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Radial tire recommendations


Billy Shears
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I am looking at getting a lot done to my Avanti this year (paint, interior, etc.), and new tires. Some time ago, I acquired a set of four brand new Ford 1997 Crown Victoria wheels, and had then powdercoated white like the original Stude wheels. (I also acquired the Ford lug nuts, which are needed for this). The rims are 15x6 1/2in. Has anybody here got any radial tire recommendations? I plan to drive this car a lot -- not a daily driver, but whenever the weather is good. Ideally, I'd like tires with a good speed rating and grip, as the car has the supercharger, it's been bored out to 302, has R3 valves, etc. and although I'm not going to be throwing it all over the road, I don't intend to let all that horsepower go entirely to waste either.

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You won't find many 15" tires with the best ratings anymore...tire makers put their best tire technology into 16" and larger now. 15" tires are pretty much treated as step-children of tire technology now.

That being said, you can find some pretty decent tires but won't have the ratings of the larger high-performance tires modern cars use. The closest size to the original 6.70-15 would be a P205/75R15...but good luck finding any. They're pretty much obsolete now and few, if any, are being made. Your best bet is either a P215/75R15 or P215/70R15. There's a pretty good selection of them, though they may not be a stocking number for many dealers.

My own experience is with Cooper tires. I have a '69 Corvette with Cooper P215/70R15 touring tires with white stripe...excellent wear ratings and very good traction rating. On my Avanti I have Cooper Cobra P215/70R15 redline tires (available through Diamondback Tires).

There are other brands available in that size but pickings are getting fewer. BF Goodrich has them and Pep Boys sells them in their Futura line which is made for them by Cooper.

You can also check Tire Rack on line and see what's available.

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I think I see the tires you mean in the Diamondback catalog. They might do nicely. Better still would be the ones on the page before them -- H speed rated, but only available in sizes 205/70/R15, and 225/70/R15, which neatly brackets, but does not hit the size I need. Damn their eyes. 70 might be too low an aspect ratio to be ideal for a 205, and 225 might be too wide. I wonder.

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One potential issue is your car's coil springs in the front. If they're sagging, which is not at all uncommon, there might be some rubbing on the bottom of the wheel arch. The 6" wide rims exacerbate that. When I had a '63 Avanti I put a set of 6" wide rims with P205/75R15 tires and whenever the car bottomed out on a local road I could hear the tires hit the body. New coil springs fixed that.

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I have had very good experience with local Discount Tire. They can find most anything I need. Personally I would not worry about speed, wear, safety, or reliability. You won't drive the Avanti that way, or that much. I have a 1968 AMX with 14 inch Cragar Magnum 500 wheels. They had tires that fit for $38 each. BTW new, modern tires make a difference in steering and ride.

Edited by dapy
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The Maxxis MA-1 is a white wall, available in the right size, and with the same speed rating as the Goodyear Assurance. I've not read any reviews on it though. They're Chinese tires aimed at the lower end of the market, so I'm a bit leery of them however. Cooper and Coker American Classic also produce white walls, IIRC. BF Goodrich T/A radials are also available in the right size, but have raised white lettering instead of a white sidewall stripe. I'm not sure about that. That seems more at home on a muscle car, and the Avanti is more in the style of a European Grand Touring car.

Edited by Billy Shears
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Cooper does make whitewalls in the sizes to fit an Avanti. Since Cooper makes much of Pep Boys house brand tires they may be available from them as well. It takes some checking but there are a number of whitewall tires still being produced. They may not be stocking items but are available.

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