Editor’s note: back in the December issue Bruce posted an article about finding a specific size tire for his BJ8. Following is the latest on what has transpired.
I recently wrote about my inability to locate any 195/70 x 15 passenger car tires (small truck tires in this size can be found). My BJ8 and many others wear (wore) this tire on 5.5 or 6" rims. Goodyear was the maker of this Eagle GT+4 performance tire, and it is no longer in production in this size.
It is (was) a great tire and is the same diameter as the original 590x15. No one makes this size in a passenger tire.
My prior article received but one response, from the very knowledgeable Ken Rocke. Ken, agrees that most Healeys have tires on them that are significantly "shorter" than the original 590x15 (and may not have a high enough load rating).
Especially on the BJ-8s they do not visually fill the wheel wells, lessen the already minimal road clearance, and make the engine run at higher RPM than was originally intended. Ken's solution is to use a Michelin 180x15 XAS, originally produced in 1965 specifically for Citroen. It was developed with an asymetric tread specifically for the Citroen suspension (at least that is what they want you to believe). I agree with Ken that this tire is the correct height, of reasonable width, and is a viable solution. It is quite pricey. The 185x15 XAS (not to be confused with the 180x15) was commonplace for years as a high performance replacement tire for Triumphs and E-Type Jags that came originally with this size. (My former company sold this tire and it was always considered high quality.) I am not quite ready to purchase the 180x15 XAS, but I truly see no other solution. Some of my hesitancy is that this tire requires a tube--I have been running tubeless since we first introduced the tubeless sealing on the wire wheels.
I don't particularly wish to go back to tube-type tires, nor to 1965 technology--but I see no other solution at this time, and after all it is a 1966 BJ-8.
The common alternatives: 165x15 tire is small both in width and diameter, and possibly load rating. The 185/70x15 tire is also too short, and a 205/65x15 tire, although the proper height, is too wide. Fortunately, I've got time to sleep on it. Please email me (KHillside@hotmail.com) if you've got any ideas.