North Hants Tyres: Over Half a Century of Service
North Hants Tyres has been at the forefront of the Antique and Classic tyre scene for over 50 years, and with its many supply sources, is one of the leading suppliers in this small, nut thriving, niche market.
When North Hants Tyres was first starting out just after the Second World war, there was a shortage of new tyres, so many used or ex-War Department tyres were sold to fill the market. As time progressed, the New Old Stock tyres became older and perished, and with the advent of motorways, became unserviceable. Also, by this time, radials were becoming more popular, and the old crossply 16″, 17″ 18″ and 19″ tyres fell out of favour. So it was left to restorers, or tyre retailers who had an interest in the vintage scene, to find and produce the tyres for these vehicles.
Around nearly 30 years ago, North Hants Tyres set up an agreement with Coker Tire (Chattanooga) in the USA to purchase the Coker brand in the UK. These tyres were produced in Taiwan, and although they were undersized, they filled the gap and allowed the vintage car scene to flourish. Many years later, North Hants Tyres is now the official UK Distributor for the Coker, Excelsior and BFGoodrich brands, as well as several other specialist American classic whitewall brands.
The BFGoodrich brand was established in 1870 by Benjamin Franklin Goodrich, and now BFG is one of the world’s most recognised names in the tyre industry today. Besides aircraft tyres, racing tyres and 4×4, BFG also offers a complete line up of Antique, Classic and Whitewall tyres. With over 100 different sized tyres and whitewall widths, says North Hants Tyres, BFGoodrich has the most complete range for a named brand manufacturer.
BFGoodrich strives to supply sizes that other leading brands have deleted due to poor demand. Amongst the recent additions would be the BFG Radial T/A – a true classic for the American Muscle Car owners – 41 tyre sizes remain in production to assure the Trade and Retail customer that BFG is committed to its heritage.
BFGoodrich Brand Manager, Dominic Clark speaks of history that precedes today’s legendary brand. “BFGoodrich has remained at the forefront of the motor and tyre world for over 130 years. From the invention of the tubeless tyre to high performance motor racing, BFGoodrich has led an adventurous life to date!
“While we continue to drive the brand forward with over a century of development and technological advancement, we are proud to maintain our position as a leading supplier in the vintage market, providing an impressive range of tyres for this vibrant sector.
“It’s great to know that while catering for today’s high performance car and 4×4 drivers, we can still satisfy the needs of the ‘old school’ enthusiasts, whose passions lie in the driving seat of classics such as hot rods and low riders!”
Another brand available from North Hants Tyres is Firestone. Firestone has been a household name for over 100 years, ever since Mr Harvey Firestone sold his tyres to a young Mr Henry Ford for his revolutionary Model T. Firestone has a complete range from the early Model T Beaded Edge tyre, up to the Wide Oval tyres.
Earlier we mentioned that North Hants Tyres is the official UK distributor for the Excelsior range of tyres. Excelsior Tyre is, says North Hants Tyres, now the world’s largest manufacturer of Antique and Competition tyres for the discerning vintage car owner. Exclusively distributed by North Hants Tyres, the Excelsior brand boasts 11 beaded edge sizes for early Victorian and Edwardian cars, and 26 sizes in the 14″ – 24″ range, to fit early 20s cars right up to the mid 60s, when radials became the dominant supply fitment.
The Excelsior brand also boasts six sizes in the Comp H – a highly successful “H” rated, Triple Stud design road and race tyre. A recent addition is 27 sizes in the Excelsior Comp V – the highest specification road/race tyre – “V” rated up to 149 mph. Both the Comp H and Comp V are fully DOT and ECE tested and approved for road or racing.