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David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
12/14/11 2:52 p.m.

Finding more mass-produced, off-the-shelf tires for our older classics has been a crusade of mine, and we recently met with a friend in the industry. So, I turn the forum to you guys: What are your specific needs regarding sizes, applications and even prices? Basically, the more solid info that you give me, the more I can pass along.


spitfirebill SuperDork
12/14/11 3:58 p.m.

I would love to see a higher performance tire in a suitable size for Spitfires (and thus midgets too) at a reasonable cost. Like reproduce the Michelin ZXZ or Phoenix Stahlflex. I can't afford Coker if that is where this is going.

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
12/14/11 4:02 p.m.

Thanks. What sizes are you seeking?

AndreGT6 Dork
12/14/11 5:16 p.m.

175/70-13 on the Spits and GT6's.


AndreGT6 Dork
12/14/11 5:17 p.m.

Or 185/60-13 for a beefier low profile look.

VClassics Reader
12/14/11 5:18 p.m.

The old Volvo community would really like some 165R15 tires that perform decently. Right now the thing that comes close is Vredestein.

Later models had wider wheels and 185-70/15 tires, but we're okay with putting 195-65/15 on those, so that's less of an issue.

Ian F
Ian F SuperDork
12/14/11 7:10 p.m.
AndreGT6 wrote: Or 185/60-13 for a beefier low profile look.


Something like an old Dunlop but molded in the Star Spec's compound.

In most cases, classic car tires age-check before they wear out, so trading longevity for some better handling would be nice. TO me, it seems there is an unexplored market for real performance street tires for older cars.

Also, as mentioned over on the GRM forums, decent correct diameter tires for the E30 are getting tough to find.

dougie Reader
12/14/11 11:21 p.m.

Here's the best vintage tire you'll find in a 175 & 185. It's the tire I race with in the rain and run on my street car in the dry.


jr02518 New Reader
12/14/11 11:46 p.m.

I would like to find a 205/60/13 with a rating of 160 to 200.

Attached is my 1982 320 running "H Stock" in the Cal Club, So Cal SCCA region. We have set up a class for cars 1969 to 1985. Think of it like a PAX class for old iron. We also have a group for cars 1968 and older.


We have a very active group of Morgan drivers running at our events, we all have the same issues finding tires.

David www.solo2.com

spitfirebill SuperDork
12/15/11 9:07 a.m.

After reading the OP, I started Googling for tires for my Spitfires. It appears its much worse now than when I last looked. The Sumitomo HTR 200 is gone.

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
12/15/11 12:49 p.m.

Yeah, the HTR 200 does appear to be gone. That is a bummer.

Ian F
Ian F SuperDork
12/15/11 2:42 p.m.
spitfirebill wrote: After reading the OP, I started Googling for tires for my Spitfires. It appears its much worse now than when I last looked. The Sumitomo HTR 200 is gone.

Yeah... and I had a set of HTR200's on my Spit 6... Personally, I'm not shedding much of a tear over it's demise...

Right now, I'm on a search for 14" rims for my GT6 so I can get a set of 185/60-14 Star Spec's, which are the same diameter and only a smidge wider.

AndreGT6 Dork
12/15/11 2:46 p.m.

I'm running 15's on the GT6.

Coupefan Reader
12/15/11 3:00 p.m.

I second the 185/60-13's. Now, if anyone out there is running a BMW 2002, Datsun 510, Fiat 124 or similar from the era, and you still have 13" wheels, 205/60-13's were common.

Ian F
Ian F SuperDork
12/15/11 7:08 p.m.
AndreGT6 wrote: I'm running 15's on the GT6.

I know... and if I'm going to be honest, I'm not fond of how 15's look.

AndreGT6 Dork
12/15/11 8:33 p.m.

Yeah I know not for everyone.

I do have a nice set of slotted 13's, but the tires are all wrong. (185/70-13)

If money was no issue. I'd run the GT6 on wire wheels.

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
12/15/11 9:03 p.m.

Thanks again! I sent this thread to my friend in the tire business, but keep that feedback coming. I figure we can fab a fender or machine new pistons, but so far we can't really knit our own tires.

Rob_Mopar Dork
12/15/11 9:53 p.m.

Hi David,

I know in this group I'm probably in the minority but there is a distinct lack of street performance tires for 15" wheels too, preferably radial. As Ian pointed out these tires will dry rot before wearing out.

In my case I'm running 225/60-15's on the front and 255/60-15's out back on the Barracuda. These are pretty common muscle car tire sizes. I would love to have a grippy redline radial in those sizes.

On my wife's Challenger we're running ancient 235/60-15 BFG Comp T/As.

On the Road Runner we have 255/60-15's up front and 275/60-15's out back.

Anything with a tasteful small font white letter (think Polyglass GT, not all terrain truck) or redline would be welcomed by the guys collecting the '60's/70's domestics.

Now I just need to remember to pop back over here from the GRM board more frequently...


Quick edit: I like how the new Classic board pulled all my settings from the GRM board.

jr02518 New Reader
12/15/11 9:59 p.m.

Our local SCCA group is allowing the Historic 2 group, 1969 to 1985 cars to move up to 14 inch rims. We are starting with Falken 615K's running 195/60's.

Having more options would be nice. Having tires that fill the "SK 1 and 2, street tire" groups would provide an alternative to "R" comps.

What market segment is you friend aiming to provide product for?

ditchdigger Dork
12/16/11 10:26 a.m.

175/50-13 and 195/45-13 for small cars like the original mini, rear engined fiats, NSU's and whatever.

185/60-13 and 205/60-13 for pretty much every 70's-80's import car.

Maxxis really needs to bring the 185/50-14 here. They sell it in mexico and canada why not us? That tire would take off like crazy with the vintage japanese car crowd.

There is a startling lack of tires under 21.7" tall

spitfirebill SuperDork
12/16/11 10:32 a.m.

A lot of the tires we are talking about are still available overseas. Or at least they were. I'm guessing the good old DOT and our sue-happy legal system may be stopping those from being imported.

Jim Pettengill
Jim Pettengill HalfDork
12/16/11 3:57 p.m.

A much newer car, but a similar problem - try finding decent (or any) OE-size tires for a Mk.2 MR2. That would be 185/60-14 (Ok, Star Specs here, good deal) and 205/60-14. Or, for the '93 and later, try 195/55-15s and 225/50 15s (in a real street tire, not R-comps). Sure, tricker sizes like a Star Spec in a 225/50-14 would be cool, but it's just crazy to look for a nice used car and have to budget a set of 16" rims just to be able to fit appropriate sporting tires in a relatively original width,and on the Mk.2 MR2 it's a safety issue as well (according to some, anyhow). So count this as another vote for additional iizes in the 13", 14" and 15" diameters, say in the 175 - 225 section widths.

Ian F
Ian F SuperDork
12/16/11 4:24 p.m.
Jim Pettengill wrote: A much newer car, but a similar problem - try finding decent (or any) OE-size tires for a Mk.2 MR2.

E30 owners face a similar problem.

Tahoe New Reader
12/19/11 1:32 p.m.

Some stock tire sizes for Lotus Elans!

5.20 X 13 Goodyear Crossply OEM on S1 & S2

145 X 13 Dunlop SP41 Optional equipment on S1 & S2, and OEM on S3 & S4 Firestone F100 Optional Equipment on S3

155 X 13 Dunlop SP Sport OEM on S4 & Sprint Firestone F100 OEM on S4 & Sprint Goodyear G800 OEM on S4 & Sprint

165 X 13 Dunlop SP41 OEM on +2 Dunlop SP Sport OEM on +2 Firestone F100 OEM on +2 Goodyear G800 OEM on +2

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
12/22/11 11:56 p.m.

I'm working on my dream list, so keep those cards and letters coming.

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