Published in the Giuliettaletta, Volume 103, Autumn 2010 issue, The Alfa Romeo Giulietta Owners Club.
Prewar, the casing of a car tyre consisted of a number of rubberised cord plies with edges wrapped around the bead wires, These tyres are now called 'cross ply'. Just after the war a different tyre construction was developed, this had the fabric cords in the outer casing running radially to enable the sidewalls to be flexible, these are known as 'radial ply' or 'radials'. Except for vintage cars, cross plies are nowadays few and far between having being replaced by radials.
In the 1950's new cars were being designed to take advantage of the radial tyre. The Giulietta was designed from the off to be fitted with radials and if you look in your handbook you will see that one of the tyres fitted as standard was the PIRELLI CINTURATO ™
The PIRELLI Company was founded in Italy in 1872 and started producing tyres in the late nineteenth century. The company's first victory in a motor race came in the Peking-Paris event in 1907, heralding a tradition of sporting success consolidated over the years by figures such as Nuvolari, Ascari and Fangio.
The PIRELLI CINTURATO ™, introduced in the 1950's, was the first example of a textile cord braced radial tyre and it quickly became the dominant radial tyre in European GT and sports car racing circles. It combined unprecedented grip with high-speed capabilities and also gave a supremely comfortable ride. Not surprisingly, the PIRELLI CINTURATO ™ soon became standard equipment on many of the great Italian marques of the era, including Ferrari, Maserati, and Lamborghini.
One of the first radial tyre sizes was the 165R400 tyre that was fitted to 400mm wheels on the Citroen Traction Avant. In the 50's and 60's Alfa Romeo built their larger cars with 400mm wheels and fitted the 165R400 PIRELLI CINTURATO ™. So Alfa's 1900, 2000 and 2600 all fitted this size. Today PIRELLI are the only company that make a suitable H speed rated tyre that is designed for use on these cars, the 165HR400.
Alfa fitted the Giulietta and Giulia with the 155R15 PIRELLI CINTURATO ™ which today is available in an H speed rated tyre. The H tyre has recently been DOT and E-marked to make them perfect for road and track use. These tyres are available directly from our advertiser Longstone Tyres who deliver to your door in the U.K. free of carriage charges.
If you drive your Giulietta on tyres that were designed in period to suit our cars instead of modern tyres that happen to be described as being the right size for your car on the sidewall of the tyre, but which in reality are often a different shape and structure, your car will drive the way it should which is more fun than a car that has a massive amount of road holding at the expense of the lovely handling that your car had originally.