Looking at Lang's "new catalogue" i'm a little confused at the difference between the Firestone which is "white with tread" and the Firestone "Non skid white" Both appear to have the identical tread pattern.
Also, the Wards Riverside is an alternative.
Does anybody have an opinion or experience with any of these three advertised?
There has been a lot of discussion of late on tyres and I don't want to get a set of low quality / period in correct tyres!
The easy part of the answer: The Firestone NON-SKID 30 x 3 1/2 white tires have the words NON SKID as the tread. You can click on their photo at: https://www.modeltford.com/item/TIRE2NSW.aspx and zoom in a little and sort-of-see that. Their Firestone White with tread as an actual tread pattern rather than the words non-skid alternating as the tread of the tire. Note – they have the “black” tire in the photo but the tread should be similar see: https://www.modeltford.com/item/TIRE2W.aspx Note the photos are better and you can zoom in on the tread pattern at Coker’s see : https://www.cokertire.com/30x3-5-firestone-all-white.html and https://www.cokertire.com/30x3-firestone-non-skid-all-white.html shows the non-skid lettering much better (although probably not on the 30x 3 firestone but a wider one).
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You did not mention what year car you were wanting the tires for. But the MTFCI Judging Guidelines have smooth (i.e. no tread) design natural rubber color (off white) listed until 1915 when some but not all of the rear tires began to have tread. Item 580. If they are for your 1910 having smooth tires would be correct – but would not be what I would recommend if you are planning to drive the car much. For that matter if you are going to drive the car a lot, you may want to consider having an extra set of wheels with the T-drivers or similar tires for the driving part and then if you want to “show the car” put the tires that cost more and do not last as long on the car.
For a little history on the non-skid please see: http://theoldmotor.com/?p=23085 And according to the book Tire Tread and Tire Track Evidence: Recovery and Forensic Examination at: https://books.google.com/books?id=yRsHlttaMrMC&pg=PR30&lpg=PR30&dq=When+did+firestone+introduce+the+non+skid+tire&source=bl&ots=JBDyWRGNeq&sig=xgJ88ov9UjULDIJPtw4lEqeIHs8&hl=en&sa=X&ei=wNWPVZn7HYq-ggSFx5DYAw&ved=0CBoQ6AEwAQ#v=onepage&q=When%20did%20firestone%20introduce%20the%20non%20skid%20tire&f=false page 6 Firestone introduced the Non Skid tread pattern in 1908 so it would have been available as a replacement tire. Note – I do not know what style Ford of Canada used. I would guess similar to the USA – smooth until 1915 when some rear tires started having tread. But is someone has information on when Ford of Canada began using tires with tread, please let us know.
I don’t have any experience with how long the white tires tend to last. But from the posting on the forum, they appear to wear out sooner than the black tires.
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Early wear out is one issue, while cracking and color transformation are commonly reported effects that can rapidly occur with these tires. These conditions can apparently equally affect tires that are driven as compared to those that are mounted on vehicles stored in a climate controlled environment. I have yet to see a set on any vehicle that are aesthetically perfect, so recommend you may want to adjust your expectations accordingly. I run white tires because I like the look, especially the random discoloration, as I think this compliments the age of the car. I put White Firestones on my Town Car after an earlier set of Black Excelsiors fell apart with less that 1000 miles on them. I figured I might as well enjoy the look, if any option was going to display structural issues. One additional comment about the treaded Firestones versus other White makes....this model's rear tires look like a Balloon tire, whereas appearance of the Universal style Rears for instance look closer in scale to those seen in original photos.
There is something different about the white rubber they're using now. Last summer I mounted a new set of ribbed white Universals on a friends car (that never gets driven and rarely sees direct sunlight) and in two months they started turning brown. A year later they are all very brown all over. When first mounted they looked brilliant against the 30 year old smooth white Universals we took off. Now the 30 year old ones look better than the new ones as they are merely ivory by comparison.
I've also mounted two sets of gray smooth Universals and they also start to brown soon after taking off the wrapper. I think the gray ones are merely some sort of gray paint over a white tire. They aren't true gray rubber.
Hope this helps with your decision. I haven't handled every kind of white tire there is, but my experiences with what I have has been disappointing.
The white tires sure look pretty, but they don't last very long. That's true whether you drive them or not. My goal has always been to wear them out before they get too weather cracked.
Now, that I've accomplished that on two sets of smooth whites in six years, I've given in and decided that I can't afford to run them anymore. I just purchased a set of black Wards Riversides from Lucas. They're a replica of one of the most popular T era aftermarket tires. I'll mount them up this week, so that I'll be ready for the big 4th of July tour. They cost about half as much as the smooth whites and should last twice as long.