16" tires who is running what and do you like them?

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Ned Gorski
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16" tires who is running what and do you like them?

#1 Post by Ned Gorski » Fri Jul 20, 2018 8:17 am

i'm considering a tire change

i am currently running 4 year old Firestone 500/525 -16 bias ply tires with about 2500 miles on them.
They run smooth when i have the air pressure between 20 and 25 psi but corner awful feels like they will come off the rims . if i increase the pressure to 30psi they corner better but run a little lumpy like a bent rim or unbalanced tire ( rims are true wheels are balanced ) after about 20 minutes driving on a hot road the tires smooth out. . i store my car on a 1 inch rubber rubber floor mat so why am i getting flat spots ? is this a normal trait of bias ply tires ? possibly i'm expecting to much from 75 year old bias ply tire technology?

. so i'm considering buying radial tire and would love to see a few pics of the different ones that are offered on a 356 pre -A and hear what the people running them think.
pictures and opinions would greatly be appreciated

Regards Ned
55 Continental Cab
l

Brad Ripley
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Re: 16" tires who is running what and do you like them?

#2 Post by Brad Ripley » Fri Jul 20, 2018 7:23 pm

16 inch tires have always been a "problem" on 356s. I had a Q & A in a flyer several months ago on this subject -- see below for that.

In addition to the three tires listed, there is a FIRESTONE Deluxe Champion Blackwall 500/525-16 which you probably have on your car now. Beyond that there may be one or two others now available -- not much of a selection. Unless it's a out-and-out show car, why not settle for 15" wheels and modern tires?
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Alan Hall
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Re: 16" tires who is running what and do you like them?

#3 Post by Alan Hall » Sat Jul 21, 2018 11:04 am

I recently got my '53 up and running after a long hiatus of restoration and just sitting. I had some 500/525-16 Dunlop bias ply tires which looked and fit great but I realized that although they had essentially zero miles they were about 35 years old and I wasn't going to trust them on the highway, so after using them for one trip on city streets to EASY I decided to shop for replacements. I liked the idea of radials as I had run the car on 15 inch wheels with 165-15 radials for years prior to deciding to restore the car to "original". I ended up getting 165-16 AVON turbosteel tires from Longstone tires in the UK. Transaction went smoothly and tires arrived very quickly, the tires are fairly expensive but all of the 16 inch choices are pretty expensive. The tires are tubeless and the local tire shop had trouble mounting them (getting them to seat on the rim), perhaps from the way they had been bound for shipping, but they did get them done and they balanced well. As I suspected would happen the rears will not go on fully inflated, but would go on with about 15 psi and then re-inflated after installation. (I tried putting them on totally deflated but lost the seal to the rim so back to the tire shop).

I like the look of the tires and the handling is very nice, so I am very pleased. I kept one of the 35 year old "new" Dunlop bias ply tires as the spare so it would monut on the rear inflated in case of a flat.
When I used to run the 15 inch radials the spare was a bald Continental 500-16 tire that original to the car, it has since been retired to the "memorabilia" department.

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Jules Dielen
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Re: 16" tires who is running what and do you like them?

#4 Post by Jules Dielen » Sat Jul 21, 2018 11:54 am

i bought the 5.50 x 16 white walls from Coker (I think they are firestone tires) with tubes. Regretfully i also replaced the 5.00x16 spare and i am having a hard time fitting it in the trunk. The tire is too wide. I also had a heck of a time getting the tire to go in the LR wheel well, i had to deflate the tire, mount it and then reinflate it.

Handling improved ( old tires were hard as a rock) but still light years away from my A (running 165/15). It is what it is, i call my 52 my really hot girlfriend that is terrible in bed.
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Ned Gorski
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Re: 16" tires who is running what and do you like them?

#5 Post by Ned Gorski » Mon Jul 23, 2018 7:33 am

Brad i do have a set of 15's with Michelin x's i love how the car drives with them on . i just don't like the look of 15's on a pre a. i think it really takes away from the car. i'm considering the Avon radials they look to be a good fit .. here is a cut and paste from James Davis from an old thread . really good information .i still would like to see some pics of the tires on a pre -A before i buy them

Here's some comparison of tire widths and diameters (manufacturer spec). As you can see, the Michelin X tires are 20mm taller than original spec, close to what Jim reports. And 30mm wider.

Original spec tires from the ’54 Service manual:

5.00x16 Sport
670mm diameter
141mm section width
20 psi front
25.5 psi rear

Radials
Michelin X 550HR16 TT Radials (Longstone Tyres or Coker) 690mm diameter, 170mm section width
Avon 165HR16 (550HR16) Avon Turbosteel Blackwall (Universal Vintage Tire) 674mm diameter, 165mm section width
Excelsior Stahl Sport radial 550R16 (Coker) 673mm diameter, 150mm section width
Coker Classic Blackwall 550R16 (Coker) 683mm diameter, 133mm section width

Bias-ply
Firestone 525x16 (Coker or Lucas Classic) 673mm diameter, 134mm section width
Dunlop 500x16 C18 Blackwall (Universal Vintage Tire) 678mm diameter, 144mm section width
Excelsior All Black 550-16 (Coker) 679mm diameter, 114mm section width


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James Davies
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Re: 16" tires who is running what and do you like them?

#6 Post by James Davies » Tue Jul 24, 2018 12:17 am

Hi Ned,

Everyone who has the Dunlop C18 bias-ply tires loves them. Unfortunately, Dunlop has not made these in a while, and all the suppliers are out of the 5.00x16 size. Hopefully they'll make a new batch soon.

2 boutique manufacturers are Blockley and Heidenau

http://www.blockleytyre.com/page2.htm

https://en.reifenwerk-heidenau.com/arti ... DTIMER.htm

Both focus on making high-performance bias-ply period tires of the type that were available back then. A number of pre-A owners in Europe use the Heidenau and like them. The Blockleys are interesting too. The 5-block pattern ones are appropriate for our cars. I've seen the 3-block pattern ones on a 1939 Mercedes Grand Prix car.

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Albert Haefner
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Re: 16" tires who is running what and do you like them?

#7 Post by Albert Haefner » Tue Jul 24, 2018 4:14 am

Tried them all.

Most awful ones are "made in Nowhere" Firestone whitewalls.
Dunlop eaten up within 5.000 miles on front and rear axles
Michelin good tire but not good looking
Avon 4 plies for Cox. maxspeed 120 Kmh
Avon 185/80R16 88H modern size, tubeless, slightly too big

I drive and sell German HEIDENAU 5.00-5.25x16 tube type
made by Heidenau, motorcycle tire specialist.
Very good quality at fair prices.
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Craig Richter
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Re: 16" tires who is running what and do you like them?

#8 Post by Craig Richter » Tue Jul 24, 2018 5:02 pm

16x3.25 with whatever make bias-ply tire is 1930's tractor technology, and drive like it. Do look real nice on show cars though. 15x4.5 doesn't look so good on PreA's, but you can get 20-year newer radial technology which is surprisingly adequate considering the suspension. But if you want your PreA to corner like a slot car in a rainstorm, widen your 16's to 5.5" and use Dunlop Direzza 195/50's. Actually, lots of new cars now use 16" wheels, so tires in this size are plentiful, cheap and grip like crazy. I wouldn't trust giving this beautiful 11-year old a birthday ride with anything less!
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Ned Gorski
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Re: 16" tires who is running what and do you like them?

#9 Post by Ned Gorski » Wed Jul 25, 2018 7:54 am

Nice ride Craig slot car in a rainstorm i like that . i would settle for cornering like a jeep wrangler on dry pavement. i like the look of the bias ply tires but the feel of the radial, Bias ply feel loose. But that's part of the charm of the pre A's can't have your cake and eat it too . i know virtually nothing about tires, i was hoping that someone made a radial tire that looked like a bias ply tire, guess i'm S.O.L . for now ill stick with my 15" Michelin x's and us my 16"s for shows. who knows possibly in the near future some company may improve on the tire design and actually make a radial that looks period correct for a pre-a or a stiffer side wall bias-ply tire.

Regards Ned
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David Green
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Re: 16" tires who is running what and do you like them?

#10 Post by David Green » Wed Jul 25, 2018 11:28 am

I thought I'd add an interesting bit of Pre-A tire history here. My '53 survivor came with three seemingly unrelated items: a Sears motorcycle tire mounted on an original wheel as the spare, an original Panorama, Volume 1, Issue 1 (December, 1955) and an old, but undated, Sears 10 page newsprint auto parts and tire catalogue. Fortunately before I trashed the spare tire a friend read the Panorama and pointed out that in 1955 the PCA recommended Sears motorcycle tires as replacements! I keep the Sears spare in the car but since I'd never use it I keep it at only 15# to prevent it exploding in the trunk and doing major damage.
In response to the original post I run 16" Avon radials on repro wheels around town and Firestone bias tires on the original wheels for shows and events. I buy my tires from Russ at Lucas Classic Tires in Long Beach, CA (562) 595-6721. Knowledgable, great service and fast shipping.
Regards,
David
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Hendrik Moulds
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Re: 16" tires who is running what and do you like them?

#11 Post by Hendrik Moulds » Thu Jul 26, 2018 12:10 pm

I've used Avon Tourists over the past 14 years and 30000 miles, am on my second set and am happy with them. :D
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Re: 16" tires who is running what and do you like them?

#12 Post by Oliver Strobel » Wed Aug 01, 2018 11:59 am

Albert Haefner wrote:Tried them all.

Most awful ones are "made in Nowhere" Firestone whitewalls.
Dunlop eaten up within 5.000 miles on front and rear axles
Michelin good tire but not good looking
Avon 4 plies for Cox. maxspeed 120 Kmh
Avon 185/80R16 88H modern size, tubeless, slightly too big

I drive and sell German HEIDENAU 5.00-5.25x16 tube type
made by Heidenau, motorcycle tire specialist.
Very good quality at fair prices.
Interesting. But what kind of tire would you recomment for Speed >120 km/h?

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Dana McDaniel
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Re: 16" tires who is running what and do you like them?

#13 Post by Dana McDaniel » Sat Aug 25, 2018 7:51 pm

In 2011, for show purposes maintaining proper wheels, I ordered five 165-16 AVON turbosteel tires and tubes from Longstone tires in the UK. They were 3 months old from the factory and arrived in great shape. A well respected local club member running these on a 54 Speedster told me I wouldn't bother putting my old 15" wheels on for driving. I added the tubes for safety on that narrow rim, as I intended to drive the car as I used to in the 60's. The plus side is they're amazing drivers! I don't have to deflate the rears to get on/off (like I did with the 165-15 Pirelli Centuratos). I use a sheet of 6 mil teflon coated fiberglass (probably McMaster-Carr) to drape over the top of the tire down between the rim and brake drum. It's a little effort to wiggle it through, but not major (no scuffed sidewall or scrapping between rim and brake drum).
Minus is the diameter is an inch+ larger and won't fit the trunk well (or trunk). I've stowed it behind the seats for show (Speedster) and have a can of "slime" for a flat that hasn't occurred. I also get a vibration at 65-70 on some surfaces, which could be wheel related. I still need to connect with a friend to check "trueness" (thanks to Brad for sending me some specs). It's not the balance, and I'm not ready to blame a tube inside a tubeless tire. I've put 14k miles on these including a 1600 mile trip. They track straight, don't follow road groves, and ride nicer than a pre-A should. They also stick way better than the bias ply Bruce's competition recaps I started with. Just sayin'.
Dana McDaniel

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