So! Mainly for us speedster folk, and a few who like to spruce up their stock Ts: I really like whitewall tires. Depending on the car they can big walls, small walls, just a stripe, or maybe only white letters. But very few vehicles look better with an all black tire, that's just me though.
I have some excellent Sears Allstate Safety Tread whitewalls that my granddad purchased for Eliza back in the 70s. The problem is the white is really more tan or brown now and is cracked and generally not looking great. So I set out to find some way to fix it. Apparently there's a zillion formulas and methods from the rat rod guys for do it yourself whitewalls.
Eventually, I found Ranger Tire Paint - specifically formulated to add whitewall to your tire. I figured it would work pretty well going on top of an already mostly white area. All of the negative comments seem to be from folks who didn't take the time to prep the tire correctly. I've only done one so far and the proof will be in how it holds up as I drive, but man check out the pics!
This one is probably the best looking tire I have, but it's still a bit tan and cracked.
Here's the worst tire I had after getting painted! It looks brand new. Filled in all the little cracks and smoothed out nicely.
Here's both tires, noticeably different even at this distance.
Have whitewalls that need TLC? Want whitewalls? Try some Ranger Tire Paint. This little can is only $15, and a tiny bit goes a long way. I'm going to give each whitewall 3 coats and I'll still have a bunch left over.
Seth, can you describe and or show your application method please? This may just be the cat's meow.
I'll post pics but I have a $7 one inch angled paint brush. The directions on the can are to make the coats as light and thin as possible. I used black electricians tape on the tire, stuck nicely and was easy to follow the curve (used one long piece all the way around) and then used Frog Tape on the edge of the rim, about 6 inch pieces that I tucked in between the rim and tire with a sharp flat tip screw driver. Obviously having the tire off would be the best, but I wasn't that ambitious. A tiny bit goes a long way - it's about the consistency of Elmer's glue, maybe a touch thicker. It takes longer to tape the tire and rim than to put a coat on. I let each coat dry about 10 minutes (completely dry to touch). That tire got 3 coats, the last one wasn't "thin" is was about halfway between thin and medium.
I'll post some application pics as well as some close ups of some finished whitewall and some that I haven't done yet. You'll be amazed at the cracks and stuff it filled in.
Here's some in-process pics:
Electricians tape and Frog Tape
You can see where the electricians tape works nicely on the rubber and the Frog Tape slides in to the joint between the rim and tire nicely.
Heres some whitewall up close before painting
And an up close pic after painting
Anyway, just wanted to share.
You didn't do the tread too? You could have had the scarce "all white" tires. Sidewalls look great though.
Lol, no, just the sidewalls.
The only downside to this little project is it makes me realize how pretty much the whole car is starting to look pretty nice . . . except that I really need to clean up and repaint the rims and the body. They are both missing paint and have dings and all kinds of stuff.
How did you clean/prepare the old white walls before paint?
On a side note.. About 1917-23 tires with white or natural rubber colored walls were factory supplied on Fords - it was only the rubber that met the road that was black = mixed with coal powder for better durability. The difference from later days white wall tires is the separation line between black and non colored rubber was a bit uneven from the production process of the early tires. Later days white walls are applied more precise on top of black rubber.
Original front tire from the Rip Van Winkle 1917 T
I scrubbed the tire dry with a stiff bristle brush to get any dirt off. I wiped down the whitewall with acetone really well to remove any oil/grease/etc so that the tire was as clean and dry as possible.
If you use some kind of tire shine (which most folks probably don't on their T's) then you may need to clean the area you are going to paint more aggressively.
Big fan of white walls and they came out great. They look right at home on Eliza
Seth Try a Mr Clean magic eraser it's what I use on my '46 and it took white walls like yours and almost made the cracks disappear.