Tire ratios for Series 2 FHC Etypes

Hello all,

Am new to Jag ownership, so please excuse my ignorance if this question has been raised or discussed before.

Recently purchased a 1971 FHC Etype (XKE) that came with 7 year old tires on the original wires. They are shod with Mastercraft white line 2015/75 15’s, with decent tread left on them.
Reading comments on tires on here implies that 185 or 205 tires are best on an Etype, and always with a 70 or 65 height ratio. Looking at an online tire comparson chart, it seems the diameter of a 205/75/15 is 27.1", while a 185/70/15 is only 25.2", a significant difference.

Would this be the reason why my front tires rub on the hood insides when braking hard, or on hitting a bump? The right front in particular seems to have caused a rip in the inner wing, and causes the car to pull to the right when hitting a hard bump.

Time for a new set of tires? 205/70/15’s or 185/70/15’s?

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The stock size was 185R15, which had an aspect ratio of 83, much taller than a 185-70

I believe the original size for an S2 was 185/15. That’s a ‘metric’ size which does not specify an aspect ratio but I think it work to be somewhere around 80-82 if it was so labelled.

205/70 would be a close diameter - 185/70 as you note is decidedly smaller.

185HR15 is still available in some easily obtained brands including Vredestein.

How they look…

Not suited to everyone’s taste but what I like.

Those are going to have a diameter of about 26.5", approximately the same as most 205/70-15s.


You do not mention another factor that will have an impact on the choice of tyre - namely the width of your rims. The original wire wheels fitted to these cars had 5" rims. If your car is fitted with 215/75 tyres, I’d be very surprised if they are on 5" rims. Much more likely to be 6" wide. I would check this measurement before going any further - the appropriate place to measure is to the inside face of the rim, so not the easiest thing to do. If you have 6" wide rims, 185R15 (82% aspect ratio) or 205/70R15 are both appropriate and similar diameter. See the archives for lots more discussions on tyre choices.

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185R15 had a diameter of 26.9"

I was referencing the Vreds, the 185s most owners buy.

Just had 185VR15 Vreds put on my S2 FHC and love them. The PO had 205/70 HR15 tires that timed out so I switched to the correct size and it makes the car far more agile and easier to turn at parking speeds.


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David, thanks for this, sorry for the typo, my car has 205/75/15’s fitted, so 27.1" diameter. I was planning to check the rim size before ordering new rubber.

Thanks Andy,
What model Vreds did you put on your Series 2?

Have to ask if the shock absorbers are doing their job or is the ride height incorrect?

Robin, Have wondered that too. No idea how old the shocks are but it might pay to replace them. What is the ride height of a Series 2 meant to be?

It’s in the factory service manual – but ride height is determined by the torsion bars, not the shocks.

I did the same thing…My Michelin 205/70’s had aged out and I was never fully pleased with them. Don’t get me wrong, the Michelins handled extremely well and were incredibly quiet. The 205’s ‘numbed’ the nimble steering that the 185’s deliver. I fitted 185/VR15’s Vred Sprints and I am so pleased with the restored ride. I had Hendrix Wire Wheel true my whees, mount, shave and balance my new tires and the ride is unbelievably smooth. I’m very happy with my wheel/tire investment.

Martin I ordered the Vreds 185VR15 Sprint Classic from Tire Rack and couldn’t be more pleased with them.
You have to have them installed by a tire shop that has the correct cones or they won’t get them balanced correctly just like Brian T said. I bought my own cones from the UK and take them to the tire shop.


Thanks Andy, I might invest in a set myself

How the Vreds look on a S2:

Another tire related question. As I am stripping the wheels down, I notice there is only one 2" wide rubber rim tape/band behind the central nipples, but nothing behind the outer rim ‘edge’ nipples. Is this normal? Any rim tape would likely interfere with the bead or shift inwards if stretched too tight, and possibly inner tube pressure isn’t as great here anyway.
Anyone any experience with this?

I don’t think the nipples near the bead were ever covered like the other line of nipples.