While it is widely considered a staple of style and function for early automotive greatness, white wall tires have seen their ups and downs in terms of functionality. In fact, the early days of automotive design saw an influx of natural white rubber tires comprised of this gene, but they did not offer sufficient traction or endurance. It was not until the introduction of carbon black rubber that tires became as functional as they were aesthetic. This still offered an amazing look, however, as these functional designs produced a tire that had black carbon rubber on the outside and white rubber on the inside; thus giving birth to the “white wall” effect altogether. There have been many incarnations of the mighty white wall; the raised versions came from early versions that yielded the white upon curb scuffing, while the pinnacle of their design came in the 1950’s. The 1957 Cadillac Eldorado brougham was fitted with a white wall that was reduced to a 1-inch wide stripe floating on the tire sidewall, with black rubber showing between the stripe and the rim. This single whitewall design remained a desirable option through the 1970’s and became the benchmark for traditional Hot Rods, Customs, Lowiders, and Resto-California cars, contributing to a resurgence in the marketplace for white wall tires. The sense of class permeates from the white wall, which leaves many in today’s market looking to use them to dress up a car in order to preserve a more period-correct look.
Whether you’ve just entered the world of the classic car, or if you’ve been a fan for decades, whitewall tires are the most recognizable aspect of collector cars built prior to the ‘70’s. It is simply hard to escape the fact that many of these models left the factory sitting on white walls, and those of us who have taken brushes or even toothbrushes to them in preparation for a car show know that nothing can touch them when it comes to adding a sense of class to a Lowrider build. Coker Tire Company is the leading supplier of tires and wheels for collector vehicles of all ages, and the company offers an immense lineup of white wall tires; many of which are built from original molds. For you authentic builders out there, this simply means that the tires are not considered a reproduction − they are considered period-correct, which may earn some additional points at the judges’ table!
Innovation has occurred during this transition, which is good news for all you daily drivers out there. The 1970’s saw a new beginning for tire manufacturers who began producing tires with a new process which incorporated a more radial production, leaving the tires far more durable than their bias-ply tire beginnings. While white wall fans can agree that this was certainly a step in the right direction, the innovations did not stop there. Fast forward a few years and collector car enthusiasts had the urge to drive their classic machines with the comfort of a modern car. This led to the development of the first wide white wall radial tire; The Coker Classic. Coker tires are completely accurate to vintage models when it comes down to the tire’s structure and design, and these new radial tires make a big difference in ride quality, which will ultimately give you the classic look of a wide white wall with all the comforts of modern practical design.
For those builders who are interested, bias-ply tires are offered through Coker, and their models include styles from Firestone, BF Goodrich, US Royal, and many more contemporary models. Thanks to the company’s understanding of product development and history, we are comfortable in referring Coker as your go-to source for all things white wall. No matter your application or specifics, they certainly bring a back-to-the-future aesthetic with a modern sensibility that Lowriders of all pedigrees can appreciate.