Tire Availability Survey - Large 14 & 15 Whitewalls
by Ed Mills

I put this together based on some research I did last month for tires for my 300L (8.55-14 narrow whitewall OE) and my 67 New Yorker (8.85-14 narrow whitewall OE). I looked at both big 14's (8.00/8.25/G78-14 and larger) and big 15's (7.10/8.15/G78-15 and larger) and was disappointed to find many of the tires which were available only a couple of years back are now extinct.

I included both Narrow and Wide Whitewall, but there are also good options in the 15 inch sizes in Blackwall and RWL that could be used as is or have Whitewalls added by the Diamondback vulcanizing process.

I put the results in an email in response to a question on another list, but I thought it may also be of interest here so I am reposting. Its a long and somewhat technical "survey" I did on whats still available - probability you will be able to skip through to the portion that deals with your size. For those of you who have seen on the 300 list, I apologize.

Its not guaranteed to be complete and there may be some perfectly good inventory of some tires such as the Firestone F380, Goodyear Integrity or Regatta II, Cooper Trendsetter SE, Hankook Optimo H725, etc. that are no longer in production or now only in Blackwalls in sizes that previously were available in whitewalls. I would personally have no hesitation to buy such NOS tires which are relatively new - say 1 to 3 years old, but there are those who do not recommend using tires more than 5 years old - others say 10 years old - probably depends on use. For example, I would not want to run a 10 year old tire with age cracking issues for hours under load at 80mph on a hot day but would be fine driving the same tire from home to a local show at 30-45mph.

The sizes of most interest for the big Chryslers are typically the replacements for 7.60/8.45/H78-15, 8.00/8.85/J78-15, 8.00/8.25/G78-14, 8.50/8.55/H78-14, and 9.00/8.85/J78-14. The current "replacements" are respectively P225/75R15, P235/75R15, P215/75R14, P225/75R14, and P235/75R14. I also included the P215/75R15 (7.10/8.15/G78-15) as a point for those considering replacing 14's with 15's due to availability of 14's.

I would note that the metric "equivalent" 75 series sizes tend to be significantly smaller diameter that the 80 and 83 series bias tires they replace. Furthermore, radials of a given diameter tend to have a lower Static Loaded Radius than a comparable bias tire of similar OD. Hence a car on radials will sit a bit lower even if OD is identical. Hence there would seem to be a desire to upsize assuming you have clearance for the increased tread width.

I have provided typical OD and tread width from older files I have dating back to the 50's including some engineering data - but I would also note that in the 1950's thru at least the early 1960's there tended to be some variation in OD by manufacturer and tread width both by manufacturer and in different tire lines within a manufacturer.

Anyway, here's the bad news:

8.00-14 & 8.25-14 typically 27.5 inch OD x 4.6 inch tread width
Replaced by P215/75R14 typically 26.7 inch OD x 5.6 inch tread width
(Another option would be the 225/70R14 but its a bit shorter and wider still and mostly raised white letters)

8.00R14  American Classic 3-inch WW 27.59 OD x 5.9 tread with 7.7 section width
P215/75R14  American Classic (both wide 2.5" and narrow 1" whitewall) 26.7 OD x 5.7 tread
P215/75R14  Coker Classic (wide 2.5" whitewall) 27.1 OD x 5.7 tread
P215/75R14  Hankook Optimo H724 narrow whitewall 26.7 OD x 5.3 tread
P215/75R14  Toyo Extensa AS currently shows blackwall only - These were previously available in narrow white
    Now Extinct: Firestone FR380 Narrow Whitewalls 26.7 OD x 5.6 tread
        and Cooper Trendsetter SE (et al*) 26.55 OD x 5.4 tread

8.50-14 & 8.55-14 typical OD 28.2-28.3 OD x 4.7-4.8 tread
H78-14 typical 27.6-27.7 OD x 5.7-5.8 tread
Replaced by P225/75R14 - OD range 27.05-27.62 (small sampling)

8.50-14 and 8.55-14 BFGoodrich Silvertowns still available from Coker in correct tread for 1957-60 cars
8.50-14 - Universal Tire and Lucas Tire also show a Lester tire with a 3 inch Wide Whitewall
H78-14  Coker Classic 4ply bias (wide 2.5" whitewall) 27.60 OD x 5.75 tread
P225/75R14 - Coker Classic (wide 2.5" whitewall) 27.62 OD x 6.04 tread
    Narrow Whitewalls Last Seen in Coker Classics 27.62 OD x 6.04 tread (no longer listed NW)
        and Cooper Trendsetter SE (et al*) 27.05 OD x 5.6 tread
(Discontinued late 2007)

* Here I would note that Cooper makes several other brands such as the Mastercraft AS-IV which is essentially the same tire and both TBC and Treadways market tires which have similar specs such as Multi-Mile Matrix and the ElDorado Golden Fury - both of which seem to be available in similar size and sidewall configurations. TBC brands include Cordovan, Multi-Mile, Sigma, and Vanderbilt. Treadways brands include ElDorado, Jetzon, Telstar and Sumitomo. Other tires of this family may include Dean, Hercules, Starfire, Tempra, and Big-O, as well as Mastercraft and possibly others. After finding certain similarities in line specifications and size / sidewall availability, I stopped searching individual lines and only list the Cooper entry into this field. The 14's seem to be extinct in Whitewalls, but 4 or 5 sizes of narrow whitewalls still show up in 15 inch production - including P215/75R15 and P235/75R15 but not P225/75R15 which is now Blackwall only.

Some of the above companies also list a common Gremax 5000 narrow whitewall tire at the end of the passenger section. The Gremax appears to be made by Crowntyre Industrial Co. Ltd of China and imported for distribution by TBC and possibly others. These are mostly 15 inch and a couple of 14 inch (195/75R14 and 205/75R14) narrow whitewalls. The 15 inch narrow whites include 215/75R15, 225/75R15 and 235/75R15 plus 225/70R15.

Hankook is about the only major player – and by that I mean someone who is well known for Original Equipment tires (Michelin, Goodyear, Bridgestone, Toyo, Hankook, etc.) that is still making 14 inch whitewalls in “larger” sizes (up to 215/75R14) in their Optimo H724 line. The Hankook Optimo H725 was also produced in certain Narrow Whitewall sizes, but alas, the most recent listing that I can find dated 2013 only shows the H725 in Blackwall. Let us hope Hankook does not decide to abandon the whitewalls entirely as they appear to be a pretty good and cost effective tire not made in China (Korea and Indonesia yes, but not China). Another tire you might come across is the Kingstar Centum SK72 which is made by Hankook and appears to be available in pretty much the same size ranges as the Hankook Optimo H724. (Up to 215/75R14 and several large 15’s.)

Another company which has several narrow whitewalls is Milestar in their MS775 line. Milestar according to their site is a trademark of TIRECO a US registered company since 1970, but according to Wiki, the tires are made by Nanking Tires, a Taiwanese based company. Again, these are a few smaller 14 inch in narrow whitewall up to P215/70R14 and some of the larger 15 inch. The 15 inch narrow whites include 215/75R15, 225/75R15 and 235/75R15.

Also I noticed after I had compiled my list that Coker is now listing a new Maxxis Narrow Whitewall, but its size range is limited to those already represented in my tabulation. Maxxis is a well known tire in ATV use made by Cheng Shin Rubber Ind, Ltd. based out of Taiwan - but not sure where the MA1 passenger tires are made and again, sizes in narrow whitewall are only up to P215/70R14 and some of the larger 15 inch. The 15 inch narrow whites include 215/75R15, 225/75R15 and 235/75R15 plus P225/70R15.

9.00-14 & 8.85-14 typical 28.7-28.8 OD x 4.8-4.9 tread

9.00-14 and 8.85-14 BFGoodrich Silvertowns still available from Coker in correct OE design for 1957-1960 cars. The 8.85-14 size would be appropriate for 1965 and later cars.
P235/75R14 American Classic (both 2.5" Wide and 1" Narrow Whitewall) 27.9 OD x 6.3 tread

9.50-14 - Lucas Tire has both a Lester with 2.5" Wide White and a General Dual 90 with 2.25" Wide White as well as Coker / BF Goodrich in Narrow and Wide White.

One further note relative to tires. My personal preference would be a high quality mass produced radial tire rather than a “specialty” tire. The Bias Repros are very nice for “SHOW” but I would not personally choose them for “GO” for high speed or long distance driving. They are typically made in small batches using older production methods that may not have the same level of quality control as a high quality production tire. To some degree, the same arguments can be made about small batches and older techniques even on the specialty radials.

But having said that, there are NO big 14 inch tires being mass produced. The biggest I can find is a P215/75-14 and even those are getting scarce (Hankook H724 and Kingstar Centum SK72 - made by Hankook) in narrow white and Toyo Extensa AS in black. There are 225/70R14 – mostly Raised White Letters- but they are actually smaller in diameter than the 215/75R14.

There are taller (80 series) 195-14 and 205-14 radials but beware – most (probably all) of these are Heavy Load tires for trucks and trailer use and have limited speed ratings (as low as 65 or 75 mph).

As to 15 inch, there are several of what I would call "major" brands - at least those that I recognize as having been around a while - I have listed only the Whitewalls which include Cooper, Toyo, and Hankook - all of which are competitively priced ($70-100) as well as the specialty brands from Coker and American Classics. And there are the many variations of Cooper, TBC, and Treadways as well as the Kingstar Centum SK72, the Gremax 5000, the Milestar MS775, and the Maxxis MA1.

There are also a number of Blackwall and Raised White Letter tires including BFGoodrich, Goodyear, Firestone, Michelin, etc. which I did not list due to their great population. Any of these would make good candidates for the Diamondback Whitewall Vulcanizing Process.

7.10-15 & 8.15-15 typical 28.0-28.1 OD x 4.5/5.0 tread

7.10R15  American Classic Radial  28.21 OD x 4.70 tread with 2.75" Wide White
P215/75R15  Cooper Trendsetter SE  27.55 OD x 5.4 tread  Narrow White
P215/75R15  Hankook H724  27.7 OD x 5.3 tread  Narrow White
P215/75R15  Toyo Extensa AS  27.6 OD x ??? tread Narrow White
P215/75R15  American Classic  27.6 OD x 6.24 tread - 1.6" Narrow and 2.75" Wide White
P215/75R15  Coker Classic 27.62 OD x 6.04 tread - 2.5" Wide White

7.60-15 & 8.45-15 typical 28.7-28.8 OD x 4.6/5.0 tread

7.60-15  Coker Classic 4-ply Bias  28.70 OD x 4.90 tread - 3" Wide White
7.60R15  American Classic Radial  28.87 OD x 4.90 tread - 3.25" Wide White
H78-15  Coker Classic 4-ply Bias  28.36 OD x 5.74 tread - 3" and 4.4" Wide White
P225/75R15  Hankook H724  28.3 OD x 5.6 tread  Narrow White
P225/75R15  American Classic  28.29 OD x 6.52 tread - 1.3" Narrow and 2.75" Wide White
P225/75R15  Coker Classic 28.29 OD x 6.24 tread - 2.75" Wide White

8.00-15 & 8.85-15 typical 29.2-29.3 OD x 4.8/5.2 tread

8.00-15  Coker Classic 4-ply bias  29.08 OD x 4.70 tread - 2.5" and 3" Wide White
8.00R15  American Classic Radial  29.41 OD x 5.00 tread with 3.25" Wide White
J78-15  BFGoodrich (Coker) Silvertown Belted 28.72 OD x 6.0 tread - 7/8" Narrow and 5/16" Dual White
P235/75R15  Cooper Trendsetter SE  28.65 OD x 5.9 tread  Narrow White
P235/75R15  Toyo Extensa AS  28.9 OD x ??? tread Narrow White
P235/75R15  Hankook H724  Extra Load 28.9 OD x 5.8 tread  Narrow White
P235/75R15  American Classic  28.8 OD x 6.72 tread - 1.6" Narrow and 3" Wide White
P235/75R15  Coker Classic 28.91 OD x 6.58 tread - 3.125" Wide White

8.20R15  American Classic Radial  29.91 OD x 5.60 tread with 3.25" Wide White
9.00-15  BFGoodrich (Coker) Silvertown  29.59 OD x 5.40 tread - 1" , Dual, and Triple White
L78-15  BFGoodrich (Coker) Silvertown Belted 29.30 OD x 5.88 tread - 1" Narrow and 1/8+5/16" Dual White
L78-15  Coker Classic 4-ply bias  29.30 OD x 5.88 tread - 3" and 4" Wide White

One further note for those of us unfortunate enough to use the large 14 inch tires (most 1957-68 Chryslers, as well as lots of Oldsmobiles, Mercurys, Lincolns, and Pontiacs) – and I recognize this may be sacrilege to many, but the best match for diameter to the typical 8.50/8.55-14 and the 9.00/8.85-14 may be a 225/75R15 or a 235/75R15, They will still sit slightly lower as radials always do, but even the biggest specialty P235/75R14 is about an inch short on Outside Diameter.

Information has been compiled from my personal BFGoodrich, Goodyear, Michelin, and Firestone historical files as well as information obtained over internet sources including both historical and current data from Wiki, BFGoodrich, Bridgestone-Firestone, Hankook Tire, Toyo, Cooper Tire, TBC, Treadways, Kingstar, Milestar, Gremax, and Maxxis Tire as well as Coker Tire, Lucas Classic Tire, Universal Tire, Diamondback Tires, and Wallace W Wade Specialty Tires.

All information is provided for reference use only. Please check specifications of individual tires before any purchase. I have endeavored to provide correct references and attributions - if I have failed to correctly list complete names of tires, trademarks, manufacturers,or resources, or have included typographical errors, I apologize in advance. All data best effort as of 2/28/2014.

Best, Ed Rev 1 to add tires / corrections as of 3/18/2014