I've talked to him. He says that the appearance is the selling point. It looks like the Delco filters of yesteryear and is marketed to the classic car enthusiast who wants the complete "retro" look for cars that they may take to shows.
As far as he knows, the media and other construction offers no advantage. He says that they are bigger than the recommended filters made for the same vehicles (again, retro) but says the price can be about 20 bucks.
I'd like to look for the nylon vs. metal center tube if I had one in my hand. But I ain't gonna order one just to see.
(In Iowa everybody sells the same, most popular stuff. Anything unusual has to be ordered. Unimaginative "competition" between stores.)