Do you know why Coker Tire has earned a reputation for its attention to detail, quality of its product offerings and knowledgeable staff? That’s because the company’s founder, Harold Coker, restored vintage cars, too. He understood what restorers need to complete their vehicles, and not…

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David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
3/15/23 10:07 a.m.

The truth is that most people or companies can supply a lot of the parts needed to keep our classics on the road. Someone can stitch up an interior or rebuild an engine. But making tires from scratch is a very specialized process, and we’re be stuck without them. 

Jesse Ransom
Jesse Ransom UltimaDork
3/15/23 10:52 a.m.

I don't know whether it's a CM thing, a GRM thing, or just me and a terrible idea, but an overview of some details of this field would be really cool.

Specifically, I know some of the reissue and vintage-style stuff is in "modern" compounds and/or updated carcass construction, but I'd love to know how they compare to modern tires.

I mean, I know they're not going to be competitive with the latest 200TW tires,  but if you've got a fun driver you occasionally autocross, which vintage tires or smaller fitments are performance tires with good feedback and so forth, and which are DOT approved donuts suitable for driving direct to a car show. I'd hate to mount a set of proper looking tires and find out they drive like the most uninspiring all-seasons...

It's understandable that Coker doesn't really have a stab at this on their website since I think a fair portion of their business really isn't too worried about anything beyond semi-correct fitment and appearance (not sure how much one can discern about a tire while sawing at a Model T's wheel), but it would be really cool to know which tires are built how, and when to guess that a vintage tire will drive well and when to know that if your priority is driving that you just need to wedge a modern size under your old car.

In any case, it is awesome that there is someone specializing in odd and old fitments, and that rising prices on '80s cars appear to have the silver lining of better market support.

Colin Wood
Colin Wood Associate Editor
3/15/23 11:27 a.m.

In reply to Jesse Ransom :

Interesting idea. I'll run that by the rest of the team and see if there's anything we can do there.

And yeah, although it's frustrating at times the increase in value of Rad-era cars, the increased market support can (almost) make the rising prices worth it.

Jesse Ransom
Jesse Ransom UltimaDork
3/15/23 5:45 p.m.

In reply to Colin Wood :

Thanks, can't ask for more than that!

And yeah, as much as I'd love to be able to grab a half-decent Mk1 GTI for Challenge money at any given time, that was never going to last, and now I can put tires on the stock snowflakes when I find it!

Surely the folks at Coker would love the opportunity to provide more depth... But I suppose that doesn't answer whether the target audience is just me.

So many follow-up questions... Seems like A008s have been the 10" Mini tire of choice for forever... how have they changed?

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