Most vehicles built prior to the 1970s came from the factory with bias-ply tires, which applies to most classic truck enthusiasts. Folks with hot rod influence tend to lean more toward the vintage styling of a bias-ply tire, because of the very popular piecrust edges and narrow tread profiles. Bias-ply tires are easily the most popular choice for traditional hot rods, and they're generally used on open-wheel hot rods of the '20s and '30s. However, they're also used on traditionally styled trucks from the '40s, '50s, and even '60s. There's no arguing the fact that radial tires perform better than bias-ply tires, but that's a sacrifice many rodders and truck enthusiasts are willing to make for the right look.

The construction of a bias-ply tire starts with nylon or polyester cord, which runs at a 45-degree angle from the tire's bead, with each layer overlapping the other in a crisscross fashion. This creates a strong and very capable tire, but the rigid structure doesn't allow the rubber to conform to the road nearly as well as a modern radial. With bias-ply tires, it is common to have a wandering feel, as the tire is likely to follow the grooves or ruts in the road. And since the ruts and grooves in the road aren't perfectly straight, that means the truck will tend to pull one way or the other if you drive on a rough road. This isn't a problem in most cases, but you can certainly tell a difference behind the wheel, as it takes a little more work to drive a vehicle with bias-ply tires. The narrow tread width can also affect the way a vehicle handles, and the tall sidewalls offer a unique feel that only a bias-ply tire can provide.

And while some folks say that a bias-ply tire isn't good for long-distance driving, tons of people do it with no trouble whatsoever. As long as you don't mind adjusting to the new handling characteristics, there's no reason you couldn't run bias-ply tires on a daily driver. It's all about preference, so figure out if you would rather have the ultimate in vintage style and suffer slightly in the handling department, or have the ultimate in handling and suffer slightly in the vintage style department.

A radial tire is manufactured with efficiency in mind, and it's been proven to handle better, especially under harsh driving conditions. The tire's construction features rows of cord that run at 90 degrees from the tire's bead. With the cord traveling straight across, as opposed to diagonally, radial tires offer a more flexible design, which translates to increased traction. Radial tires also feature one or more layer of steel belting that helps strengthen the tire's structure, while retaining the overall flexibility of the tire.

Radial tires look great on the right application, but some hard-core hot rodders dislike the looks of radials on a traditionally styled car or truck. Radials have a wider footprint than bias-ply tires and have a whole different design that takes away some of the old-school flavor, but that doesn't mean they're not attractive. Radials have a smooth design with a rolled shoulder, instead of the piecrust design of bias-ply tires, allowing them to perform much better on wet and dry surfaces.

Coker Tire was the first company to produce a wide whitewall radial tire, and did so in 1994. This design was a huge hit, and since then, Coker has introduced a number of different brands and designs to meet the needs of its customers. When doing further research, we found that brands like BFGoodrich, American Classic, and Coker Classic are available from Coker Tire, and each brand has a specific tread pattern and sidewall design. Whitewall radials are Coker Tire's specialty, so offering more than one brand gives us a variety of choices when it comes time to pick up the phone and make an order.