Left to right 185 R 15 Michelin XVS, 185 x 15 Dunlop SP Sport Aquajet, 185 - 15 Vredestein Sprint Classic, 185 VR 15 Pirelli Cinturato CA67, 640 H 15 Dunlop RS5 crossply, 670 H 15 Avon TurboSpeed Crossply, 180-15 Michelin XAS.
In 1960 many of the worlds best Sports car manufacturers such as Ferrari and Jaguar moved away from fitting 185 – 16 tyres, and started to fit 15” wheels. They would fit 6.40 – 15 or 6.70 – 15 crossply tyres or 185-15 radial tyres. Some sports car manufacturers would offer both.
Classic Radial 185-15 Tyres
Aston Martin offered the choice on the late DB4, DB5 or early DB6: 6.70 – 15 Avon TurboSpeed crossply tyres, or you could have the radial 185-15 Pirelli Cinturato CA67 which was the V speed rated high performance classic radial tyre that was also fitted to the Ferrari 250 GT, and was an option on Jaguar. Pirelli started making the radial Cinturato CA67 in 1952, and as far as a period radial tyre for classic cars of the 1960s we would suggest that the Cinturato 185-15 CA67 would be closest to original, and it is the earliest 185-15 tyre made currently.
There are a few genuine classic radial 185-15 tyres manufactured presently.
- 185 VR 15 Pirelli Cinturato CA67. High performance genuine early classic radial sports car tyre.
- 180 HR 15 Michelin XAS. Though not actually a 185-15 tyre it is tall and thinand for some cars is a great alternative.
- 185 x 15 Dunlop SP Sport or Aquajet. This V speed rated tyre came out in 1968.
- 185 R 15 Michelin XVS this is a V rated 1970s update of the 1965 Michelin 185-15 XAS.
- 185 HR 15 Michelin XVS-P an H rated version of the 1976 185-15 XVS. The raised curbing band is described in the -P for protection.
- 185 HR 15 Michelin XVS White Wall. We believe this is currently the only genuine period classic white wall tyre.
- 185R15 Avon Turbosteel again a V rated 185-15 radial tyre from the 1970s.
There are a selection of other tyres manufactured in the size 185-15, but we would suggest the ones listed above are genuine period tyres that have a carcass structure that is appropriate carcass structure that suits the chassis of a classic car.
185-15 Classic Jaguar Tyres
Since the MK1 Jaguar of 1955 to 1959, the MK2 1959 - 1967, S-type 1963- 1968, 240 and 340 of 1966 – 1968 compact saloon cars came out fitted with the same size crossply 6.40-15 Dunlop crossply tyres that were fitted to the series 1 e-type of 1961 – 1968. The 185VR15 Pirelli Cinturato CA67 is a tyre that could have been specified in the day by a discerning driver who wanted more grip and directional stability while maintaining sporty handling of as progressive tyre. For some of the saloon cars if the steering is too heavy then the Michelin 180 HR 15 Michelin XAS is a great option. The other high performance option would be the Michelin 185-15 XVS.
In 1968 the series 2 E type Jaguar came fitted with 185-15 radial tyres as standard, fitting the 185 X 15 Dunlop SP Sport which was also called the Aquajet, because of its funky tread pattern designed top move water out the way. Although the Aquajet does look cool we would still fit the 185-15 Cinturato, because of its progressive sporty handling. Worth noting that at the same time the low profile ER/70R15 Aquajet tyre was developed and fitted top the XJ6, but they didn’t fit that to the E-type until power steering was also fitted.
Low Profile alternative to 185-15
Low profile tyres were developed in 1968, and many of the car models that originally fitted 185-15 tyres over the period of 1968 to 1973 would move over to the low profile ER/70-15 which is now described as 205/70R15. But that is another blog all together.
Inner tubes for 185-15 Tyres
Because a 185-15 tyre does not mention the aspect ratio it can fit an inner tube. Any 185-15 tyre can fit an inner tube, although many of them have tubeless written on the side wall, because they are full 80 profile tyres and can fit an inner tube, which is good news as often these tyres will be fitted onto wire wheels which should be fitted with an inner tube. Worth noting a 185-15 tyre could also be called a 185/80-15 tyre.
We suggest that Michelin make excellent inner tubes for classic cars and we would recommend the 15 F 13 Michelin inner tube.