Friday, 28 February 2014

Jaguar E-Type Tyres - the best Tyres for a Jaguar XK-E from Vintage Tyres for Classic Tyres

General Thoughts
The first thing to remember is that with the E-type, Jaguar was revolutionary and pushed the boundaries of what a British car could do in a way not often seen.  They chose partners to work with to develop components that were beyond the competition in order to make the E-type the sensation it was.  When it came to tyres, at this time Jaguar formed a close alliance with Dunlop.  Together they chose the Aquajet, code named CB73, it was “state of the art” and a truly iconic tyre design of the 60s and 70s, and it offered performance for the E-type in excess of the competition.  For this reason, in most cases it is hard to recommend anything beyond a Dunlop for an E-type – they go together like bread and butter, and are usually the best choice, it was after all “the tyre Jaguar chose”; though we also supply direct from the manufacturers Avons, Michelins, Vredeteins and many more.
 For general road use we believe it is a  mistake to “over-tyre” an XKE – whilst it makes sense to fit a 185VR15 radial to your series 1 instead of a the crossplys if you drive your car regularly and prefer it on radials; on any e-type wide or low profile tyres will not only ruin the ride and handling, but will not work so well with the suspension systems and will often foul.

Specific choices
When the series 1 E-type came out, it was fitted with crossply tyres, and if authenticity in both appearance and performance on an early car is important, then there really is only one choice – the Dunlop Roadspeed RS5 was the OE tyre, and is now the only crossply with appropriate performance capabilities for an XKE and is still available today.
When refining the series 2, Dunlop worked closely with Jaguar for development of the CB73 (known as the aquajet thanks to its unique water clearing ducts that “pump” up to a gallon of water a second away from the contact patch).  It was chosen by Jaguar as the best choice radial when the cars were new, and it still is today – still made in the original moulds in England, these days updated with modern compounds and rated V(150mph) for speed thanks to continued development, and thanks to its popularity it can be made in larger batches than the other options, keeping the price competitive. 
It is a similar story when it comes to the series 3 V12 E-type  - Jaguar chose Dunlop to develop the “ER70R15” version of the aquajet, and it remains a supreme choice for these cars today.
There is more information on the Aquajet in a blog post here:
There are other period choices for your series 2- The Avon Turbosteel is a V rated steel belted radial made in the England and a good alternative, while the Pirelli Cinturato is an older design at a higher price than the correct tyre.  The 185HR15 Vredestein is a European made tyre at a good price, whilst owners of US spec cars may wish to fit a white or red band tyre, and the Universal option is the one to go for in these cases as it has a pattern reminiscent of the original equipment tyre.
There are several high performance tyres available for the series 3 – whilst the Dunlop remains the tyre of choice, in the equivalent 205/70VR15 size Avon make the CR28 in England at a great price; the Michelin XWX whilst not an original pattern has high performance, as does the Vredestein, though both of these options are fairly expensive. 
If you race or hillclimb your E-type then the Avon CR6zz is an excellent choice.  Retaining a period tread pattern, the internal design of these tyre by Avon Motorsport is actually very high tech, using modern design elements such as steel breakers and modern compounds to offer excellent performance and grip.  Bear in mind that whilst road legal this tyre is designed primarily for motorsport, and therefore no compromise is made when it comes to longevity and wear.

Series 1

Original Equipment, Only Suitable Crossply, Made in England
Some people prefer to fit a radial these days
Series 2

Original Equipment, Best Appearance, Recently Upgraded and Very High Performance,
Popularity ensures larger volumes so excellent price, Made in England
High performance, period appearance, made in England
Jaguar chose Dunlop
High performance
Later tread pattern (introduced in 70s), more expensive than Dunlop and Avon,
Kerbing Rib
Lower speed rating than some, Later tread pattern, more expenisve than Dunlop and Avon, J
Period appearance
Older design of radial, high price,
Competitive price, Made in Europe (Holland)
Lower speed rating than some
Available with Red or White Band, Appearance
Lower speed rating than some
Series 3

Original Equipment, Best Appearance, Recently Upgraded and Very High Performance,
Popularity ensures larger volumes so excellent price, Made in England
Made in England, High Performance, Good Price
Later tread pattern
High Performance
Later tread pattern
Good performance, Made in Europe (Holland)
Less competive on price than it was,
Period appearance but very high performance for track days and racing as well as road legal
Primarily designed as a race tyre so no compromise made for road use when it comes to wear and longevity

Friday, 21 February 2014

What tyre should I fit to my Jaguar XK - XK120, XK140, XK150?

When considering tyres for your Jaguar XK120, XK140 or XK150 there are plenty of options to consider.  Here are a few thoughts to help you make the right choice.

To summarise:

Crossply or radial?
Crossply tyres offer original specification, looks and performance and lighter handling, but may tramline and wander more than radials.  Radials may make the handling heavier but be more sure footed and closer to your modern car to drive for when you switch to your XK for the weekend!

Crossply choices
Any Jaguar XK would originally have been fitted with Dunlop 600-16 highspeed crossply tyres, and these tyre are still available – The Dunlop Roadspeed RS5.  If authenticity is paramount, this is the tyre to have.  It is also a good choice as it is made in England, and has a high speed rating.  The other crossply tyre to consider would be an Avon Turbospeed; also a period highspeed tyre made in England, it also has the type of tread pattern that an XK would have been fitted at the time.
For race use, the 600-16 Dunlop R5 (not to be confused with the RS5!) is still available – a crossply race tyre that is authentic and still made in England, it is also these days road legal so competitors can drive to the track.  Different competitions have different rules for eligibility – but in those where a crossply tyre is required the best performance comes from a Dunlop.  These days some competitions specify radial options.
Other crossply tyres are available in 600-16, but they are not the best choices for the XK – tyres such as the Waymaster, Avon Tourist, Firestone and Lester have the right dimensions, but are not a suitable speed rating for this sort of car, and are better suited to slower European saloons and American cars from the period.  An XK Jaguar looks right with a crossply that has the sort of pattern of the RS5 or Turbospeed, it would not have had a more aggressive pattern than that for road use and these two are as advanced as crossply tyre design got so offer the best performance of this sort of tyre.

Radial choices

If you choose to fit radials, there is one tyre that stands out..    Avon designed the Turbosteel 185R16 to combine a classic tread pattern with advanced radial technology and high performance, so by choosing this tyre you are getting the best of both worlds.  Not only is it made in England, but its overwhelming popularity enables it to be made in larger production runs, keeping the price lower than the other choices as well.  Vredesteins are a popular choice, as they are a European made tyre with a classic pattern, however Vredestein has increasd the price significantly over recent years, and these tyres have a lower speed rating than some other choices.  Vredestein have sponsored the XK race series for many years.  Michelin’s X has a period radial tread pattern, and tall narrow carcass but its speed rating is lower than appropriate for an XK.  Pirelli’s Cinturato is a period tread pattern with a high speed rating and is popular for its appearance, but it is a less advanced radial than the Avon at a higher price, and this tyre is not E-marked or ECE tested in the way an Avon is.  Michelins Pilote Sport 600R16 is a very high performance tyre, and offers excellent grip, and is popular in races where it is eligible, but at a price.

We have compiled this information into a chart below:
Speed Rating

Period Tyre, Made In England, Suitable Speed Rating, Correct Type of tread pattern

Original Equipment Tyre, Period Tyre, Made In England, Suitable Speed Rating, Correct Type of tread pattern

Period race tyre, best perfoming crossply race tyre
Designed for race use with no compromise so in terms of longevity etc may not be best choice for road

Period tread pattern, classic looks with the best possible performance for an XK – designed by Avon Motorsport in Melksham, Made in England, Its popularity enables larger batches to be produced keeping price lower

Made in Europe (Holland), Good quality, Classic Pattern

Lower speed rating than some other radials, higher price
Period tread pattern, Narrow Carcass

Too low a speed rating for an XK
Period tread pattern, Narrow Carcass, V- speed rating

Price high, older technology radial
Period race-type pattern, highest speed rating, high performance
Higher price, race rather than road tread pattern