Unique Cars - - CLASSIC TYRES -

RUS­SELL STUCKEY of Mel­bournebased Stuckey Tyres, re­mem­bers when ra­dial tyres were a new thing, but adds that these days few man­u­fac­tur­ers have the tech­ni­cal ca­pa­bil­ity or pro­duc­tion pro­cesses to make their pre­de­ces­sors – crossply tyres. Ra­di­als have be­come the tyre of choice, as they are made in many fac­to­ries on the lat­est equip­ment and read­ily avail­able. Stuckey said: “I re­mem­ber when ra­dial tyres came out in the 60s and if you had a tricked-up Holden and put on wide wheels, you put Pirellis on it, which had a very rugged and bold pat­tern”. Stuckey also dis­pelled a myth that the tread pat­tern was a way of telling if it is a ra­dial or a cross-ply and looks back at a cou­ple of Aussie mus­cle cars to make his point. “The first GT Fal­con came out with 18514 ra­di­als, but the orig­i­nal Holden Monaro came out on the cross-ply tyres and red side­walls. Both of those tyres had a very plain look­ing pat­tern.

“To be hon­est I can­not see the value in a cross-ply tyre ex­cept in a rare in­stance where a par­tic­u­lar car has come out with a dis­tinc­tive cross-ply tyre and con­course judges would look for that.” How­ever Ben McKin­non from An­tique Tyres cau­tions: “There are cars for which ra­di­als are not an op­tion due to rim width, tyre size etc. For ex­am­ple, a car that runs a 16x3.5 rim that would have had a 500/525-16 as stan­dard has no safe ra­dial op­tion.” If in doubt get ex­pert ad­vice. An­tique runs an on­line ser­vice at an­ti­que­tyreson­, which cov­ers the en­tire coun­try. Ben ex­plains that while he ob­vi­ously has a vested in­ter­ested in own­ers chang­ing over their rub­ber, there is nev­er­the­less a use-by date. “I have peo­ple come to me at shows and ask me to say their 25-year-old tyres are okay – they kinda get grumpy when I say I can’t,” he says, adding that tyres sim­ply have a use-by date that’s much shorter than that. Then he adds a sur­pris­ing note: “The best thing you can do for your tyres is drive the hell out of them.” He reck­ons reg­u­lar use is the best for­mula – which, let’s face it ap­plies to pretty much the whole car!

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