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8 & 10 cyl Bristol cars Type 407 onwards - restoration, repair, maintenance etc

Wheels and Tyres questions: planning for replacements

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Old 26-05-21, 03:41 PM
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Default Wheels and Tyres questions: planning for replacements

This is very preliminary, as I won't make any changes for months yet, but I am looking for advice and opinions on wheels and tyres for a 408 Mk1.

Currently the car has its original 16" wheels and hubcaps shod with Michelin 185R16 tyres with tubes. The tyres look fine but are years past their reasonable lifespan and should be replaced.

I could just replace the tyres with others sized to fit the stock wheels (Michelin, Vredestein, etc.) but they do look a bit skinny. I don't think I can go for much wider tyres beacuse of a) the wheel arch inner lips and b) the low speed steering effort (no power steering). I am not keen on tubed tyres either as when they deflate, the tend to deflate fast.

So, if I want to go slightly wider and ditch the tubes, I am thinking something like 205/75R15 on new 15" wheels with 5.5" rim-to rim and 46mm offset. I can buy one wheel to test the fit if need be. I also want something that looks the right and that seems to rule out most alloy or chromed aftermarket wheels.

I have read about the 16" MB wheels Stefano Pasini fitted to his 409 and a comment that LJK Setright ran 205/70R15 on 6" wide Minilites with some rubbing.

What are others folks running on their V8s that I should perhaps consider? Any experience or opinions would be much appreciated.

Thanks

David
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Old 26-05-21, 04:46 PM
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I'm on 15's so not a lot of help (!) and went with Avon Turbosteel 185/80R15 93V. I really like them, they have excellent feel and have been great in downpours as well as the dry.
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Old 26-05-21, 04:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AndrewA View Post
I'm on 15's so not a lot of help (!) and went with Avon Turbosteel 185/80R15 93V. I really like them, they have excellent feel and have been great in downpours as well as the dry.
No, that IS helpful. Thank you. I am seriously considering going to 15" wheels.

David
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Old 26-05-21, 05:51 PM
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I've run my 409 PAS on 15" alloy rims for many years. The 112mm PCD on Bristol hubs made before the 410 is the same as used by Audi and Mercedes. This means plenty of 15 and 16 inch rims in steel or alloy in a variety of widths and offsets. I use 205 Bridgestones on Audi 200 flat disc wheels but you may need something narrower without the benefit of my power steering. Stud thread is an awkward BSF 9/16ths but thankfully same as early Land Rovers when you need to find new nuts. Check that the handbrake mechanism safely clears the inside rim if you go to 15", especially in reverse!!
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Old 26-05-21, 06:05 PM
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Dunlop Sport Classic in 215/70VR15 (there’s a 205/70, too).
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Old 26-05-21, 06:12 PM
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I fitted tubeless tyres to my original 403 steel wheels and they keep pressure better than the alloys on my other cars.
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Old 27-05-21, 11:13 AM
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Just a warning in selecting a suitable wheel tyre combination be sure it will fit in the storage area in the front guard. I have 215/70/15 tyres on 6 inch rims on my 411 mk 2 and it is very difficult to get them to fit under the guard. I have 185/16 tyres on my 403 and they wont fit in the storage locker at all.
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Old 27-05-21, 07:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Rolfs View Post
I've run my 409 PAS on 15" alloy rims for many years. The 112mm PCD on Bristol hubs made before the 410 is the same as used by Audi and Mercedes. This means plenty of 15 and 16 inch rims in steel or alloy in a variety of widths and offsets. I use 205 Bridgestones on Audi 200 flat disc wheels but you may need something narrower without the benefit of my power steering. Stud thread is an awkward BSF 9/16ths but thankfully same as early Land Rovers when you need to find new nuts. Check that the handbrake mechanism safely clears the inside rim if you go to 15", especially in reverse!!
Thank you, John. May I ask what the profile is on your 205s? 70 or 75?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Philip View Post
Dunlop Sport Classic in 215/70VR15 (there’s a 205/70, too).
Thank you, Philip.

Quote:
Originally Posted by peterg View Post
I fitted tubeless tyres to my original 403 steel wheels and they keep pressure better than the alloys on my other cars.
That's good to know, Peter. Gives me hope if I end up keeping the factory wheels.

Quote:
Originally Posted by peter dowdle View Post
Just a warning in selecting a suitable wheel tyre combination be sure it will fit in the storage area in the front guard. I have 215/70/15 tyres on 6 inch rims on my 411 mk 2 and it is very difficult to get them to fit under the guard. I have 185/16 tyres on my 403 and they wont fit in the storage locker at all.
Peter, thanks. I hadn't thought of that potential fit issue.

Anybody else want to chip in what tyres/wheels they have on their V8s?

David
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Old 29-05-21, 05:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dwomby View Post

Anybody else want to chip in what tyres/wheels they have on their V8s?

David
For what it's worth I have Avon Turbospeed 215/70/15 on my 411 on Avon Safety Wheels which I believe are 6" wide. But that's not any help to you.

Do you have a copy of A Private Car by Leonard Setright? He has a bit to say about wheels and tyres on the Bristol V8s. He raved about the improvement 15" Minilite wheels made to the handling of a 409, with 205/70VR15 tyres (he said he couldn't recall whether the rims were 6" or 6.5" wide). The only problem he found with this combination was that when fully laden in vertical corners, the tyres fouled the inside of the wheel arches at full bump.

He said that this wheel and tyre combination could not be put on a 410, but unfortunately didn't say whether they would fit on a 408!
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Old 29-05-21, 03:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin H View Post
For what it's worth I have Avon Turbospeed 215/70/15 on my 411 on Avon Safety Wheels which I believe are 6" wide. But that's not any help to you.

Do you have a copy of A Private Car by Leonard Setright? He has a bit to say about wheels and tyres on the Bristol V8s. He raved about the improvement 15" Minilite wheels made to the handling of a 409, with 205/70VR15 tyres (he said he couldn't recall whether the rims were 6" or 6.5" wide). The only problem he found with this combination was that when fully laden in vertical corners, the tyres fouled the inside of the wheel arches at full bump.

He said that this wheel and tyre combination could not be put on a 410, but unfortunately didn't say whether they would fit on a 408!
Thanks, Kevin. Any and all info. is appreciated and I am not sure that your 411 setup couldn't be made to work on my 408. Your tyres are even wider than Setright's yet do not rub. Maybe the inner lip of the fender has been changed in later models to provide more clearance? I keep coming across this photo which is labelled 408 and seems to be dated 1973. It has Minilites and I wonder what sizes the wheels and tyres are. Or even if this may be Setright's 409? https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikiped...photo_1973.jpg

David
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Old 30-05-21, 01:40 PM
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The 205/70x15 tyres have the same rolling diameter as the 6.00x16 original crossplies, but with much more grip and a smoother ride. The 70 profile tyres also come in 215 and 225 sizes. The wheels are 6J width (6 inches). No problem with arches clearance. I have a set of 8J Ronals that look like Minilites but I don't think they will fit without some mods or lock restrictions.
Hubs from the 410 onward use a larger Point Circle Diameter (PCD) similar to period Jaguars. BMW rims are fractionally smaller at 120 mm PCD but can be adapted.
When changing rims, take care that the taper profile of the nut matches the seat in the wheel. The wrong angle can reduce the contact area and lead to cracking.
Steel rims can be altered to hold the original hub caps and retain appearance.
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Old 31-05-21, 02:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Rolfs View Post
The 205/70x15 tyres have the same rolling diameter as the 6.00x16 original crossplies, but with much more grip and a smoother ride. The 70 profile tyres also come in 215 and 225 sizes. The wheels are 6J width (6 inches). No problem with arches clearance. I have a set of 8J Ronals that look like Minilites but I don't think they will fit without some mods or lock restrictions.
Hubs from the 410 onward use a larger Point Circle Diameter (PCD) similar to period Jaguars. BMW rims are fractionally smaller at 120 mm PCD but can be adapted.
When changing rims, take care that the taper profile of the nut matches the seat in the wheel. The wrong angle can reduce the contact area and lead to cracking.
Steel rims can be altered to hold the original hub caps and retain appearance.
Thanks, John. I hadn't realized about the nut taper issue. I appreciate that warning.

David
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Old 31-05-21, 10:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dwomby View Post
I keep coming across this photo which is labelled 408 and seems to be dated 1973. It has Minilites and I wonder what sizes the wheels and tyres are. Or even if this may be Setright's 409? https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikiped...photo_1973.jpg
I'm pretty sure that is a 409 so may be Setright's.

My 410 is on 205/70 R15 Blockleys, on the original wheels. The Blockley radials seem to have quite soft sidewalls; ride is improved, but handling is not as precise as it used to be on Falken 215/70s that I can't get any more.

I have a spare set of 411 wheels, but I don't think they fit a 410 without changing the hubs also.
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Old 31-05-21, 10:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sam410 View Post
I'm pretty sure that is a 409 so may be Setright's.

My 410 is on 205/70 R15 Blockleys, on the original wheels. The Blockley radials seem to have quite soft sidewalls; ride is improved, but handling is not as precise as it used to be on Falken 215/70s that I can't get any more.

I have a spare set of 411 wheels, but I don't think they fit a 410 without changing the hubs also.

Thanks for the info.. I've never heard of Blockley before. Probably not sold here in the US. I agree, the 411 wheels won't fit as the bolt spacing is different.

David
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