THE SHOP

Performance & Hotrod Business - April '15

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54 n Performance & Hotrod Business n April 2015 ing a business commitment to this activity a sound investment. As for trends in muscle cars and street rods, there is something biological in many of us that directs our preferences. Just as most of us lock into some period of music as our favorite, the same happens with cars. Cars that were cool when we first saw them as boys are still most fascinating. At Goodguys or other big car shows, I look at the older cars, but I always gravitate toward the classic 1955 to 1972 American V-8- powered coupes and sedans. As an early boomer, I think this is typical of the genre. I think the reason boomers are so inter- ested in hot rodding is that most of us were handed down the specific gene from our dads and uncles and their friends. Cars meant freedom and mobility to a whole generation of folks. Being a "motor head" was almost a uni- versal trait of the World War II generation and those guys passed on at least a founda- tion of interest to their kids. Even if dads from the previous generation couldn't race or build hot rods, many, probably even most, took their kids to races, went to car shows and many of us built model cars. Plays Well with Others Our shared car culture affects the wheel and tire combinations for the cars being built and reflects many of the trends and styles popular for the post-war 1950s and '60s period. Wire wheels, Smoothies and even the antique style "Artillery Wheels" with period-correct "poverty hub caps" and trim rings are probably selling better today than at any time in history. Only now the wheels must clear disc brakes and be compatible with radial tires. Often powdered-coated and/or chromed with processes superior to earlier tech- niques makes them vastly superior in performance and durability compared to the original units. Even whitewalls have made a dramatic recovery in sales and size availability. Mounting and balancing present chal- lenges as most "big box" tire stores are unfamiliar with the procedures that were once commonplace. These wheels, espe- cially the wire wheels, can be difficult for inexperienced—and even experienced installers. It is important to pay close attention to installation instructions. Avoid big box- type stores when possible. Generally, these places will not spend the time necessary to properly mount and balance tires and wheels that are not original equipment. Experience is more important than the type of equipment used. Specialty shops generally have more experience with after- market wheels. Another alternative, and my prefer- ence, is to rely on the expertise of the few specialty marketers like Coker Tire, TrueSpoke, Hobbycar.com, Wheel Smith, Summit and JEGS. These companies offer technical advantages because they deal within a week what the average tire dealer might see in a year when it comes to classic combinations. Coker Tire and its affiliate brand Wheel Vintiques, like Truespoke and some oth- ers, offer tire and wheel packages designed for specific cars such as Cadillacs, early T-birds, Packards and a plethora of col- lector cars, muscle cars and hot rods. They know the trends and have the equipment and experience to get you the correct products. They can ship complete, ready-to- install tire and wheel combinations. Some offer technical fitment charts, so proper measurements can be used for fitments. An example is http://www.hobbycar.com/ Measure111505.pdf. Doug Dwyer started as shop help for Carroll Shelby in 1963, including three years as a tire technician for Shelby's Goodyear Racing Tire franchise. Dwyer en- joyed a career in sales and mar- keting and retired as executive VP of Schiefer Media Inc. He raced motorcycles and road racing cars, and never worked for a company that was not a SEMA member—except for the U.S. Army, 199th Lt. Inf. (Vietnam 1969) HOTROD The WELD RT-S S71 wheel features the classic five-spoke star design. The RT-S S71-style wheel from the WELD Street & Strip line is made in the USA from an extremely light- weight forged aluminum alloy and available in 15-, 17-, 18- and 20-inch diameters from 4.5- to 18-inch widths. (Photo courtesy WELD) Balancing on most aftermarket and collector car wheels has to be done with the wheel attached to the balancer by the lug pattern using an adapter with individual locating pins. Lug-centric was the method used in manufacturing the wheels, especially wire wheels. (Photo courtesy Coker Tire)

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