Tire sizes...again

I understand that my 1970 etype was originally fitted with 185-15 tires…no aspect ratio. I see reference to the current 185 70r 15 tire size (for original 5” wide rims) and 205 70r 15 for cars retrofitted with 6” rims…not recommended for the original 5” rims. 185 70r 15 seem like special order tires. I see 195 70r 15 (only about 0.4” wider and about 0.3” taller) as a more standard/available tire. Any experience with this size? It seems like it should fit and have a very similar look and handling as the original 185-15.

The 205/70 -15 is the most common tire size used on E Types, after, or maybe before the 185-15. Every one I looked at on Tire Rack can be mounted on a 5" rim. Their rolling diameter most approximates the 185 - 15 so no re calibration of your speedo is needed. You may have to remove the rubber bump stops to get them to fit, but everybody does. I run 205/70’s Michelin Harmony tires on my coupe over the winter with 5" rims. Works great.

As I understand it, back in the day if no aspect ratio is given, the default is 78.

78, not 80? Or is 80 just 78 rounded up?

If that is your objective then why not just get 185/15s?

They are not as numerous but they are readily available both locally and online in styles and manufacturers that many have had good results with.

Michael, The 185x70 tires are approximately 1.5" smaller in diameter then the original size and does not fill the wheel well as the 185 tire did… Look up Lucas Tire and you’ll find that the proper size tire is available from Vredestein and others.

Pretty sure it was 78. I have no idea how somebody arrived at that number.

Making 2 assumptions: 1-that 185-15 tires are correct original and 2-205 70r 15 are a substitute with the same height/circumference-and then assuming the heights/circumferences are identical…you can calculate the 205 sidewall height of 143.5 and the calculate that this is 0.78 of 185. So in modern size, it would be 185 78r 15.
I know original-sized tires exist, but are expensive and their speed rating low. So my question is what about a tire less wide than 205 (which requires rubber stopper removal) that is similar? Has anyone tried a 195 70r 15?? Only 10mm (0.4”) wider and less than 2mm taller??

Vredestein are 185R15 and are now rated VR. Not expense and the correct speed rating…

Did the E-type come off the showroom floor shod with radials? Because not many performance cars of that day did – at least not American performance cars. I recall seeing E-types of the day with Michelin radials, Michelin being just about the only outfit offering radials in the US early on. But I dunno if that’s what came on them.

Might as well post a link:


Yep, Just mounted up a set of the new VR rated Vredesteins, very pleased with both the look and feel on the 63’ coupe. JS

I would encourage you to fit a classic tyre on your e type https://www.longstonetyres.co.uk/classic-car-tyres/jaguar/e-type.html they look better, but more importantly they make the car drive much better, and it is the drive that is the important bit.

i realise the Vredestein is attractive because of it’s price, and i guess if you are not intending to drive it much, what the heck, but the Pirelli Cinturato or the Michelin XVS will give the better driving experience. you would only buy t he Vredestein because of its price.

The OP did express a concern about expense so the Vreds would seem an ideal choice.

I drive the E-Type a lot and am on my second set of Vreds in the 185/15. I have been quite satisfied with them (though admittedly I have not driven on Pirellis or Michelins in many years).

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well i believe you have a treat in store for you

While most owners have wire wheels of various widths, some have disc wheels, as I do (“fake” mini-lites). The offset matters as my 205/70’s fit just fine, but the steering is heavy, as the advocates of the 185’s often warn about. The offset is different because you don’t need to slide the wheel over a long hub to remove the wheel. This gives me a wider track, a different offset and changes other things in subtle ways.

since the Vred Summer Classic is mentioned a few times…it is a SUMMER tire…so if you are where it is cold…below freeze…look up what that means…it does mean SUMMER…even when parked…!! No need to argue here…just look it up. Nick

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Do y’all’s wire wheels require inner tubes? Because last I heard, inner tubes negate the speed ratings on tires.

Waaaay back when, I heard that the trick to fitting wider wheels on the E-type was to remove the bump stops inside the rear wheel wells, and instead install bump stops on the shocks themselves.

In many states in the US, it is illegal to drive a car with summer tires in winter conditions. That’s why so many popular tires are rated “all season”.