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Modern tires for your classic muscle car

We all know that the muscle cars of the 60s and early 70s are getting smaller all the time. It’s very difficult to track many parts of OEMespecially trim and inside bits, and of course you want to keep the original muscle car. The good news is that you don’t have to drive your 140 mph car in a set of 70 mph 60s-era bias-ply tires.

Maintain the period of your right muscle car (from the earth above)

Muscle cars are typically regarded as an American ride from about ’62 to ’73, with a V8 that puts out a lot of horsepower and some sporting styles, although certain full size cars like Impalas, Catalinas, Satellites and Torinos fall into that category as well.

When you’re restoring a muscle car for the show circuit, is striving for a cleaner and more correct restoration that can be managed, with a number adjustment train, the appropriate interior details, the proper painting codes and everything else.

And, of course, we are now in another golden era of muscle cars, with last-minute Charger sedatives, Challengers and Camaros putting more horsepower and torque than their 60-year-old cousins, but that is probably a discussion for some other time.

But you don’t want to forget the tires while you’re in it. Everyone knows that tires have a useful life and a date of sale. A set of tyres over five years is probably have some cracking and the beginnings of dry rotSo a 50-year-old OEM tire set would never work. Above that, older bias-ply tyres were less flexible in terms of rubber and construction compounds. That stiffness meant excessive rolling resistance, heat build-up, tougher ride and arduous handling, all so bias-ply and biased tires are obsolete and radials have become superior design.

– Pneumatics can make or break the overall look of your classic muscle car, and there are plenty of precise appearance-wise options for restoration.

– Many muscle cars were designed for 14” or 15” wheels. The good news is that 14s, 15s and even 13s are available as tyre of muscle reproduction cars, for a perfect period-correct look.

– Remember the old designations for widths? “He has a set of 60 in that car!” You can even find white tyre lyrics that have those size designations in them, as in the first 70s.

There is nothing but a precise restoration with a set of tires that seem completely wrong. Whether you’re looking for a naked bone look with steel wheels, dogsdish hubcaps and black walls or if you are filming for the classic look of white letters, there are historically accurate reproductions of vintage tires. They even look just-right if you’re rolling on the period-correct post-sales wheels as Cragar S/S, slots or chrome reverses.

Remember. Uniroyal Tiger Leg tires? How about Goodyear Silvertowns 3⁄8” in red line (or gold or blue line) tires? Or the favorite stone ovals perennial, with the correct source on the sides? Everyone has returned and are available for their muscle car. And of course they are built with modern traction technology, ride comfort, handling and security.

Maybe the best part is that you can find the right sizes when you’re looking for muscle car tires. In the late 1970s, Corvettes ran on 15” wheels; today, the Corvette wheels are 19” in diameter. However, in the 1960s almost everything had 15 wheels, from GTOs to station cars (although 3⁄4 tons trucks normally had 16s). It may be difficult to find modern tires in those sizes that are a good fit for your muscle appearance of the car, and you really don’t want to go to a larger wheel size without making some other modifications. The larger wheels can get rid of the speedometer/odometer readings, change the suspension geometry and even cause transmission problems, so not only keep it original with 15s instead of completely restarting its suspension?

So, there’s Restomods.

Restomods are great. You manage to keep all the fresh cachet of your 60 car, but with updates to brakes, suspension and direction that make it much safer and more predictable to drive. You can make a motor change for something that is less intensive maintenance, easier on fuel, easier to find parts for and perhaps even more powerful.

With the right technology and the right English key skills, you can arm something that is really the best of both worlds when you are making a restomod project – think an era of 50 years Chrysler coupe with a 00s Dodge Viper V10 under the hood and a complete overhaul of suspensions and brakes. Or maybe a Mustang from the late 1960s that has been refurbished with a 2010s Ford V8, complete with electronic engine controls, 14” Brembo disc brakes and a fully updated front suspension. That is perhaps the best part of the restauramods — when you don’t have that commitment to everything being precise and in line with the factory specifications and the construction sheets, you can come with anything from a soft mod to something quite radical.

Let’s say that you are driving a restoremod with which you became creative, perhaps welding an entire subframe and the front end for more up-to-date handling and road fashions. Performance or ultra-high performance tyres use a smoother, sticky rubber formulation that improves traction and road feeling for a much better driving experience. Of course, if you go with these tires, you’ll need to make sure you’ve actually done your job in those front suspension and direction mods.

Modern tires for your classic muscle car

Cars and trucks have changed a lot over the years, even in the last decade. The tires have had to keep pace with that evolution in design. Michelin presented the first radial back in the late 1940s; for the 1970s they were common and were a big step forward of the bias-ply tires. Since then, however, there have been advances in rubber formulations, footprints and internal design that have improved manipulation, footing and quality of walk to a large extent.

First, we do not recommend or advocate for someone to break traffic laws, but if you have ever been above 70 mph in a muscle car that is riding on bias-ply tires, you know it can be a fairly white-knuckle experience. Modern tyres are designed for high-speed long spells, with rubber formulations that help dissipate the heat and foot patterns designed for a stable feel in the center. These same patterns also help to evacuate the water from the tyre contact patch, moving it behind the tire for superior traction and safety in the rainy pavement.

For an exact look in a car of 30 or 40 years (or a rat rod), you need a fat bleach with the shoulder of the bark standing and sometimes a strange ball size like 710R15. Here again, you can find this tire style with modern internal radial construction for safety and management (although some vintage wire wheels may require an inner tube). And to go 1⁄4 mile at a time, there are large wrinkles and semi-slicks of Hoosier and Mickey Thompson He’ll hook you up and get you out of the hole and down the track. Race tyres have a sticky rubber compound that will certainly help dig in the hot pavement, eliminating the steering wheel.

Conclusion

Nothing looks cooler than the fat white walls in a late 50s Cadillac, white tyre on a ’70 Olds 442 or red lines on a Plymouth RoadRunner. At one point, your options were quite limited if you were looking for the correct type of tires for your classic walkBut no more. The market is there and several tire manufacturers have increased to fill that niche. Best of all, you get the benefits of modern tires with the classic look that improves your walk without getting you knitted in points in the car show.

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