185 (OEM) Series vs 205 Series Tire?

(Charles) #1

Howdy Jag Lovers
New member here. Looking forward to learning so much from the site & you kind folks.
I have done a bit of reading on tyres/tires but have not seen too much on what the EType feels like/handles with the above options. I will have to change all tires soon so wondered what your thoughts are. Skinny(185) for original equipment style or 205 for a wider stance ?
Thanks much.

(67 OTS S1) #2

Welcome! I’ll weigh in and tell you its all about personal choice. There are lots of posts about the original feel of the car, authenticity and restomods. I’ve fitted my car for what I consider better handling with upgraded suspension parts, 6 inch wheels and 205/70 Michelin XWX tires. But beware, the wider tires on a car without power steering can be a bear to park and make slow turns. I ended up putting in electric PS.

My suggestion is to find some local jag owners and test drive their cars. I’m in the DC area if you’re close

(67 OTS S1) #3

PS While I drove for years with the original wheels some believe that you need a 6 inch wheel for a 205 width tire to sit properly

(L.Lynn '68 OTS, '73 2+2) #4

Welcome Charles,
I suspect that most of what you’ll hear from us is a matter of opinion and I’ll share mine as well. The first thing I would do if I were you would be to visit gatherings of the faithful and see how the cars look with the various tire set ups then you may have a better feeling about the look you want to have with your car.
I’m on my second set of tires with my '68 and getting very close to the third, I started out with 205 Pirelli P4000’s (on 6" wide wheels) as I wanted the fuller wheel well appearance. The second and current set are Vredstein 185’s, I have decided that I like these tires/appearance better and I seldom drive when the weather is cold enough for their summer composition to be a concern. There are other options out there including Michelin’s from Longstone Tires in England in the 185 size and they are well thought of.
My next set? Likely going to be Vredsteins again in the 185 size as I like their appearance better than the bigger tires. YMMV

(LLoyd (just a rithmetician)) #5

Ha! Can of worms!! Pandora’s box!!

But first…let me pass along a warning. In the old days, in order to compensate from the over-steer of low speeds and big engines, we put one size wider tires on the rear of the car . DON’T DO THAT on your E. It is as perfectly balanced as it is.Use same size tires all around.

As for type/size tires, first you must define what it is you want to do with the car. Trips/cruises/autocross/off road mud wrestling? Then look into tires.

For myself, I have been running 205/65’s for some time, and have the speedometer/odometer recalibrated for them.


Politics is perhaps the only profession for which no preparation is thought necessary.

Robert Louis Stevenson

(Charles) #6

Thanks for the responses. I’m on an island in the Pacific NW so about as far as one can get from DC, but thanks for the offer. The car does not have PS so I may have to stick to the stock wheels. Although the original owner appears to have been fond of curbs. They do have a bit of rash on the right side.

(ajdell) #7

I have Michelin 205’s and they do give a wider stance. But they also rub the rubber guards under the bonnet and turning at slow speed is more difficult. Will be going with 185 Vredestein this spring.

(69 FHC ) #8

In my idle moments I put together a spread sheet utilizing data published by Tire Rack and the tire manufacturers shows which 205/70-15 tires will fit a 5" wide wheel rim. I also included the data for Vredstein 185-15 tires for reference. This is manufacturer data, not generic third party data.

Caveat: What this spreadsheet will not tell you is how the different tires handle, feel, ride or wear. Nor will it tell you the optimum wheel width for each tire. It simply shows what will physically fit.

FWIW I have 205/70-15 Dunlops on my car with 6" Dayton wire wheels. I’m happy with them and I have no problem turning the steering wheel at low speeds; even with my Olive Oyl arms.

(Longstone) #9

The 185VR15 Pirelli Cinturato or Michelin XVS is the tyre of choice if money is not the determining factor when choosing a tyre for an early XKE
However all the other decent options are on here https://www.longstonetyres.co.uk/classic-car-tyres/jaguar/e-type.html including some cheaper ones
The Pirelli is the only radial tyre that is currently being made that was available when a MK1 xke was new. So it is the closest you can get to original. the handling is also superb. The only thing that comes close is the XVS

You might like the hare and tortoise film on here as well https://www.cinturato.net/

a lot of people do like the wheel arches filling more like the later V12 cars which is a reason to fit 205/70R15. There are plenty of options for that size on our e-type page too. As far as handling goes. the handling will be more precise and quicker and more progressive on a 185. where the 205 will give you improved stopping in a straight line and less wheel spin. you will find all sorts of opinions on this. but i would say if you like the fuller wheel arches that is a reason to look into a 205/70 but i would strongly recommend fitting a period tyre which will mean it will diminish the derogatory effects of over sized tyre. but for me it would be the 185. when we fit people back on 185 tyres from bigger tyres. they love it.

I guess it is worth pointing out that when 205/70VR15 tyres (or ER/70R15 if you like) became available in 1968 Jaguar did fit them to the XJ6. they could have fitted them to the XKE but there extensive testing told them to stick to 185

(Erica Moss) #10

If I was running original 5" wheels I’d definitely use the skinnier tire. As it is I’m running 6" and 205s are the right option. But they do result in a heavier steering feel especially trying to turn in place. I always creep forward or back when turning because it feels like I might break something.

(Longstone) #11

I would definitely still fit 185VR15 the standard recommendation is 4.5 - 6" wide for a 185R15 tyre

If fact the Ferrari 250 GT Lusso in period fitted 185VR15 Pirelli Cinturato fitted to even wider 6.5" Borrani wheels, https://www.borrani.com/ferrari-wheels/250-gt-lusso.html we sold a set recently.

I would think putting 185Vr15 tyre on a 6" wheel will give you some of that fuller wheel arch look while not spoiling the handling by putting too much rubber on the road.

(Robert Thomas 68 FHC ) #12

I was curious about your thoughts about the XVS-P, which has the raised rib to provide curb protection for the rims. I have a set of 5” Borrani alloy wire rim that I’m thinking might benefit from the P. However I’m wondering if some of the esthetic appeal may be offset by the raised lip on the P ?

Also, I’m aware that the P carries a lower speed rating but I see that as a nonissue as it’s a street car.

Thanks in advance

(Erica Moss) #13

Would it not lower the ride height since it would spread the tire more being on 6" wheels? I’m using 205/70s now and it seems just about right height wise.

(Michael Garcia) #14

The sky is pretty much the limit when it comes to the width of tires,
with modified suspention
extended lug studs
and spacers…
how a person drives
has more to do with it
then anything

l have 315 / 60’s on a stock
15" wheel, probably 7" wide
on the back of a Ford
Crown Victoria and it handles fine,
but l drive it like a limo…

(Pekka T.) #15

185 on 6 cyl and 205 on 12 cyl cars. It really is that easy. :slight_smile:


(Carl Hutchins, Jr. ) #16

Kibitz here:

  1. Twas many years before I got a car with power steering!! And, early on, I was taught to roll the car a bit when seeking to turn the wheels at parking or similar.

I’ve continued that practice, including my PS equipped cars.


An elegant use of a the spread sheet program. I credit one to entice me in to the PC world decades ago. when I became an entrepreneur I made good use of them. Including a Service Invoice.

My Libre program still mystifies me as to SS’s. but, I’ve not attacked with vigor…!!

The “tech from Microsoft” just called !!! GRRRR!!

Carl .

(Mark Gordon) #17

Absolutely, Carl. Even if you have PS, you should avoid turning the wheels with the car stationary if you can avoid it. Letting the car roll while turning decreases tire wear and strain on the steering mechanism. While on the subject of PS, I was taught that turning to full lock puts a strain on the PS pump as evidenced by the whining protest it makes at full lock. Releasing pressure very slightly eliminates the whining noise and strain while maintaining virtually the same turning radius.

(Longstone) #18

bobgthomasRobert Thomas 68 FHC



I was curious about your thoughts about the XVS-P, which has the raised rib to provide curb protection for the rims. I have a set of 5” Borrani alloy wire rim that I’m thinking might benefit from the P. However I’m wondering if some of the esthetic appeal may be offset by the raised lip on the P ?

Also, I’m aware that the P carries a lower speed rating but I see that as a nonissue as it’s a street car.

Thanks in advance

Hi Robert

I think the XVS is a great tyre. they make 2 The one you are talking about with an H speed rating https://www.longstonetyres.co.uk/classic-car-tyres/jaguar/e-type/185hr15-michelin-xvs-p.html is a bit more Citroen DS.

However they make a V rated 185VR15 XVS https://www.longstonetyres.co.uk/classic-car-tyres/jaguar/e-type/185vr15-michelin-xvs.html

as a rough rule of thumb the largest recommended rim width is about an inch wider than the widest part of the tyre will be on the optimum rim width. When you put a tyre on a wider rim it does make the tyre vary marginally wider. really not much though. but it may make the widest point of the tyre at a different height up the side wall.

Wider rims don’t change the heighth of a tyre.

(LLoyd (just a rithmetician)) #19

“P” simply means passenger rated. It refers to loading.

As long as you don’t try to stuff four fat people and three hundred pounds of luggage in to it, you will most likely be OK>


Politics is perhaps the only profession for which no preparation is thought necessary.

Robert Louis Stevenson

(Longstone) #20

No the P is to tell you that it has a raised curbing band on one side. the P is for Protection. But unless you have them fitted to extremely wide wheels I’m not sure how much help they will be.

i personally would rather fit the V rated sports car tyre. However i guess the XVS-P is still H rated. and still has the benefits of the XVS carcass, which are ace. I’d still have the V rated.

I have been in an e-type fitted with Borrani wheels and XVS tyres that we had on the shelf when a customer came in. he had a very powerful beautiful e-type with some larger tyres on. i explained how much nicer it would be with the 185 tyres instead of wider tyres and more modern carcasses. He was not convinced. he had fallen into the same trap so many people get stuck in, where they think wider is better. We took the car for a spank down the road, and gave it some welly round my favorite local roads. he was so impressed by how much nicer it drove that he bought t he wheels as well. Im afraid it turned into an expensive day for him. However afterwards his car looked better and was much nicer to drive. I’m not just talking about lighter steering, im talking about the way it feels when you drive it fast round the bends.