April 22, 2014 11:12 a.m.

I've been playing tire roulette on my 122 for a couple of years now, but I finally reached the point where nothing I had in my pile of tires/ wheels was really road worthy anymore. The rear tires were about 8 years old and starting to self-deflate, and the fronts had a horrible vibration to them over about 60 mph- and I noticed they were date coded 2003. I popped a set of nearly new 205/75R14 from a '49 plymouth I have on the rears, but that size would have been too wide for the front. I really wanted to install some stock 165SR15's there, but they are getting pricey.

The CM test a few issues back listed the Firestone F560, as well as some options from Vandestren and Michelin. The Firestones are the cheapest, but the only shop I could find them at wanted 108 a piece- and that didn't include mounting, balancing, etc. Kumho makes a 165/80R15, it lists for about $69 each + M/B (and I had bought a set of four of those many years ago for another car, and liked them), but I couldn't find them anywhere.

Wal-Mart listed a Nexen tire in the 165/80R15 size for $59. So the other day I called them up, ordered 2, and had them put on. The appearance is very good, to my eye- they look similar to the F560, I think. Ride quality seems good, and handling (as much as you can get out a 6" wide tire) is decent. The total "on the rim and out the door" price worked out to $78 per tire, and actually would have been about $5 each cheaper if I'd driven the car there, as Wal-Mart curiously charges a $5 per tire "walk in" fee if you bring in the wheels.

The guy at the counter said he'd never sold that particular size of tire before. But so far, I've put about 1400 miles on them, driving the car from Maryland to upstate NY, and then to Raleigh, NC this past weekend, and am pleased.

David S. Wallens Editorial Director
April 22, 2014 10:48 p.m.

Interesting find. This is the one, right?


April 23, 2014 7:03 a.m.

Yup, that's the tire. They are Chinese-made, which scares me a bit, but so far they seem to be decent. I drive my 122 fairly 'enthusiastically' (as you can tell from my avatar) and they do their job.

gjz30075 Reader
April 23, 2014 9:18 a.m.

I just put Nexens on '11 Hyundai Elantra Touring and am quite pleased with price, handling and looks.

Vigo PowerDork
April 26, 2014 10:42 a.m.

Hah, i like how they apparently couldnt find a skinny enough rim to model those tires on for the pics so it looks stretched.

I have had a positive impression of the Nexens i've used.

I put some 165/50/15s on the back of one of my Insights and they are the skinniest tires i ever spent money on on purpose.

April 26, 2014 12:28 p.m.

When I owned my 1800's... the tire of choice for enthusiastic driving was a 185/65/15...

There does appear to be some available.....

April 28, 2014 6:54 a.m.

The diameter of the 185/65R15 is smaller, though, which means more revs per mile. You also lose ground clearance- which, for my style of driving, isn't a good thing. Also, for the 4 inch wide wheel on the 122, even a 165-series tire is a bit wide for the wheel. I had 195/65R15s on there once, and they looked like they were spilling over the wheels.

April 28, 2014 5:58 p.m.

Is the 122 wheel that narrow? I admit I had the 185/65/15 on the 1800E alloy, so I don't know what fits a 122 wheel. When my wife owned her 122s (2 of them) we ran 165/15 Michelin XZX if I remember correctly...

Coker tire has a few of these older sizes in their "new" inventory www.cokertire.com

VClassics Reader
April 28, 2014 7:19 p.m.

Amazons that have trunks came with 4" wide wheels and 6.00 tubeless bias ply tires. Wagons came with 4.5" and 6.00 bias ply tires with inner tubes. 1800s through '69 also had 4.5" wheels, but with a different offset, and with 165-15 radials. '70-'71 1800E used s slightly wider wheel (5" ?), still with 165-15 radials, '72-'73 had 5.5" wheels with 185/70-15 radials.

April 29, 2014 7:23 a.m.

The bolt pattern on the 70 and later 1800's is different, too.

I knew the 122 wagon and early 1800's used wider (4.5) wheels, never knew they were a different offset.

VClassics Reader
April 29, 2014 12:12 p.m.

If it has rear drum brakes, the bolt circle is 5 on 4.5". If it has rear disc, it's 5 on 108mm (the exception being early 850s, which have four studs).

wspohn HalfDork
April 29, 2014 4:10 p.m.

Do what I do on the MGAs - use 5" (or even 5.5") wheels and modern rubber in 185x65-15 or 195x60-15. The former will be 3.7% slower and the latter will be 1.5% slower.

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