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Tyres for XK's

From: John Elmgreen To: XK-Lovers Subject: Tyres - archives Date: Wednesday, January 22, 1997 6:22AM Here is my collection of XK-Lovers archives on this subject. These will shortly appear (I hope) as a permanent fixture at the WWW site. These seem to answer Kon's question re a new Avon tyre - and even give him the dealer's details in Australia! The Pirelli Cints size is 185 x 16. I have always had them on the 150 S and they are great. I have Avon Turbos on the 120 and they are OK - roar a bit around corners and don't hang on as well as the Cints. But at least you can still buy them! Cints not available in Aus (although I bought a good secondhand one for A$100 recently). See the archives for some comments re whether radials are OK on XKs. I have no doubt they are fine. I should add that most of the ex USA XKs we see here have beaten up looking truck tyres on them, good for about 60 mph I'd guess. But as the cars have never usually turned a wheel for decades, I suppose it's academic. Regards, John Elmgreen. Tyres / tires: July 96, from Ed Mellinger [] For XK tires, an option that I am aware of but know little about is Michelin X radials, said to fit stock XK rims. These are available (or were last month) from Coker Tire in Tennessee (800-251-6336); the fellow there apparently bought a license to that tire and has Michelin make a small run from time to time. I know nothing about Michelin X and would welcome comments from anyone who does; as a company Michelin has certainly had its ups and downs and I don't know where the 'X' fits in. Let's hear more about XK tires... particularly for reasonably routine street use. Tires have come a LONG way since the '50s and with the exception of concours cars I feel that the improvement in safety, performance, reliability, and life more than compensates for the loss of originality. What are people running? Has anyone switched over to E-type wheels, said to have a much wider choice of modern tires? From ArnoWahl: Ref. to the tyre questions, my experience with standard 6.00 x 16 tyres was, that they have a tendency to get out of shape after having sit in the garage for weeks, with the result that driving around 30-40mph the steering wheel hits hard and the front suspension knocks as if you have lost something. If you keep on driving for approx. 20 miles, the wheel shape comes back to a proper circle, without problems. This does not happen with the AVON Turbospeed 6.00 x 16, which are good for high speed runs. Thats what I momentarily use on my XK120 There has been a special series of radials made by Michelin especially for the BMW 507, which also runs on 16" rims. they come in 185 or 195 x 16, i.e. radials. The roadholding is much better than others, so was I told by XK drivers using them on their cars. The backset is: they are very expensive. These Michelin tyres are available in Germany, due to the state law, that cars being capable of running a certain maximum speed must be equipped with appropriate tyres. From Cleo Bay: (To Chip): I will have to differ with you on radial tires on XKs. I have had them on both my cars since I have owned them for over 12 years. No ill effects have been noticed. The general ride and handling improvement is well worth the change and the point deductions. I will never have bias ply tires on any of my cars! Some American cars of that vintage did have problems with radial tires. I also have friends who have been driving XKs since the 1950s and they have not had any problems either. And they drive their cars much harder than I do! 25 Oct 1996, from Vintage Tyres, UK, to John Elmgreen [] Our Agent in Australia is:
Vintage Wholesale Accessories
134 McEwan Rd, West Heidelberg
Victoria 3081
Tel (03) 9458 4433
Fax (03)9458 4795
Alan or Noeline McKinnon

At the moment there are a few tyres available to suit the XK Jaguars:-
Dunlop 600 H16 RS5 @ GBP 99.00 each
Avon 600 V16 Turbospeed @ 106.00 each
Avon 185 VR16 Turbosteel @ 149.50
This is a brand new tyre exclusively for us. Alan Mckinnon has ordered 
a quantity from us, so I think that you will be well advised to talk to him 
about them. His price should be competitive if you take into account 
shipping costs.

23 Jan 1997, from Kon Kakanis, Australia:
I did see an ad in a recent issue of Jaguar World, showing the (new) 
Pirellis for 170 Pounds Sterling.  If anyone is interested, I can post 
the vendor details.  I spoke to Alan McKinnon about the Avon 185/16 radial & he 
advised he had cancelled his order as local price was looking at more than A$450 per 
tyre.  He didn't think he would sell many at that price.

21 Jan 1997, from Ron (XK150 DHC):
I recently spoke to Guy Broad and he recommended radials only, specifically
Pirelli Cinturatos, but he did say they were extremely expensive. He feels 
that good radials will do the most towards improving the handling of the XK. I
currently have Michelins on my 150, but they are somewhat smaller than the
original Roadspeeds which throws the speedometer & odometer off. I'd like 
to stay with radials to get the best handling possible (I'm also in the 
process of replacing all the front end bushings and installing an uprated sway bar). 
Any suggestions?

21 Jan 1997, from Ed Rubacha (XK120):
I ran Cinturatos on my XK120 for many years and liked them.  When it became
clear they were no longer readily available, I looked at the market and 
chose Firestone bias ply replicas.  I have put something like 1200 highway miles 
on them and have no complaint.  If Pirellis were manufactured again, and 
available at a decent price, I would use them again.

22 Jan 1997, from Kon Kakanis:
A recent issue of the Jaguar Enthusiasts Club magazine included a news item
about Avon introducing a 185/16 radial for XK users.  Sadly, when checking 
with my local Avon distributor (in Australia), they knew nothing of it.  Am in 
the process of faxing them the article so they can follow up with the factory.
Price was not mentioned.   Apart from that, the Cinturatos are available 
for big bucks, and I have heard of a Mark VII running the radial tyres fitted to 
Toyota RAV4's but have yet to confirm it.   Finally, my local Michelin distributor
told me they 'thought' they had a 185/16 radial in an X pattern called the 
'Classic' or something similar, but couldn't quote a price, or availability.

21 Jan 1997, from Nick Saltarelli (XK120):
On my 120, I opted for the original specification, Dunlop Roadspeeds; I 
want to build a concours car, just once.  Can't tell you how the Dunlops handle, I
haven't driven the car yet, but we all know full well that good radials 
would handle a lot better.   On my E-type I have Pirelli Cinturatos.  These are
fabulous tires which are unfortunately no longer available.

21 Jan 1997, from Rob Caveney (XK140):
My mechanic said never to use radials on an XK because the suspension was 
not designed for them. Use only bias ply tires. He's also the same one who said
to settle for 11mpg.

22 Jan 1997, from Mike:
Rob, I think your mechanic is full of haggis about radials on XK's. I've 
had Michelins on our 120 for years with no adverse effects. They are slightly
smaller in diameter than original Roadspeeds, however.

22 Jan 1997, from David, XK140 MC OTS:
I have a 1955 XK 140MC OTS.  I have had radial tires on it for the last 3
years.They are 600x16 tires.  i purchased them from Coker Tires.  They are
Michelin radials that as stated in a previous E-Mail, are produced by Coker
from time to time.  These are made in France for them.  They have the same
shape/configuration as the original tires.  In my research I found that 
these were made in 1955 also.  I can't swear to that, but it sounds good. Also 
the tread configuration is the same as the one that was on the bias-ply tires 
that I removed.  The best part is that the ride and handling are excellent without
giving up much if anything in originality.  I do miss a little bit the 
squealing and fish-tailing the old tires consistantly gave.
The ride and cornering were well worth the price.

22 Jan 1997, from Larry Martz
All XK120s, 140s, and 150s were shod at Browns Lane with 6:00/16 Dunlop
Roadspeed tyres; all Mk Vs, VIIs, VIIMs, VIIIs, and IXs received 6:50 

23 Jan 1997, from Ron, XK150 DHC:
I run Michelins on my XK150 now and I have no complaints.

23 Jan 1997, from Larry Schear:
Original XK-140 tyres were Dunlop Road Speed 6.00 x 16 - Michelin X was 
also available, but not from Jaguar.  Dunlop RS5 came later, for the XK-150, I 
think. The Dunlops slid controllably, but the stickier Michelins let go when the
probability of recovery was much less!  I remember one guy who put tractor 
tires on his DHC, with circumferential grooves only, as that's the only thing hr 
could find that would fit!  Horrible handling!  I bought the remains for $15!!!  
I remember in excess of 85,000 miles from one set of hard-rubber Michelin X 
tyres (once only - calmer driving after I got married!).

27 Jan 1997, from Bruce Lake, XK140:
Have recently got my 140 FHC on the road after 20 years and the Pirelli
Cinturatos (185x16) which were new in 1978 are now hard and squeal with 
light braking. I have resorted to new 15" wheels and tyres off my MKII on the 
front to give some safe braking till I can source better rubber. I am running 175x16
Pirelli Akros on my 1949 Riley which improves handling
and comfort dramatically but reduces diameter as well. They are used on 
Lada 4WD and are not suitably speed rated for the XK. The next size (205x16) for
Landrover Discoverys are speed rated OK but too big. The Pirelli Akros is a
much better tyre than the Cinturato on current comparisons.  The cuurent go in 
West Australia seems to be 205x15" using offset E-type wheels and/or widened 
guards. Gives a wide choice of modern rubber but not one for the purists. Am 
interested in any imformation on modern options. A Pirelli 185x16 Akros would be ideal
but they dont make one (Yet?)

28 Jan 97, from BillFair, XK140 FHC:
I have had good luck with Firestone "Cavalenos" (sp?).  I was told they 
were made for the Overseas (read non U.S.) markets.  Should be available most
anywhere outside the U.S.A.

29 Jan 1997, from Allan Derry:
As to tires: When I was trying to decide what to place on the car, a friend
said if the car is to put into a musuem put on diagonals [crossplys - ed.] as 
those were the original items; but if you plan on enjoying driving, definitely 
use radials. The only ones available at that time were Firestone's Cavallinos 
Sport 200 185SR-16, made in New Zealand. That was in 1991. They're quite good, 
the only problem being that they do touch, ever so littly, the spats when 

30 Jan 1997, from: Roger Payne:
I have these (Firestone Cavallinos) fitted to my XK140MC roadster, and they
are excellent, in my opinion superior to previously used Pirelli Cinturatos.  
These tyres are readily available in Australia, and mine are made by Firestone 
(New Zealand).

30 Jan 97, from John Elmgreen:
I made some enquiries today in Sydney for Firestone Cavallinos and was told
that they are no longer available new (of course, there may be some NOS out 
there). Further, that Firestone was taken over recently (?2-3 years) by 
Bridgestone, and the moulds in NZ have been sent back to USA where they may or may not in 
the future be re-used.  The only radials available were Michelin X 185x16 at 
A$462. My old Cints will have to do a few more miles.

3 Feb 1997, from Kon Kakanis, Queensland, Australia:
Bridgestone in Queensland tell me that each state office is deciding on 
their own approach to the Firestone Cavallino.  I guess further investigation 
would be to try all states, if this is so.
Kon Kakanis.

See More On Tyres....

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