whitewall tires

Are there any brands of automobile that one is, according to nebulous tradition, “supposed to” put whitewall tires on? I have heard this about Thunderbirds in particular; wondering if anyone else has heard that & if there were any other cars like that.
And I’m not talking '50s and tailfins mind you, I mean nowadays.

I don’t know that any car is ‘supposed’ to have whitewall tires, nor am I aware of ones coming off assembly lines with these as standard equipment. But I tend to see them more on two kinds of (modern) vehicles these days:

  1. Luxury cars (cadillacs) and limos
  2. Those fucked up lowered pick-up trucks that gang members drive with sparkly purple paintjobs and with the tiny tires that are really wide.

Try a search engine looking for “whitewall tires” to see many of the aforementioned vehicles I describe in (2)

Whitewalls were and may still be an option. They are used to dress up an automobile. And I think that on some, they look very good.

Those whitewalls that they put on those lowered gang pimp-mobiles are illegal in some places because they are too small.

Who remembers the movie of Catch 22? General Dreedle’s (Orson Welles) B-25 had white sidewall tires.

I think that whitewalls are just one option for the guys and gals who design the styling packages. If you want the car to look sporty, they might put low profile blackwall or raised white letters tires on it; if they’re trying to sell it as a luxury car, they might put whitewalls on it to give it a more conservative look.

There are standards set by the manufacturers that have to be followed during the design of the car (eg, a company that develops concepts or designs for Mercedes must include that style of taillight.) I’ve never heard of a model that had whitewalls as part of its (should we call it a manual of style?)

But you have to have wide whitewalls on your street rod. The wheels have to be steel and you get extra points if they’re painted red.

You may have whitewalls on your car right now. Many tiremakers put whitewalls on all tires (well, above a certain price range) whether you want them or not. If you don’t want the whitewalls the tire guy just puts them on black side out.

“Vandelay!! Say Vandelay!!”

If your car came from the factory with whitewalls as standard equipment, or as a factory option, then you are “supposed to” use whitewalls. This maintains the original appearance and contributes to the value of the car. Original appearance is very important - in the old car hobby, people recreate the inspection paint and grease pencil marks put in during assembly.

The tires are probably the most utilitarian looking part of the car visible from the street. Whitewalls dress things up nicely.

Whitewalls were originally more expensive and difficult to keep looking good - this made them more desirable. Manufacturers could, I believe, make tires in a lot of different colors. But we have gotten so use to black tires, whitewalls and raised letters, that anything else would seem unnatural.

All I can say is, they look damn good on my Harley…

The 1977 Cadillac Fleetwood I used to own also came with whitewall tires. In fact, when I had to get a new set of tires, the only ones that fit my car were whitewalls.

One thing, though: modern whitewall tires all seem to have a narrow, one- or two-inch-wide white ring on the middle of an otherwise solid black tire. I’ve seen movies from the 1950s where the cars literally had white walls; that is, they were white from the inner edge where the tire meets the wheel rim, all the way out to the treads, which were the only black part. When did the white wall shrink to a white stripe?

Tracer, I think you’re referring to wide whitewalls.
Here are a couple of examples from Stockton Wheel.

I think they fell out of style in the Sixties. By that time, they were trying for thinner, sleeker styles, and the styles of the Fifties looked fat in comparison. As an example of Sixties tire styles (beyond regular whitewalls,) look at the redline tire in the middle at the Stockton link.

It’s the one-inch-wide white strips I mean, when I’m talking about whitewalls.
The ones that are all-white are impossibly retro and I’m not even sure I’ve ever seen a car bearing them, outside of maybe a car show or a museum.