Still new to the Model T so I need a lot of help.Putting new tires on 24 Touring. Current set of Olympic's are pretty well dry rotted. They are 30x3.5, have the 1 piece demountable rims I think,(4 bolts hold rim to wood spoke wheels).Some questions: Are these the clincher tires? What color are the rims suppose to be? and what would be a decent tire to put back on? I greatly appreciate everyone's help on everything.
One of the cheapest tires is Universal T-Driver tires. When I bought mine they were $154 each.
They are clincher tires. The rims were probably cadmium plated. I used what is colloquially known as "Oklahoma Chrome" (rattle can)
I'm still a newbie, so take the following with a grain of salt:
Regarding clincher tire types, none of the catalogs I've seen say anything about differences in general handling, puncture resistance, braking ability, traction on wet pavement, or anything else of that nature. A phone call to Universal Tire revealed that of the brands they manufacture (Universal, Firestone, Montgomery Wards Riverside), all have a 4-ply, nylon cord and, for a given size, all have the same load rating.
Montgomery Ward Riversides whine a little louder than the other tread designs. The original, made-in USA incarnation of this tire is reputed to be the longest-lasting Model T tire ever produced, but tougher to mount and dismount because the rubber is necessarily stiffer. But that was years ago. Riverside's reputation for durability no longer applies because nowadays, all Model T clincher tires, including Riversides, come from the same factory in Vietnam and the same, much softer rubber recipe is used for all of the black tires. I read somewhere that the new Ward Riversides don't last quite as long as the other tread designs because of a slightly smaller footprint, but that’s baloney. I measured both brands of tread and they’re the same size.
Universals are a little larger in diameter than the other brands, so theoretically, they'll yield a very slight "overdrive" effect while cruising and slightly worse hill-climbing performance. Maybe that kind of physics is interesting to academic types, but in real life, I doubt anyone would notice such a difference. Universals are the most common, least expensive Model T tire available, but according to the manufacturer, they’re of the same quality as all the other black clinchers.
Harvey Firestone was one of Henry Ford's camping buddies and Firestone tires have the advantage of being original, historically authentic equipment. Universal Tire admits that though their Firestone NON-SKID clinchers are made from the same recipe as their other black tires, they do wear out faster because of the tread design. Not a good thing for a tire that's about twice the price of the others. I used to have the NON-SKID tread incarnation of the Firestone tire on my front wheels and two sets wore out in rapid succession. I finally wised up and replaced them with regular-tread Firestones.
Compared side by side, you can easily see that the regular-tread Firestone is about two inches taller than the NON-SKID Firestone. Regular Treads handle better and wear longer.
The rumor mill has it that white tires are once again being produced. Though they look very nice and are the only "correct" tire for the brass Model T's, they are extremely expensive. They also wear out very quickly because the lack the carbon-black ingredient which stiffens the rubber of the black tires.
I've read in Harold Sharon's book, "Understanding Your Brass Car" (highly recommended—the best and most authoritative technical book I've ever read on the subject), that some tires on the market today are to be avoided because they have an incorrect clincher design which will cause wear along the rim due to flexing and allow the inner-tube to creep in and get pinched. Unfortunately, Mr. Sharon doesn't name names, so I’m going to speculate a little on the clinchers of two brands of tires produced today—and you can take it for what it’s worth:
Firestones were original equipment on millions of Model T Fords and they worked just fine back then, even without flaps (and we know that Mr. Ford never installed flaps). Assuming the original Firestone molds are being used by today’s Vietnamese manufacturer, the clinchers will be of the same size and shape and should work as well as they did back in the days when Henry and Harvey were pals. As for personal experience, I’ve been running Vietnamese Firestones without flaps for years and haven’t had an inner-tube pinching problem. The original Montgomery Wards Riverside tires were of even higher quality than the Firestones, so again, assuming use of the original molds, the clinchers of today’s Vietnamese Riversides should also work as well as ever.
All white clinchers are in the 2014 langs catalog
While I think all the clincher tires are made in the same place I also think there are a couple different rubber recipes.
The black Firestone treaded tires are hard to mount and long lasting. Ditto the Coker Excelsiors.
The Firestone Non Skids and Universal T Driver tires are soft and easy to mount.
Below is a good film of the Dunlop tire factory c1952(?). I imagine our repro tires are made similarly. A tire dealer here in the USA tells me one of the most expensive items in reproducing vintage tires is the mold. These are sometime "rented out" by their owners to various dealers who wish to sell the tire. Not all vintage tires are made in Vietnam. There is one company in Pennsylvania that makes them, plus they are still produced in the UK and Europe, plus in Korea. Here is a little article:
This will explain correct rim color: http://www.mtfca.com/discus/messages/331880/356826.html?1366561226.
I need to make a website page on wheels and rims so I don't have to keep looking up the information whenever the question comes up.
The rims were zinc coated and the color was a very dull gray just like all the NOS rims I have.
Rims prior to 1919 were entirely painted. Blue (actually near black) or black. Pin striped through 1912.
Image property of the Benson Ford archive, used here under my license:
That is a great photo Royce. I believe the '13s were the same, and least from the scraping and sanding I've done, except I think the '13s had a single stripe on the felloe. Royce, can you zoom in on that valve stem for more detail? I'm interested in the fellow nut. Also, I'm not sure if the '13s had the dots on each of the hub bolts.
Another thing to consider on the above comments, is all the tires manufactured today are oversize, especially the Excelsiors. I don't believe anyone manufactures a true 30X 3 1/2 or a 30X 3.
The Firestone Non Skids are nominal size I think Larry. All the others are oversize.
Here's a much reduced version of the full image of the late 1912 touring with Henry Ford. The rear wheel valve stem actually blows up better.
This is an earlier style 1912 touring inside the Highland Park Plant. It has the more typical valve stem and dust cover. Note the raven finish on the 1912 hub cap.
Here's another factory photo, courtesy of the Archives. Note the tag on the steering column and the apparent brass covers on the windshield hinge. Using a magnifying glass on the original prints reveals that some cars had hex valve stem nuts on the wheels and some were round, at least during the 13-14 era.
Why they would drag the other three cars out onto the sidewalk like this is a mystery to me. Maybe they were being picked up by a dealer.
Forgot to note: Also notice that the splash apron has no crease/bulge.
That is a really strange image. I wonder what is supporting the three nose down 14s?
Too bad there isn't a companion photo taken from the other side.
I'm thinking, maybe they were showing how they could ship 3 cars in the space of one.
That certainly could be, though I don't think a regular boxcar would have a roof that high.
R V A's photo is an interesting one. I believe it is a '14 style body, the doors do not go to the bottom of the body. However it is a '13 style windshield. The hinge is pin forward indicating that it folds forward, and there does not appear to be enough dog-leg in the windshield support for it to go back either (although the angle makes it difficult to be certain). The car may well be a late '13. I believe that the improved ('14 style) touring body was leaving production as early as July '13 along with the earlier style bodies carrying on till September or so.
I also believe the side apron does have the bulge in it. Again, the angle of the photo and the light reflections make it difficult to be sure either way.
Great photos! Even if it was from thread-drift. Thank you all.
Drive carefully, and enjoy, W2