lakes runs.
    It wasn't so much for looks as for speed.
    East coast not as much early until the west coast mags got over
    to the east.
    I like cars in periods best.
    Yours looks to me from the pic to be pretty "level" right now.
    From the engine, Your car's time period looks like Mid- 50's.
    Again IMHO a mid '50's Hemi engine would have come out
    of a big Chrysler. It would have had 15 inch wheels that were
    5 or maybe 6 inches wide, probably 5. Back in the day the guy who got the engine
    out of the junk yard usually took the wheels and hubcaps if
    they were still available. They would probably have been 8-20-9-00-15.
    3-1/2 -4 inch WWW and the same size. The next thing the
    guy would have done would be put smaller tires on the same wheels in
    the front. It's a truck so 6-50-7-00-15 WWW would be the choice.
    You will wind up with a nice rake, stay pretty low, not have an
    odd amount of front brake drum showing from too much offset of wider wheels.
    And also, a set of Chrysler Imperial Hubcaps, on black wheels with
    big white walls is hard to beat for a '50's ride.
    This period stuff is really all there if you look hard enough
    and try to "be" the original builder.
    Good luck and build it how YOU like it!
    volvobrynk likes this.
  19. Ralph Moore
    Joined: May 1, 2007
    Posts: 651

    Ralph Moore

    I can remember when radials came out, my dad was always telling me how crappy they were. Weak sidewalls and prone to blow outs.
  20. mgtstumpy
    Joined: Jul 20, 2006
    Posts: 8,352


    Horses for courses they say. Don't mix radials and bias plys under any circumstances, they have different handling characteristics and when in the wet you will find out. From an aesthetic point bias look the part.
  21. clem
    Joined: Dec 20, 2006
    Posts: 3,069


    Have you considered light truck tyres ? They sometimes come in 6 ply side wall, look like crossply, but are actually radials and come in a tall profile.
    May be difficult to get white walls though.
    Over here, it is okay/legal to have radials on rear axle, and crossplys on the front axle as far as I know.
  22. FrankenRodz
    Joined: Dec 20, 2007
    Posts: 891


    Diamondback is the Best! Great to work with, fair pricing, and excellent service.
    I had Hankook Truck Tires with Wide Whites on my HemiRod. Fantastic tire!

    Attached Files: likes this.
  23. gas & guns
    Joined: Feb 6, 2014
    Posts: 370

    gas & guns

    Do not mix. About 1980 I had o.t. nova. Radials on the front, bias on back. Rolling down the highway about 75 MPH on a rainy day. Come into a curve, the radials roll laterally on the rim, bias don't. Natural reaction is to correct with steering. End result is a ride you can't get at the carnival. We didn't crash, but it did introduce the pucker factor!
    volvobrynk likes this.
  24. Gary Addcox
    Joined: Aug 28, 2009
    Posts: 2,406

    Gary Addcox

    Here is one story. Steve Coonan, publisher of RODDER'S JOURNAL, has his roadster photographed with dirt track tires which never see the open road. When he travels, his ride has radials. Go figure. If you intend to cross-country cruise, safety trumps "style". Just sayin'.
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2015
    hotrodtom likes this.
  25. Just sayin' Gary
    You are right about the traveling distances on radials.
    But to some of us, its the differance between being
    hardcore and softcore.
    If I wanna cruise comfy cozy, we take my wife's '67 Caddy!
    It's all good!
    Drive on!
  26. norms30a
    Joined: Jul 17, 2008
    Posts: 567


    These are radials.

    Attached Files:

    volvobrynk likes this.
  27. Boolajosh
    Joined: Jan 29, 2012
    Posts: 77

    from Monrovia

    7.50 x 16 on a 6" wide rear..

    Attached Files:

    volvobrynk likes this.
  28. Jerry Rice
    Joined: Aug 25, 2010
    Posts: 54

    Jerry Rice

    Norm, what brand and size radials are they. They are the most bias looking radial I've ever seen.
  29. rockfish
    Joined: Apr 11, 2001
    Posts: 445


    I'm a user of bias ply tires on prewar cars, especially fenderless. But I also try to stay aware that I'm driving on roads with modern cars that have superior handling radial tires, 4 wheel disc brakes, ABS and most importantly, drivers with cell phones that are too often distracted.

    My point is that I'm willing to accept the trade off of bias plies for the right look, but I also drive a lot more defensively than I do in my daily driver.
  30. Eh!Bob
    Joined: Mar 23, 2014
    Posts: 43


    The main thing is do not mix tires ! As for bias vs radial yes,the radial is a better riding and "safer tire" but you can't beat the look of old bias ply . I had 8.20 firestones on the rear and 7.10 on the front of my 46 ford truck (open wheeled) and to me they made the truck !

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