I have had the same set of 21" Universal tires on my '26 coupe since I purchased them in 1970 from Mark Auto (remember them?). Although they are still good and consistently hold air, they are getting somewhat smooth and I should really consider buying a new set. While I have had great luck with these Universals, I would like to get a set of 21" Firestone all black tires for the next set, since Harvey Firestone was a good friend of Henry Ford's and Ford, no doubt gave Firestone a lot of business.
Several years ago, there were some bad tires on the market that, I believe, were manufactured in Vietnam, that would start cracking after only a couple of years and that may be one reason why I never wanted to invest in new tires. Hopefully, things have change by now, for I haven't heard anything about it for years.
What has been your experience with the new tires they make these days? Good experiences as well as bad experiences would help me to decide who to buy my tires from, so please be sure to say who the vendor and tire type was regardless of whether the experience was good or bad. Thank you. Jim Patrick
Most 21" tires are U.S. made - options include a lower cost import though.
I understand that all "high pressure" clinchers are "imported".
I am thinking of getting the "original tread pattern" 21 inch Firestones for my '25. I really like the diamond tread pattern Goodyears, but Firestone was the sole supplier to Ford, I think.
I doubt if it is prudent to use any brand of tire for more than ten years. They dry rot and can suffer internal damage that cannot be seen. After 47 years, the Universals deserve to be mounted somewhere in the tire hall of fame.
In my experience what age kills tires is UV exposure. My old cars spend most of their life in doors.
Les, that may be the reason for the longevity of my tires. My coupe has always been garage kept and has only once, ever been caught in the rain. Jim Patrick
I think that Nylon casing tires are a big plus. I'm wondering if any of the currently produced tires have Nylon casings???
Here is a link to a thread last fall comparing the 21" Firestone and Goodyear tires.
I just installed 4-21" Firestones on wire wheels. They had "made in USA" molded into them. Yes they were stiff but fortunately I was using a friends tire machine. The nice part of using the machine is that there was no contact by metal tire irons to the pretty powder coated red rims!! Putting in the tubes was the hardest part. Interestingly two of the tubes said "made in EEC"(somewhere in Europe) and the other two said "made in China ". No discernible difference otherwise
One more thing. The labels on the tires claimed "Polyester cord"
Hmmm,.....Polyester,......Nylon,...... wonder how those two compare? I know from experience that tires built with Nylon casings will far outlast the old cotton or whatever cords of old, but again, not sure if Polyester is maybe even better! I shouldn't start "bragging", because you know what usually happens then, but my Nylon INSA brand 4:50 x 21" tires have been noticeably (and now, embarassingly) "weather checked" for as long as I've owned the car, which is about 6 or 7 years now, and it's getting slightly worse, and you can believe this or not, but I've made round trips of over 100 miles a number of times, and many, many short trips, and have yet to have any kind of tire trouble with those nasty looking tires. Wish there were still INSA brand tires still available, but I don't think so. Can't find anything on the tires to indicate where they were made, but I believe Argentina.
So, again,....anyone else have such good luck with Nylon tires (???) and now, since Les' post above, are Polyester cord tires even better than Nylon? Anybody,.....??? FWIW,.....harold
Oh,....one other thing, and then I'll shut up! I've commented on my INSA brand tires before, and I don't think it's just a matter of my own personal opinion, because several others over the years have had nothing but good to say about the INSA Nylon tires too,.....so,.....must be "something to it", huh?
Regarding Dale Myers' link of the 2016 thread, showing that the Firestone is larger than the Goodyear tire. First of all, is the Firestone the proper size or larger than the original, or is the Goodyear the proper size or smaller than the original. Secondly, why would a tire manufacturer make a historically inaccurately sized tire for a historical car owned by such a meticulous, historically minded group? I don't want to buy a tire that is either bigger or smaller than the original size designed for the Model T, for the size of tire has a lot to do with the proportional appearance of the car. Jim Patrick
I usually don't bump a post back to the top, but, before it runs its' course, I really would like some feedback from those in the know, regarding the difference in size of the Goodyear and Firestone tires. Thank you. Jim Patrick
I remember when the Insa tired were $44 each. I think this was about 1990 or so. I agree with Harold, they were well made tires. Are they still available? They are very recognizable due to the odd tread pattern.
I am revisiting this thread in the hopes that someone can answer my question regarding the difference in size between Goodyear and Firestone. Does Firestone make a proper size tire for the Model T? If not, why do they not make one the size of the original instead of so much larger? I have seen pictures of Model T's with the large Firestone tires and they look out of proportion on the car, like a clown with big feet. Jim Patrick
The Goodyear clinchers I have on my touring were put on in 1966. After 51 years and no cracking! They don't make them like they use to....