As Coker Tire celebrates its 50th anniversary, CEO Corky Coker reflects on what makes the…
Futurliner Tire Remade by Coker
Our group, the National Automotive and Truck Museum of the United States, is volunteering to restore a Futurliner. We are all involved in the antique car hobby, and our goal in restoring the Futurliner was to preserve history. We found a person willing to have the original Futurliner tire reproduced at his expense. He’s working with Coker Tire to make this happen. He will then supply, as a donation, the tires for our Futurliner #10. We appreciate this, as we couldn’t have it done otherwise because of the high cost. Our part in the project: Get the original to Coker Tire.
The original tires were 10:00 x 20 with whitewalls. This we had made at Ginman’s Tire Co. in Muskegon, Mich. Also, the whitewall tires’ raised letters said: “General Motors, Parade of Progress, US Royal and Fleetway.” This part of the tire we couldn’t get anyone to reproduce. However, Ross Gates of Select Engineering in Muskegon made molds, and after spending over $2,000 trying out different materials, couldn’t come up with a material that would bond to the tire using Ginman’s process.
We’re thrilled that we now have a way to completely finish the Futurliner restoration project with the original tires being reproduced. Following is the work we had to do to ship the tire to Coker Tire in Chattanooga, Tenn.
Tuesday, May 2, 2006: The volunteers made a cardboard doughnut to protect the face of the tire and then wrapped the original Futurliner tire with duct tape preparing it to ship to Coker Tire. After several of us picked up the tire we estimated the weight to be around 80 lbs. At that weight, UPS could handle it; their limit is 100 lbs.
Wednesday, May 3, 2006: I loaded the tire into my pickup and headed to Gemmens Hardware to have it shipped via UPS. It took two of us to lift it onto the scale at Gemmens. The tire weighs 112 lbs., making it too heavy for UPS to accept. After a conversation with the store owner and him making several calls, it was decided to take it to Yellow Truck in Grand Rapids.
Arriving at Yellow Truck, I told the dispatcher what I needed to ship and where, and he stated they could ship it but I wouldn’t like the cost. I then explained to him the entire project and simply asked; “How about shipping it for nothing, as a donation to the project?” He gave me a look and said, “I will let you talk to the manager.”
He called the manager, Kirk, who came in from the truck yard, and I explained the Futurliner restoration project and that we needed to get this tire to Coker as we have a person paying to have the original tires reproduced and a company willing to make the tires (Coker). He said he would cut us a good deal but that the tire had to be crated. After telling us the type of crate needed, he jumped onto a fork truck and got a new pallet. We loaded the tire onto the pallet and then onto the back of my pickup.
On the way home, I tried to think of someone I know who likes to work in wood to help construct the crate. As soon as I got home, I called Jerry Sigler who said he’d be right over. Instead of him helping me, it was me helping him. He brought along his air power nailer and within two hours, we managed to get the crate made. We had to make it while the tire rested on the pallet on the tailgate of the truck because the tire and crate were too heavy for Jerry and me to lift into the pickup again.
Thursday, May 4, 2006: Picked up Al Batts and drove to Grand Rapids to Yellow Truck. There, the crated tire was unloaded from my pickup, weighed (185 lbs.), and set on the Yellow Truck loading dock. All the paperwork was filled out, and the Yellow Truck manager managed to reduce the price of shipping the tire. A real savings, thanks to Kirt at Yellow Truck. The “Mayton-Sigler Crate Co.” (a.k.a., me and another member) built a special crate just for this precious tire. The tire is now on its way to Coker Tire Co. in Chattanooga, Tenn.
– Don Mayton