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185/70 R 13 Tyres

This week's excitement was Car SOS (now nicknamed car Sausage) had a Sunbeam Alpine series 1 in for restoration. Early Alpines left the factory with 560X13 crossply tyres which are not currently produced as a sports car tyre. We only ever sell the 560X13 Camac, but it's not a sports car tyre.

Because the road's we drive on these days are very different to what they were in the '60s, we drive on so many more dual carriage ways these days, people predominantly choose to drive on a radial tyre. The radial equivalent to a 560X13 is either 155R13 or 165R13. I would suggest that the best tyres in these sizes currently are from the Michelin XAS range. These fantastic early asymmetric tyres dramatically improve the directional stability of a classic car. I have had them on several cars. My Daimler V8, Ford Cortina and now my Silver Shadow.
So many classic cars these days just get stuck onto wider rims. It is a miss conceived idea that wider wheels & tyres will just make your classic car better. Often really the reason is the availability of cheap modern tyres. Fitting modern oversized tyres spoils the handling of a classic car. The steering gets heavier, more vague and it doesn't turn in so precisely and quickly, added to that if you don't alter the camber of the car then you will have much less progressive handling, as the rear end brakes away more violently.

In the 60's they had nice light small tyres, in the 70's they had fat heavier tyres. In the '60s they had the mini skirt, In the 70's they had flairs. I know which I prefer.
I digress:- Because the tyre size 185/70R13 is as common as the hairs on a bares bum, there have been a good selection of cheap tyres available in this size. When I go to a classic car show I often have a browse of the Sunbeam Alpine stand because I kind of fancy one (pre series 4, with fins). I would suggest that the majority of Alpines I see are fitted with 185/70R13 tyres, and I often find myself bickering with them encouraging them to fit something smaller and more suited to the car than just buying on price. People tend to hate it when I tell them, they chose their tyre on price rather than suitability. I'm surprised I don't get punched more often.


When you are over tyreing a classic car, you can diminish the derogatory effect by fitting something with a period carcass, that was designed to complement a car that was originally designed for a thinner tyre, and to suit a car that doesn't have adverse camber. A period tyre will go some way to maintaining an old cars progressive handling, but keep the advantages of the wider tyre, which are diminishing wheel spin and stopping you locking up under braking, not symptoms I feel are associated with a Sunbeam Alpine. Without doubt, if I ever do get an Alpine my car will be on 155 possibly 165R13 tyres.

However:- The Car SOS car had got wider Minnilite wheels, and the good news for the Car Sausage team is that while they were restoring the Sunbeam Alpine, a new delivery of PIRELLI's fantastic 185/70VR13 CINTURATO ™ CN36 was being delivered to their depot, and I was able to pop into PIRELLI's shed, pick up 5 tyres and deliver and fit the tyres for them on Tuesday of this week. So although it has got oversized wheels on it we can maintain some of its progressiveness of handling by having the lovely rounded shoulders of the PIRELLI CINTURATO ™. There is an interesting article by a German magazine about the CINTURATO ™ CN36 tyres on this page http://www.longstonetyres.co.uk/page/classic-porsche-tyres

PIRELLI CINTURATO ™ 185/70VR13 CN36 Factory

Published on 01/02/2017

Classic Alfa Tyres

Currently the availability of Classic Alfa tyres is exceptional and as good as it ever has been.

Alfa Romeo Classic Tyres

When the Alfa 1900 first came out in 1950, the 165SR400 Michelin X tyre was in production however the likelihood is that the 1900 fitted crossply tyres 130/140X40 Michelin SCSS. Both of these tyres are still in production with Michelin where of course the quality is never in doubt. In 1952 PIRELLI introduced the 165HR400 CINTURATO ™ which was a radial tyre designed to offer the progressive handling that was needed for sports cars, and became the tyre of choice with Alfa Romeo on their 1900 model and continued through the Alfa Romeo 2000 and right throughout the production of the 2600 in 1968.

As you can imagine the demand for tyres built to fit on 400mm rim are minimal. Wheels are predominantly made in imperial inch sizes. So for some time now we have to be thankful to Michelin for supplying the SCSS tyres and the famous Michelin X But for 50s and 60s sports car owners of Alfa Romeo and Lancia Aurelia & Flaminia the fact that in 2016 PIRELLI re introduced the 165HR400 CINTURATO ™, the only H speed rated 400mm tyre is excellent news. Because, in period, these millimetric radial tyres were of course the tyre of choice so the wheel manufacturer Ruote Borrani started making 400mm wheels for Ferrari 250 GT and Aston Martin DB2/4 & DB4 so they could take advantage of the performance offered by the 165HR400 PIRELLI CINTURATO ™ too.

Published on 18/01/2017

Inter Classic in Brussel

Went to Inter Classic in Brussel. I was amazed how many Early 911 s and Porsche 356 cars were there. There have been some excellent developments in classic Porsche tyres. PIRELLI have made a fantastic range of period CINTURATO ™ tyres with the Porsche homologation N4, signifying that these are the tyres that Porsche recommend for their classic cars. 165VR15 CN36 N4 (356, 912, 914 & early 911), 185/70WR15 CN36 N4 (911, 914, 924 & 944), NEW 215/60WR15 CN36 N4 (Rear 911 Carrera, 911 RS, 911 2.7, 911 Turbo, 911SC, 911E, 911L, 911S, 944 Lux), NEW 205/50YR15 P7 N4 (Front of 911 Turbo, 930 3.0 Turbo, 930 Carrera 3.0) NEW 225/50VR15 P7 N4 (928, Rear Porsche 911 Turbo, 930 3.0 Turbo, 930 Carrera 3.0)

Published on 22/11/2016

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