Tuesday, 12 July 2011

The Vintage Tyre Dilemma - When to reintroduce tyres! by Chris

As a company dedicated to providing authentic- and whenever possible original- products, we are regularly approached by customers eager to find that rare and elusive tyre, such as the original Lotus Elan Dunlop SP Sport or the metric tyre fitted to some of the later Jaguar XJ range. Luckily in most cases we can supply it off the shelf or at the very least have a good alternative, however there are some rare times when a solution simply doesn’t exist, and that’s when our dilemma kicks in - should we commission new production? We’ve been here many times before and will undoubtedly visit many times in the future, our successes are fitted to classic cars and bikes all over the world, from the original 1948 Landrover tyre, to the tiny 8” tyre used on WW2 Corgi Paratrooper bikes so we are no strangers to the problem.

Our current dilemma is the Dunlop SP44 “Weathermaster”; in particular the small 10” diameter tyre that was offered by Dunlop in the 70’s for rally Minis, originally in a 145R10 and later in the larger 165/70R10. That’s the first problem- if were going to get it made, which size? Tyre moulds and specialist tyre building equipment can easily set you back £20k so it’s important to get it right. How many could we actually sell? The conversation usually goes something like this…..”I’m looking for the original Dunlop tyre for my 1905 Alldays and Onions, oh! You haven’t got one in stock? I am surprised; can you get them made? I’m sure you’d sell thousands of them!”

This is really when the work starts, letters, editorials, advertisement and endless research all with the aim of assessing the demand, and of course the correct specification, because it’s unlikely that a mould drawing still exists. But with time and a well polished crystal ball a true picture will emerge, and then all that remains is the job of persuading a mainstream manufacturer that it will be worth their while making the commitment for perhaps 250 tyres,

So if you’re interested in Dunlop SP 44’s please let us know, we’d love to hear from you. It is our mission to maintain the most complete range of classic tyres in the world, so if there is anything you are in need of get in contact. If there is a demand, we may be able to have it made! Our number is 0044 1590 612261, or email us on sales@vintagetyres.com.