When we first saw these retro off-road tires on the Mopar Underground J-12 concept vehicle in Moab last year we were chomping at the bit to get our grubby, beat-up hands on a set to try them out. If the vintage looks are not enough to get your ticker thumping we don’t know what will. Retro is cool. Luckily for us Summit Racing carries the full line of Coker truck and military tires, and we were able to get a hold of a set of five Specialty Tires of America Super Lugs. The fact is that any and all retro off-road tires we have seen have been small or required some crazy-narrow wheel. These tires in a 9.00-16LT sizing are big…narrow, but big, measuring just over 36 inches in diameter. That’s approaching the actual height of some 37s. We love the looks of the old-school tread. The narrow nature of the tires allows us to get away with very minimal trimming (just in front of the front tires) and only a 4-inch suspension lift on our ’78 Jeep J-10. So far, the tires with awesome vintage looks have performed better than expected off-road and are almost civilized enough for everyday on-road use.
We’ve been running the STA Super Lugs on our Piggy the Pig Truck J-10 for several months and have been pretty happy with the tires so far. We keep them aired up to 25 psi for all of our road work. The closely spaced hockey-stick-shaped center lugs keep the growl down to a low roar, but they are anything but quiet. After all, what would you expect from a tread design that is probably 40 years old? The narrow tread does tend to wander a touch at highway speeds. Surprisingly the bias-ply tires balanced easily and ride remarkably smoothly on-road. Like most bias-ply tires, flat spotting does occur on those cooler mornings and it takes a mile or two to beat the round back into our Super Lugs. The looks of the retro rubber and wheels garner lots of looks and attention from anyone who cares at all about cars and trucks. We are not sure if it’s Piggy’s patina or the tires but we thought the technicians were gonna start making out with the truck when we went to pick it up at the tire shop. They were all ogling Piggy and complimenting the tires.
With the confidence of the Super Lug’s bias-ply construction we air down to 9-10 psi. The tires stick to everything and really thrive off-road and have held up to our abuse. They grip dry rock well and the sidewalls are thick and tough. In the wet the Super Lugs gripped better than we would have expected, but those tight center tread blocks did pack with mud leaving the large widely spaced shoulder lugs to do most of the work in the thick and sloppy stuff. The siping on all the tread lugs helps with grabbing on wet rocks and dirt. The aforementioned hockey-stick-shaped center lugs are angled and roughly form a chevron pattern that combined with the siping seem to be the key to the tires’ off-road performance. If we had any gripes about the design, it would be aimed towards the baby butt-smooth sidewalls, which could use some more…anything in the form of sidewall tread. But having said that, any sidewall tread would ruin the vintage looks that we are totally in love with.
Reliable bias-ply construction
Epic off-road traction
Tall vintage-looking tires
Only for 16-inch diameter wheels
Flat spotting on cool mornings
Put ’em on:
Your retro off-roader
Your restomod FSJ