Piecrust Slicks |The Perfect Rear Tire for a Gasser or Hot Rod
Purpose-built drag racing tires have been around since the 1950's. Commonly referred to as "slicks", these tires are completely smooth and feature special rubber compounds to stick to the racing surface better than conventional street tires. They originally had a deep grooved shoulder that many people call a "piecrust". Some of the early drag racing tires were manufactured by recapping an existing tire with a smooth tread. M&H Racemaster manufactured the first purpose-built drag racing tire in teh 1950's, and many companies, like Firestone, would follow suit to give racers a variety of sizing, brand and compound choices. Other companies continued building recapped slicks well into the 1960's.
As racing slicks gained in popularity on the race track, hot rodders adapted these racing tires for use on the street. Local and state police didn't like the idea, as the tires were not DOT approved for highway use, so hot rodders were continually ticketed for running slicks on their cars, but they were still a must-have component for drag racing traction.
The invention of cheater slicks solved the legality problem, as the tires were made with "just enough" tread to pass DOT inspection while providing the look of a genuine racing tire.
While drag racing was still in its infancy, technology was not part of the equation. The idea was to reduce weight and increase horsepower. Back then, speed parts were limited, but racers would alter the engine location and adjust the wheelbase to help weight balance. This led to the creation of the dragster. With wild proportions, these machines positioned the driver to the rear of the vehicle, with the engine just ahead of him. It was dangerous, but it worked!
These dragsters used weight balance to create enough traction to get down the track. The racing tires of the era had a slick surface, but the tire companies had not yet realized how to create an ultra-sticky compound or a flexible sidewall. These two developments would revolutionize the sport of drag racing, and it allowed the cars to go quicker and faster than ever before.
As the tires evolved, the famous piecrust sidewall would go away, in favor of wrinkle walls that would flex and allow for maximum traction. Additionally, drag strips began prepping the racing surface to further enhance traction.
This is an excellent example of a late 1950's or early 1960's drag car. While this car would've technically run in the Competition Coupe category, it still features a dragster style chassis. This particular car uses a Lyndwood Welding Company chassis. It is built using all period correct components, including a set of Halibrand magnesium wheels on the rear. Also on the rear are a pair of our Firestone Dragster slicks, sized at 8.20-15. This is a great application for our Firestone cheater slicks!
Gassers are another great application for Firestone Dragster slicks. This Henry J has the typical nose-high stance and other traits of an old school gasser. The wheels are mis-matched, which was common for the era, and you'll notice a combination of Firestone 560-15 bias ply front runners and our Firestone Dragster wide whitewall cheater slicks. It makes for a great combination on this killer hot rod. Even though this car probably doesn't spend a LOT of time on the drag strip, the tires offer the right look and DOT approval.
Our Firestone Dragster cheater slicks are available in four sizes: 8.20-15, 10.00-15, 8.20-16 and 10.00-16. The tires measure more than 30 inches in diameter and range from 10.7 to 12 inches in total width, so you definitely need plenty of space to run these tires. Most of the time, they're used on cars or trucks with radiused wheel openings, or a vehicle with no rear fenders at all.
All four sizes are available in black sidewall or wide whitewall. The tires are proudly made in the USA, and feature a street-friendly compound and "just enough" tread to be street legal.
The tires are built in refurbished, original molds to maintain authenticity, but we did upgrade the cord material to polyester to improve durability and ride quality. The tires are tubeless, but you can run a tube if your wheel is not air tight.
Considering the lack of tread, these tires are not exactly ideal for wet weather driving, but the sipes and minimal grooves certainly help if you get caught out in the rain.