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Hot Rods White letter tires..poll

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by 40FORDPU, Aug 25, 2020.

  1. Yes

    40 vote(s)
  2. No

    178 vote(s)
  1. 40FORDPU
    Joined: Mar 15, 2009
    Posts: 3,375

    from Yelm, Wa
    1. Northwest HAMBers

    I don't like white letter tires, aside from distracting from the car..why give free advertising to the tire manufacturers?
    I see several cars on this site with them, which made me look it up, to see if they were even used in the time frame this site honors.

    According to Wipedia:
    " The stenciling method of tire lettering became popular with auto racing teams in the 1950s as a way to display the tire manufacturer on the car's tires.[3]

    Tire lettering made its way to production tires in the mid-to-late 1960s in the form of raised white letter tires and gained popularity with American muscle cars in the 1970s and 1980s [4] until tire manufacturers stopped producing raised white letter tires on a mass scale."
    chryslerfan55 and Bandit Billy like this.
  2. Gearhead Graphics
    Joined: Oct 4, 2008
    Posts: 3,877

    Gearhead Graphics
    from Denver Co

    On some cars I like letters out, others forget it. Matter of personal taste and the car. I guess its nice that most make their tires so you can have letters or not
    chryslerfan55 likes this.
  3. guthriesmith
    Joined: Aug 17, 2006
    Posts: 6,806

    1. H.A.M.B. Chapel

    I don't think they look right on anything that is subject of this forum...but that is just me. I do think they look right on some 70's cars and pickups, but those aren't what we focus on here.
  4. Hollywood-East
    Joined: Mar 13, 2008
    Posts: 1,764


    Factory done muscle Car's yes...

  5. Moriarity
    Joined: Apr 11, 2001
    Posts: 23,627

    Staff Member

    surely everyone here knows about the strict 1965 cut off date......
  6. dana barlow
    Joined: May 30, 2006
    Posts: 4,772

    dana barlow
    from Miami Fla.
    1. Y-blocks

    In the 1950s,long before factory made high white letters on tires, guys at car shows hand painted tire lettering white for the show an made tires look as brand new as you could<sure is a lot of stuff you can buy now too do that.
    In the first car show mid 1950s my Dad put his little home built sports car in,I painted the lettering on the tires with tiny Testers model paint[white] an a little brush. This photo even shows ,if you look close what my skinny teen butt had done. LOL
    .Ya that's me next to Dad's custom Crosley sports car racer"SCCA H-MOD"
    I helped a little building it.
    Most of the hot rods n customs did it,all part of showing off,even if they also had white walls.
    By 1959 I had built my own little 28A hot rod and put in big indoor Rod n Custom show at Dinner Key,Coconut Grove Fla.
    I painted lettering on tires then also,even made a little extra $ doing it for a few other show cars. Along with picking up some extra $ pinstriping an some car names,next show I started airbrushing Wild Car T-shirts under art name "The Bat".
    Often this extra showmanship,could be see in high school parking lot on cool cars my buddys owned too.
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2020
  7. sunbeam
    Joined: Oct 22, 2010
    Posts: 5,680


  8. jnaki
    Joined: Jan 1, 2015
    Posts: 7,133



    Most of the factory new cars that came out in 1957-58 had somewhat narrow white wall tires. The lettering was usually Firestone, depending on area of the USA and dealer. Out West, it seemed like Firestone was the biggest supplier for locally made new Chevrolet Sedans.
    upload_2020-8-25_7-7-42.png 1958 LONG BEACH, CA

    Once my brother got over cleaning the whitewalls over and over, he gave the job to me. Then when he got tired of worrying about any marks on the white wall tires, he turned them inside out. Now, his newish 58 impala had blackwalls and big stock hubcaps. That did not look very racy, so, the myriad of paint color sprays were tried with silver being the top usage.

    Then, he proceeded to use confiscated school chalk sticks to go over the Firestone distinct letters. That made the all black Impala with black rims and tires stand out. Even when we painted the rims silver, the lettering stood out.
    The chalk looked good, but upon closer inspection, it looked cheap. So, he had me take our small fine tip model car paint brush and paint the Firestone lettering white with the white model paint. Now, the finished product was looking really good.

    It just took a long time, plenty of thinner for errors and smaller brushes for the thinner to work, nearest the raised letters. It took a while to dry and if something hit or rubbed against the white lettering, the white paint and small brush was nearby.


    When he rolled up to his friends with the blackwalls lettered in white paint, they all were impressed. So, a small trend started and he took all of the credit for painting the Firestone lettering. Well, it was his newish 1958 black Impala.

  9. Graystoke
    Joined: Mar 23, 2010
    Posts: 429


    Maybe guys did their own in the 50s but white letter tires scream muscle car to me.....

    Could be OK to me only on Indy Roadsters
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2020
    Hnstray likes this.
  10. I like white letters on tri fives. My grandparents 55 chevy has had white letters on since the early 70's when my grandpa bought a set of pull off 8" Rally's and Goodyear polyglass tires off a new Corvette. I agree they fit more on muscle cars though.

    jnaki, chryslerfan55, 5window and 3 others like this.
  11. ....only thing good about them is if you go fast enuf they almost look like whitewalls,...
    ...dont like em on anything really.
  12. Chicster
    Joined: Aug 5, 2018
    Posts: 300

    1. Missouri H.A.M.B.ers

    Not a big fan
    427 sleeper likes this.
  13. blowby
    Joined: Dec 27, 2012
    Posts: 8,506

    from Nicasio Ca

    Mine always turned into whitewalls on the passenger side anyway.
  14. I posted this last Friday on a post about a new look for a C-10, the hamber had installed new slotted mags and white letter tires.

    Year's ago I purchased a set of Goodyear wide oval white letter tires, I liked the tread and the profile of the tires but when I purchased them I told the salesman turn the white letters in.

    He noted on the work order to do what I ask, when They pulled the car around to the front of the building , I turned around and looked at the salesman and I said the white letters are showing and he said yeah, they look great on your car.

    I handed him the receipt and as plain as day in his handwriting it was noted white letters in, he said drive the car a week or so and if you still don't like it bring it back and we will switch them around.

    I looked him square in the eye and said, "Who is going to pay me for advertising your tires?"

    He then called the installer out front and told him to switch the tires, I liked it much better. HRP
  15. Gearhead Graphics
    Joined: Oct 4, 2008
    Posts: 3,877

    Gearhead Graphics
    from Denver Co

    dana barlow likes this.
  16. Moriarity
    Joined: Apr 11, 2001
    Posts: 23,627

    Staff Member

    I won’t show the car because it is off topic by 1 year. I wouldn’t dream of turning my white letters in.....

    Muttley, Rolleiflex, Tim and 17 others like this.
  17. Gotgas
    Joined: Jul 22, 2004
    Posts: 7,055

    from DFW USA

    C'est magnifique! :)

    J.Ukrop, Rolleiflex, Sancho and 12 others like this.
  18. guthriesmith
    Joined: Aug 17, 2006
    Posts: 6,806

    1. H.A.M.B. Chapel

    Hmm...I have been corrected. :cool: But, that isn't what I thought of specific to this thread. ;)
    dana barlow likes this.
  19. poco
    Joined: Feb 9, 2009
    Posts: 745

    from oklahoma

    No to white letters. I would like it if some one made a tire that had a complete smooth side wall.
    VANDENPLAS, i.rant and 40FORDPU like this.
  20. goldmountain
    Joined: Jun 12, 2016
    Posts: 3,668


    Those white letters look real bad if you park with the feel the curb method.

    Sent from my SM-T350 using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
    VANDENPLAS and guthriesmith like this.
  21. Automotive Stud
    Joined: Sep 26, 2004
    Posts: 4,190

    Automotive Stud

    Eh, that just looks dated to me. '70's-'90's street machine vibe. Not really period correct to the era of this forum, not really modern either. Like a street rod that still has painted bumpers.
  22. Blues4U
    Joined: Oct 1, 2015
    Posts: 6,675

    from So Cal

    I remember guys doing that when I was a young kid, before you could buy raised white letters. Some guys used chalk, some used paint. It was a thing around So Cal in the early-mid 60's. But I associate raised white letters with 70's and later muscle and pony cars.
    dana barlow likes this.
  23. ramblin dan
    Joined: Apr 16, 2018
    Posts: 2,986

    ramblin dan

    I always found it tends to tie a car to an era like other things you do to a car. Kind of like those giant side pipes that used to grace cars and vans of the seventies. I guess when it comes down to it when you think about the white lettering on tires it's just free advertising for the tire company.

    Attached Files:

  24. Bandit Billy
    Joined: Sep 16, 2014
    Posts: 9,029

    Bandit Billy

    Hi, my name is Billy and I am a reforming musclecar addict, currently on project 2 of a 12 step hot rod program.
    I still have T/A's on cast finish TT's on the 442 white letters out, and a set of red lines on Olds SS1's, but on vintage cars I don't favor the look of either. I am however fond of the show cars that painted their letters for detail, that looks cool on the right car. I even thought it would be cool to have black letters in a wide white wall as long as they are small.
  25. woodsnwater
    Joined: Apr 4, 2016
    Posts: 498

    from North Al.

    I like them on street rods. Always have.
    bembry likes this.
  26. I would agree its dated. the look of the car hasn't really changed since 1970 when my grandparents originally bought the car and really a wheel and tire change would set the car back to the early 60's as the rest of the car is more traditional. It needs tires currently so thinking its time for a change and thinking of chrome reverse and thin whitewalls
    guthriesmith likes this.
  27. rusty rocket
    Joined: Oct 30, 2011
    Posts: 4,587

    rusty rocket

    7B77AA40-4C23-48EF-845E-60380023ABF1.jpeg I don’t care for them but I did hand paint my tires on the single seater.
    Muttley, Tim, NHRANUT and 9 others like this.
  28. 302GMC
    Joined: Dec 15, 2005
    Posts: 7,247

    from Idaho

    Anyone remember "Tire Tattoos" ? Some of us got asked where we bought the "Zig-Zag Maypops".
  29. Resized_20200529_142739.jpeg
    My car is wearing these as a matter of convenience, they are the 14's off my o/t Falcon & were used as rollers while working on the car.
    When it was dry enough out to drive it around the block ( the same time as Covid hit), I snapped on the original Falcon hubcaps to see how it would look with full discs.
    At that point I couldn't afford new rubber so I just drove it as is.
    The plan is for 15" steelies with beauty rings & poverty caps with WWW.
    As of yet no one has busted my chops for either the raised white letters or the 69 Falcon caps.
    My people might not be as traditional as the folks on this site.
  30. Not a fan. I turn white raised letters and whitewalls in. I even turned them in on the plastic wheels on my barbeque.

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