Back in the early days of automobiles, air-filled tires were simply a cushion to take a little bit of the jar and jounce out of treks across trails and cobblestone paths designed for horse and wagon. As cars progressed, the roads improved and so did tire technology. Eventually, as speeds increased and roads became smoother, wheel and tire balancing was addressed and greatly improved the ride. With the advent of radial tires, the smoothest behind-the-wheel experience was enjoyed, but as everything is new again today, rodders are returning to bias-ply tires to make their rides "period correct."

All those years of tire advancement have erased many of the techniques used to refine the balancing of bias-ply tires. One of those lost techniques is tire shaving. What the shaving process does is remove any excess material that would cause the tire not to be perfectly round, as the tolerances for bias-ply tires were never as tight as those of the modern radial tire. Just the slightest imperfection in a tire can cause an entire car to vibrate at speed, and over time, the problem only worsens as the tire beats itself against the pavement. Another technique that rodders are guilty of not adhering to is correct balancing. Many rodders have a strict "no external weights" policy, but without external weights it's impossible to correctly balance a wheel and tire package. A concession we found was to use the stick-on-style weights and hide them underneath a beauty ring or full hubcap instead of using the unsightly clip-on edge weights.

For the balancing of our wheels and tires, we ran over to Nate Jones' shop in Signal Hill, California. Nate has long been the secret weapon of Bonneville, drag, and open-wheel racers who will stop at nothing to attain top speeds only possible with perfectly balanced wheels and tires. We had heard a few racers singing Nate's praises for what he had also done for their hot rods that were formerly hopping all over the road. We were having the same trouble with a freshly built roadster pickup running bias-ply tires, so we stopped by for a visit.

The results were even better than expected, with our tires now running as smooth as radials and balanced perfectly to remove any and all previous harmonics that had been rattling our bones anytime we attempted to bring the car up to speed.

You won't likely be able to find this service at any of the major tire chain locations, so check around in your area for a tire guru like Nate Jones, or give him a visit and tell him R&C sent ya.

SOURCE
Sacramento Vintage Ford
916-853-2244
www.vintageford.com
Wheel Vintiques
5-59/-251-6957
wheelvintiques.com
Nate Jones
1837 Reservoir Dr.
Signal Hill
CA  90777
Coker Tire
8-00/-251-6336
coker.com