Let’s face it – modern tire designs are much, much safer than the tires of a couple of generations ago. Rubber compounds are better, steel belted radials handle better and wear longer than older bias-ply tires, traction is better, tires are less prone to blowouts or failure, and performance during braking, acceleration and cornering is much improved over 60s- or 50s-era tires. Still, if you’re restoring a muscle car or vintage truck, you want tires that are appropriate as far as size and appearance for your vehicle (if it’s a British car, perhaps we should say “tyres”).
If you’ve got a vintage muscle car, the BF Goodrich Radial T/A is an excellent choice, with period-correct raised white letters and 22 sizes to choose from. The Radial T/A is a low-profile classic-look tire that benefits from modern design and manufacturing, with BF Goodrich’s all-season tread compound, computer-designed tread block phasing and variable groove angle geometry for low noise and predictable handling. The 50-series tires use BF Goodrich’s ETEC (Equal Tension Containment) system of spiral-wound nylon, and high modulus sidewall stabilizers for a stiffer sidewall and enhanced steering response.
The Firestone Firehawk Wide Oval Indy 500 doesn’t feature raised white letters, but it does benefit from Firestone’s lengthy history in racing tires. The Wide Oval name originated with the first Firestone low-profile tires, revolutionizing high-performance street tires back in the 60s. The Firehawk Wide Oval Indy 500 uses Firestone’s silica enhanced Long Link Carbon rubber formulation and a directional tread design with large independent shoulder blocks and twin intermediate ribs for great performance in wet or dry conditions.
Remember how sharp red line tires looked on muscle cars back in the 60s and 70s? Firestone still makes a Wide Oval with red line sidewalls, specifically as a replacement for vintage tires. The Poly Glass Redline is a non-radial, tubeless, bias ply tire with vintage-style tread pattern directly from original tire molds…except with modern materials and manufacturing technology.
If you’ve got a car from the 40s or 50s, you know how sharp they can look with fat whitewall tires. Wide whitewalls are a little hard to come by…but the BF Goodrich 2 7/8 is a great replacement. It features an all-season tread and modern tread design, with an S-speed rating (112 mph). The whitewall material is built in…not glued on or ground in…for lasting good looks, and the tire is 100% DOT approved and legal in all states.