XK Jaguar Tyres

Why do we need another article about XK Jaguar tyres? Surely everything that could be said about tyres for these 1950s sports cars has already been said over the 70 years of their existence – or has it?

Well things change. So hopefully I will be able to shine a little light on these changes.

Crossply tyres

Dunlop, until 2014, manufactured the 6.00-16 RS5. The RoadSpeed tyre evolved to become the RS5 by 1959 and was fitted to the XK150. Back in the early days of XK racing, the Dunlop Racing option was the R1. Then, in 1958, Dunlop developed the R5 racing tyres. Having recently read Duncan Hamilton’s book Touch Wood he comments on what an improvement the R5 made to directional stability at high speeds.

Jaguar had a long-standing relationship with Dunlop, as a proactive developer of tyre technology – also helped by their location. It is a shame that Dunlop no longer make any historic road tyres. The RS5 is no longer produced. However, the Dunlop Racing 6.00-16 R5 is road legal and has an H speed rating. Avon currently offer a 6.00-16 TurboSpeed crossply tyre, which is a sports car tyre that was often offered as the standard crossply tyre with David Browns Aston Martins, if you didn’t want to upgrade to radial.

There is a selection of alternative tyres out there, but until recently these were the only tyres from a top brand worth considering for a fast car like an XK Jaguar. The recent development in this crossply tyre size has been the reintroduction of Pirelli’s Stella Bianca. In tyre production, no tyre can be the same as it was in the 1940s, because the laws about the materials and compounds used to build tyres has changed. Today’s tread compounds are far cleverer at moving water out of the way and the build quality of a modern tyre factory (especially a company like Pirelli) is far superior to what would be expected in the 1980s, let alone the 1940s. In 2018, Pirelli produced three diff