@DannyP wrote something very true this morning while we were discussing tires in the Spyder section of this site. He said:
... 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.
I just had a "chat" with Amelia from Vulcan Tire in Utah, echoing what Danny is saying. Vulcan Tire has a full listing for the Sportrac 5s on their site, and the pricing is pretty good (<$80/tire). But like everywhere else, they show limited availability-- they have (or can get) 4 of the 205/60R15s available, but only 1 of the 185/65R15s (his sizes), and only one 195/60R15 (mine). These 3 sizes would satisfy most of us.
As I see it, the problem is with Vredestein USA (the importer). I don't think anybody stocks many of these (not TireRack, not Vulcan Tire, nobody)-- they just drop ship out of the importer's warehouse, and the importer never has anything. It's a viscous cycle-- they don't sell them because they don't have them, and they don't have them because nobody buys them.
There is a way out of this. 16 tires is enough to have Vulcan Tire make a direct buy with Vredestein Holland (the manufacturer). That's only 4 sets.
It has me thinking...