hello,

Running some standard modern Toyo tires on my Vintage Spyder, and looking to get a set of a more vintage tire with taller sidewall. Something like the original Dunlop or Avon race tires, with a cleaner sidewall without heavy script. Be great to have a more modern radial type, anyone running something good?

Original Post

Most of the actual 550’s run a 5.50 x16 for the vintage tires. At least when I go to vintage historic races. I’m looking for a 5.50x15.

i know I can buy from Coker but those tires are not correct for these cars. Looking for anyone that has used Dunlop, Goodyear, Avon ect that we’re the period correct tires of the day.

Thanks everyone for the info!

@chines1 have you had any issues with the tires rubbing with the tire height? I'm running 5.5 rear and 4 or 4.5 front steel wheels in 15 size.

@Kevin-bay area Those are the look im going for, love the side wall.

@edsnova are those tires a radial or are they a bias ply? Have you had the car up to speed yet (80plus or hard corner carving) any info you have on how they handle compared to the modern tires? Understand they will not be as good as modern but wondering how far off they would be.

Anyone looking for new tires- Vredestein makes the Sportrac 5 (summer performance) in a host of 14" sizes from 175's to 195's (anyone running 14" Fuchs?), 15" from 175's (50, 60 & 65), 185's (50, 60, 65) 195's (45, 50, 55,60, 65) 205's (50, 55, 60, 65), 215/65, even a 225/60-15 and some good Speedster/Spyder friendly 16" sizes as well. AfaIk this is the only company still making summer performance tires in a variety of sizes we can use. As Stan said above, he loves them. I believe someone else here has them on their car but I can't remember who at the moment.

You'll have to ask around and not accept "oh, they're not made any more but these all season's (made for Smart Cars and Fiats) are just as good (which they're not). I know they don't have the 'period look' but they're a modern tire with a decent summer compound, I believe they don't cost an arm, a leg and the left nut and today that's a rarity. If we make a stir about them and mention them on other forums like the Samba, Cal Look Lounge and any other places some of you frequent (so guys all over are asking about them) maybe one of the bigger chains will bring them in so they're available. 

I'm sure the Vredestein Sportac 5 tires do well like you say, but the sidewall is just so terrible I can't consider those they are worse then the Toyo's on the car. It's a balance of functional and period correct, so I'm looking for something more simple in the sidewall. If all out performance was the point, I would just stick with the low profile Toyo RRR on the car.

No need to explain yourself, Eric; you're looking for 'period correct', while that's not really up there on my list of priorities. My point is that if you're not looking for period correct- these are interesting options. As Uncle Stan says, "it's a big tent with room for all of us". Al

ericthered posted:

Thanks everyone for the info!

@chines1 have you had any issues with the tires rubbing with the tire height? I'm running 5.5 rear and 4 or 4.5 front steel wheels in 15 size.

@Kevin-bay area Those are the look im going for, love the side wall.

@edsnova are those tires a radial or are they a bias ply? Have you had the car up to speed yet (80plus or hard corner carving) any info you have on how they handle compared to the modern tires? Understand they will not be as good as modern but wondering how far off they would be.

I haven't driven the Vreds at all yet (car is still not titled or registered...fingers crossed for very soon after the new year) but they are modern radial tires. The Sprint Classic is an all season tire, harder compound than the Sporttrac and sized with high aspect ratio like the old bias ply tires. Here are some reviews from Tire rack buyers and Tiretest.com (whatever that is).

My tire guy is an MG/LBC guy and he asked me about them when mounting, told me some of the MG guys he works with have gone back to the Hanhooks & such (Which I have on my MG and which perform well).

At this link Moss tested the Vred Sprint Classics against expired Michelins and found them far superior to tires that should be thrown away!

Excerpt from the Moss test: 

"The Vredesteins also performed well on the track. They had enough grip to get around corners with authority and provided nice, progressive breakaway characteristics. While these tires lack the outright grip of modern radial race tires, you won’t embarrass yourself at a marque-club autocross with them either. Our lap times of 44.7 seconds are respectable and beat the old tires by two-and-a-half ticks.

"Braking revealed the Vredesteins’ biggest advantage— they only needed a little more than 140 feet to stop from 60 mph. Unlike the old Michelins, braking with the Vredesteins was consistent and predictable, with only slight lockup on the front brakes during the last few feet of the test. The Vredesteins also aced our 35-mph emergency lane change, as the Triumph snaked through the left-right-left chicane with no drama whatsoever."

Fwiw my theory (which is mine and should be taken for its full face value) is that the 80 or 75-series 175, 165 or 155 tires should work better than modern low profile rubber—even wider 55 series tires—on any swing axle car. 

Don't get me wrong: modern tires are really better—if the suspension can keep the treads square to the pavement (which modern suspensions mostly can). But when the car starts to jack, a sticky, square-shouldered low profile radial will tilt on its thin edge all at once. I think it's the perfect way to create snap oversteer. 

I think the taller tires' rounded shoulders should break away more gradually and more controllably than modern, better tires, which should allow the car to be driven more expertly.

Again...a theory. I plan to test it when I get the Spyder going. 

Al, I've been speaking to Carey about the Vred Sportrac5 tires, as he has a direct contact at the Tire Rack. The story is that they are available, but not really. In 185/65R15 and 205/60R15 at least. They are produced once in a while in small lots, and there are none available now. That is supposed to change nearer to spring.

The problem is not a lot of demand. Other than Stan, Marty G-to-the-Z, myself, and a small few here there is simply no interest. I've spoken with both Greg at Vintage and Carey at Beck/SE at length. The people that want the best stick are in the minority.

Most people are VERY happy with a touring-type tire.

ALB posted:

No need to explain yourself, Eric; you're looking for 'period correct', while that's not really up there on my list of priorities. My point is that if you're not looking for period correct- these are interesting options. As Uncle Stan says, "it's a big tent with room for all of us". Al

No disrespect intended ALB. Understand you are a very positive commenter here. 

For me The tires on the car do great, Toyo's can hang in the mountains here and the car runs very good for the performance you can get out of these cars. I drive a Lotus Exige as my daily so that car is fully setup for the most corner abilities I can dial in. 

For the 550 I really want something that can do its job, handle very well but I'm willing to sacrifice a little to get a taller and clean sidewall. As I dial the vintage elements in to be authentic to the original, the one thing thats sticking out like a Unibrow on a first date is the modern tires that are two low profile along with words all over them. I desire the purity of the basic blackwall "functional simplicity".

@ericthered- None taken, Eric. These cars mean different things to different people, and therefore each one is built/finished uniquely- and that's a good thing. It allows each of us to be innovative and inventive, and I (as well as many others here) enjoy seeing the sometimes fantastic solutions people come up with that we face building and finishing very similar cars.

And you can call me Al (come on- you know the tune! )

@ericthered I am not familiar with a 5.50-15 but I pulled my conversion chart from Tire Rack and it does show a 5.60-15 and that diameter tire is the same as a 155/80 or a 195/65, both of which fit fine on the back of a Spyder.  HOWEVER, one thing to keep in mind is that these tire sizes seem to be a general guideline.  I can put 3 different brand 155/80s alongside each other and there will be noticeable differences...


As for 4.5 vs 5.5, that's a whole different can of worms...  the 5.5 is fine for the rear of the car IF you have the properly matched offset and axle length.  Unfortunately the standard steel 5.5 wide fives are not available in a wide variety of offsets so they require short axles.  

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