[Sunbeam Talbot Email List] tires 55 Alpine

starcars8 at comcast.net starcars8 at comcast.net
Tue Jul 26 12:23:33 EDT 2011

David,The Sunbeam wheels can be used with tubeless tyres.Check the shop manual which shows tubeless tyre repair process on Mkl11 cars. However Coker Ti re still make,at least according to their on line catalogue a 550R16 whitewall radial with tube. Looks like a bias ply but is in fact a radial. I have them on my Alpine and they fit and work well. They are now listed at $238+ tube. 

----- Original Message -----
From: "David Reina" <reinadesigns at aol.com> 
To: staowners at sunbeamtalbot.info 
Sent: Tuesday, July 26, 2011 7:33:42 AM 
Subject: [Sunbeam Talbot Email List] tires 55 Alpine 

Hi All, 

Here are some of my thoughts on tires and a warning about the tube valve stems.  I have been meaning to post this warning for some time and with the recent talk about tires thought I'd throw it in now. 

In the US and perhaps Europe,I believe the original tire supplied is a Dunlop Fort.  (I have one perfect looking Dunlop Fort left as it was the original spare in my 55 Alpine and never used.  It came with a whitewall.)  I think this was a sort of performance tire of that era. 

When I bought my first Alpine I spent a lot of time researching tires here in the US.  At the time Coker had a 185 Coker Classic radial which was designed to take a tube and which was within an 1/8 inch of the diameter of the original tires.  I used these tires on three Sunbeams to date and have been happy with their highway performance.  My criteria was to have a modern tire which would be good for highway touring without the tracking issues of the old tire styles.  The Coker tire seemed to fit the bill and had a decent size whitewall which I like.  It also was designed to run with tubes, which I thought may be necessary as the rims on our cars were intended to be used with tubes. 

However it seems that Coker has discontinued this tire.  I learned this when I went replace a tire.  Last year I had a bad blow out on the highway when doing 65 mph in the middle lane in traffic.   

I don't think it was the tires fault but rather was caused by the tube valve stem chaffing where it went through the rim hole.  The modern tubes have a smaller diameter valve stem then the 50's tubes and require a plastic grommet to be put into the rim hole first before putting in the tube.  On this car we didn't install the grommets as they were unavailable when I had ordered the tires.  I want to stress to everyone not to put the tube in without the grommet which takes up the slop between the valve stem and the hole in the rim. 

I am pretty sure the valve stem was the cause of the loss of air and the blowout because after I got my spare installed I went to a garage to check the pressure and I then had a rear tire with a leak at the valve stem. 

This brings me to something else which I think should be considered.  Buy an extra tube or two and keep them in the boot.  I discovered that day that you cannot buy the correct size tube (or tire) on the spot from a tire store.  It generally will have to be special ordered. 

The day I had my blowout I was in a spot.  I had to be back to teach a class in the afternoon but I had used up my spare on the front and now had a leaking back tire that the tire shop could not locate a tube for even after calling around town.  As a last desperate solution I had them take out the leaking tube and put in a modern tubeless tire valve stem assembly.  This actually got me home OK. 

One last thought on tubes is that they can be made of natural rubber or synthetic.  According to folks who run tube tires in motorcycles, the natural rubber ones ( which cost a little more, naturally) tend to leak down slower then the synthetic ones which can open up in large rips when damaged. 

I am including below some correspondence I had with Coker regarding what they have available. 

Dave Reina 

-----Original Message----- 

From: David Reina [mailto:reinadesigns at aol.com]  

Sent: Sunday, October 31, 2010 12:32 PM 

To: support 

Subject: Coker Tire: Contact email ( store.cokertire.com ) 

Name: David Reina 

E-mail:  reinadesigns at aol.com 

Telephone: 347 482-4657 

Comment: Dear Sirs, 

Over the past 9 years, I have bought 15 (three sets) of  your Coker 

Classic 185R-16 tire with whitewall.  I recently had a blowout on one of 

cars and would like to buy a replacement tire, but am not finding it on 

website.  Would you please let me know if these tires are still available 

and if not could you possibly locate one which was not sold. 

Thank you, 

David Reina 

O n Nov 1, 2010, at 11:29 AM, support wrote: 


Unfortunately, these tires have been discontinued for some time and sold 

out. There are no unsold tires remaining in our inventory. Sorry we were 

able to help with this request. 

Web Sales Specialist 

1317 Chestnut Street 

Chattanooga, TN 37402 

Toll Free: 800-251-6336 

support at coker.com 

-----Original Message----- 

From: David Reina [mailto:reinadesigns at aol.com]  

Sent: Thursday, December 16, 2010 10:31 AM 

To: support 

Subject: Re: Coker Tire: Contact email ( store.cokertire.com ) 

Dear Sirs, 

I am sorry to hear that you no longer carry the Coker classic whitewall 

185R-16 tire as I currently am using them on two of my cars and I do need 

replacement for the one which I had blow out.  What would you suggest from 

your current stock which would also be similar in look, be a radial tire 

with a whitewall  and have a matching rolling radius to the discontinued 



David Reina 


Are you using these tires front and rear, or just front/just rear? We may 

able to offer another radial white wall that has the approx. same height, 

and therefore rollout, but the actual sizing and appearance will be much 

different. Unfortunately, there is no other tire available that would 

closely resemble the 185R16. 

Michael Howard 

Web Sales Specialist 

1317 Chestnut Street 

Chattanooga, TN 37402 

Toll Free: 800-251-6336 

support at coker.com 

-----Original Message----- 
From: David Reina [mailto:reinadesigns at aol.com]  
Sent: Friday, December 17, 2010 12:14 PM 
To: support 
Subject: Re: Coker Tire: Contact email ( store.cokertire.com ) 

Hi Mike, 

Well I had been operating with a spare Coker classic radial, which is now on 
the car, so I suppose if I only want to have a new tire which is compatible 
for touring emergencies, than it can look different and also be a blackwall 
if this helps find a correct diameter tire.  I remember doing a lot of 
research when I bought the first of three sets of those Coker Classics as 
they were within an 1/8" of the diameter of the old Dunlop Fort tires which 
had originally come with the cars.  (Sunbeams from the early 50's.)  If fact 
I remember being surprised at the time as most of the other companies 185's 
were of a smaller diameter.  The other thing I liked about the tires were 
that they were designed for tube use, and the old rimswere speced for tube 
tires.What are the new radials you are recommending? No chance these ties 
will go back into production? 

By the way, the reason I think I had the blowout at high speed is I think 
that we did not use the valve stem bushings.  The old rims have a big hole 
and the new tubes use a small stem.  At the time I ordered the tires you 
were out of the bushings and we thought it was OK to mount without them.  I 
had to replace another tube as it was starting to leak from around the stem 
base which makes me guess that this is what happened to the blowout tire. 

Another question I have is about your radial tire tubes.  I ordered two 
recently to replace the one which blew out and to have a spare, and I notice 
there are two styles offered at two different price points.  The salesman 
who helped me order sent me the lower priced tubes.  What is the difference? 

Dave Reina 


Ok, if you can use a black wall tire, that actually changes things a bit, 
maybe for the better, as we do have a 185R16 Firestone black wall in stock: 


Keep in mind that any tire can be used with a tube. A tube-type tire 
requires a tube, but a "tubeless" tire can be as well. The "tubeless" 
marking is not a prohibition, it simply means the tire does not require a 
tube itself. Of course a tube can be used in a "tubeless" tire, where 
required by the wheel. I personally run modern, tubeless radials on wire 
wheels with tubes on one of my own cars.  

As far as the grommets placed around the valve stem, they are currently in 
stock, priced at $ 0.80 each. 

In the past, we did have standard radial, and high performance Michelin 
tubes available in many sizes, but at this time we carry one radial tube for 
this tire size, item #85640, priced at $16.95 each. 

Let me know if you have additional questions. 

Michael Howard 
Web Sales Specialist 

1317 Chestnut Street 
Chattanooga, TN 37402 
Toll Free: 800-251-6336 
support at coker.com 

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