Monthly Archives: September 2011

Musclecar Tires: Kelsey Tire

“It may never shine like the chrome or look as supple as the leather, but the tire is paramount to the ride quality and enjoyment  of your car,” says John Kelsey, president of Kelsey Tire. Kelsey Tire owns the exclusive rights to the Goodyear tire molds. Under the title of the Goodyear Collector Series, they sell Goodyear’s classic 4-ply tires in sizes 695/14 with 7/8-inch whitewall (WW), 750/14 with 2 1/4-inch WW, 800/14 (with 1-and 2 1/4-inch WW). Under the subtitle Performance Group, they market the famous Polyglas and Polyglas GT in sizes E70/14, F70/15, F60/15 and G60/15, with or without raised white line tire; and the tubeless 4-Ply Poly Speedway 350 E70/15, with or without RWL.


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Musclecar Tires: Coker Tire

Operating out of a historic landmark building (of their own restoration) in Chattanooga, Tennessee, Coker Tire produces the complete line of 4-ply polyester BF Goodrich Silvertowns, and an authentic line of their own tires, created out of a combination of new and reclaimed molds. Many of the Silverton line were original on late- ’50s/early- 60′s high-performance cars, like the 670/15 with 1- or 2 1/2 inch whitewalls (WW), original on ’55-’ 64 Corvettes.The list follows like so: 750/14 (1- and 2 1/4 -inch WW, and 3/8-inch redline), 800/14 and 850/14 (with 1-and 2 1/4-inch WW), F70/14 (3/8-inch redline), 670/15 (1- and 2 1/2-inch WW), 775/15 (5/8- and 1-inch WW, and 3/8-inch redline or goldline), and 710/15 (2 1/2- and 3-inch WW).

They also sell a variety of Coker brand tires for musclecars, in sizes and styles that follow: 775/14 (3/8-inch red and goldline), E70/14 (3/8-inch redline), G70/14 (3/8-inch redline), 815/15 (1-inch WW, and 1-inch WW with 3/8-inch redline), F70/15 (3/8-inch WW). And for 1967-1974 musclecars, they sell the Firestone Wide Oval: D70/15, with raised white lettering (RWL), pinstripe or redline. In addition, they sell the F60/15 with RWL only.

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Original Tires

In spite of the drawbacks, most restorers and collectors, even those who enjoy spinning their wheels once in while, insist on authentic tires. And rightly so. “The stronger the restoration, the stronger the restoration market will be,” said Coker Tire president, Corky Coker, a car restorer and noted collector.

Nevertheless, authentic tires no longer have to be a handling handicap. Reproduction tires might look identical to the tires that came originally on your Mustang or Charger, but besides their bias-ply construction, they have very little in common.

The Goodyear Polyglas tires, or Firestone Wide Ovals that you’d buy today are made the same way, in the same molds, but of modern compounds. Unlike the originals, they must exceed DOT standards.

“The customer today benefits from many areas of modern technology,” says Kelsey. “The tire has to be tested to go way beyond what the original tire had to.”

But how do you know which one belongs on your car?

“I get guys in here with pictures of their car in front of the factory and they say, ‘I want this tire.’ The problem is, there’s just as likely another picture of that same kind of car in front of that same factory, taken the next day, with a different set of tires,” says Lucas.

This poses a difficult problem for the restorer. While some manufacturers’ specifications denote exactly what brand of tire the car came equipped with, (for instance, the Skylark GS, Javelin and Chevelle specified Firestone Wide Ovals at various times, and the Mustang specified Goodyear Polyglas) a great majority did not. Even for those that specified exactly, there is no assurance that those same cars did not occasionally roll out of the showroom wearing another brand of tires.

In 1966, the Firestone Wide Oval was introduced and nearly every hi-po musclecar built between ’67 and ’73 arrived in the showroom shoed in Wide Oval rubber. They were original equipment on the GTO, Skylark GS, Corvette, Chevelle, Camaro, Charger, Challenger, Roadrunner, Mustang, Torino, Javelina and AMX.

While it may be true that nearly every car of the era had Wide Ovals on their option list, how can the appearance of so many musclecars with Goodyear Polyglas tires be explained? The answer: Non-exclusive arrangements were made between tire makers and car manufacturers. Although Ford, GM and Chrysler might have tested and favored one tire over another, their availability was paramount. The bottom line for owners, however, was that for the first time performance tires.

As performance-enhancing as they were, the Goodyear Polyglas tires were noted more for their long tread life. Available as OE in January 1968, this tire had 2-plus-2 construction: a two-ply polyester sidewall and two fiberglass circumferential belts. It had a low-aspect ratio, and was Goodyear’s first.


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Tires..and Other Common Misconceptions

Twenty-five years ago, monster-engine Mopars, Fords and Chevys were riding on narrow, high-profile blackwalls that, presently, we wouldn’t trust on a three-speed bicycle. “Remember, the tread on the 427 Corvette is only 4 1/2 inches wide,” says John Kelsey, president of Kelsey Tire, which 10 years ago, acquired the rights to the old Goodyear molds.

Today, tires are an integral part of a car’s handling, safety and ride quality. “There is more of a hand-in-glove relationship now between car makers and tire makers,” says Kelsey.

Anyone who’s ever been behind the wheel of a 427 with original tires, or any similarly high-power car, knows “that feeling”: The feeling of pushing it hard into a turn and having it break loose, knowing that there’s no way you’re going to bring it back – not with these tires – and the only thing left to do is start the introductions.


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The Right Tire / Car Match

Possibly the only thing more flexible than the category of automobiles we call muscle-cars, is the acceptance of “correct tires.” While you can generally determine “musclecarness” by how the vehicle meets certain design, performance and chronological criteria, establishing what tires were original on your ride isn’t so easy. In fact, any number of tires could be “the correct one.”

How can this be? As Stan Lucas (president of Lucas Automotive, a distributor of the Goodyear Collector Series) succinctly puts it: “General Motors didn’t shut down the assembly line just because Goodyear was on strike.”

In other words, the relationship between car and tire makers was important, but when it came to slowing production, a tire was a tire. And it’s not difficult to see why: As performance enhancing equipment, these tires weren’t very good.

Tires have changed considerably over the years and Kelsey Tire has applications to fit just about any type of classic car. Tire construction was always improving, and by the late ’50s, Goodyear introduced a new streamlined looking, wide whitewall tire.


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How You Can Fix 2,341 Car Models! Quickly, Easily and Right on the very first try

Whether you’re a beginner or an expert mechanic – this manual can help you “Breeze Through” the toughest auto repair job.

Don’t waste time, money, energy, by trying to guess how to fix a car! Do what the experts do. Whether it’s a simple carburetor adjustment or a complete overhaul – simply look up the job in the index of Motor’s New Auto Repair Manual. Turn to page covering job. Follow clear, illustrated, step-by-step instructions. See for yourself how easy it is!

Over 3,800 Pictures! So Complete, So simple, You Can’t Go Wrong!


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Event Guide September and October ’11

September 17

Manitoba Mustang and Ford Association present “Farewell to Summer” Car Show N’ Shine 10am-4pm at Kildonan Place Shopping Centre. Open to all makes of cars & trucks. Free for all participants. For more info and updates call (204)981-PONYcall skype logo Event Guide September and October 11(204)981-PONY(7669), or visit,

September 18

Cruise Night at the Pony Corral Restaurant and Bar 400 Wilton @ Grant Ave. 4:00pm to 10:00pm. All antique, classics and special interest vehicles are welcome.

September 18

Cruisin’ the Peg Winnipeg’s Sunday night cruise destination. Tavern United, 826 Regent Ave. W. 6:00pm to 10:00pm. All classics, antiques, muscle, sports, specialty vehicles, & motorcycles are welcome. Great rides, great friends & safe crusing!

September 24

Legends Car Club “Fall Drive to the Hills” A scenic and fun event. It is the last event of our cruz season. Beautiful scenery and a wind up meal at a reasonable additional cost. For more info call (204)324-9923call skype logo Event Guide September and October 11(204)324-9923,,

September 25

Manitoba Street Rod Association “Toy Run” Revenue Canada parking lot, Lagimodiere & Reenders across from Sears, Kildonan Place. Outdoor car show & shine 11am-5pm. Registration starts @ 10am. Admission is a new unwrapped toy. Proceeds to the Rehabilitation Centre for Children. Contact George Knight @ (204)222-2688call skype logo Event Guide September and October 11(204)222-2688 or for info or for details. The “Toy Run” & MSRA support children’s charities – “Take a kid to a car show”.

September 25

Cruise Night at the Pony Corral Restaurant and Bar 400 Wilton @ Grant Ave. 4:00pm to 10:00pm. All antique, classics and special interest vehicles are welcome.

September 25

Cruis’ the Peg Winnipeg’s Sunday night cruise destination. Tavern United, 826 Regent Ave. W. 6:00pm to 10:00pm. All classics, antiques, muscle, sports, specialty vehicles & motorcycles are welcome. Great rides, great friends & safe cruising!
October 2011

October 2

Farewell to Summer Final cruise night presented by the Manitoba Pontiac Association (incorporating Buick and Oldsmobile) and the Pony Corral Restaurant and Bar, 400 Wilton at Grant Ave. 3pm-10pm. Open to all antiques, classics and special interest vehicles. Prize draws. Must have vehicle and be in attendance (regularly) to win.

October 16

All New ‘Jeep’ Wagoneer

“Sure as you’re alive! I’ve got 4-wheel Drivepower”-the easiest working, quietest running 4-wheel drive system ever, more usable cargo area than other any other wagon in my class, and America’s only automotive overhead cam engine, the high torque Tornado-OHC. Plus I got optional independent front suspension, power steering, power brakes, automatic transmission and a real passenger car ride. I also got-”


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