Tires and/or wheels for S3 Turbo Esprit? - LotusTalk - The Lotus Cars Community
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post #1 of 22 (permalink) Old 03-30-2017, 08:44 AM Thread Starter
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Tires and/or wheels for 1987 Turbo Esprit?

Hello!

New member here. Looking for some help with tires, and possibly wheels.

My dad has a 1987 Turbo Esprit. It needs new tires and we're stumped as there do not seem to be any tires available in rear tire size (235/60-15). Has anyone found any?

It seems likely that the best solution may be to get new wheels in 16 or 17 inch diameter. Lots more tires available in those diameters. Has anyone done this?

I know that this car is extremely "picky" about its tires. If anyone has specific recommendation for wheels/tires that have worked well, or equally wheels/tires that were disastrous and to be avoided, I'd love to hear about it.

Thank you!

Last edited by AJ.; 03-30-2017 at 09:27 AM. Reason: corrected model from S3 to 1987
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post #2 of 22 (permalink) Old 03-30-2017, 08:50 AM
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Originally Posted by AJ. View Post
Hello!

New member here. Looking for some help with tires, and possibly wheels.

My dad has a 1987 Turbo Esprit. It needs new tires and we're stumped as there do not seem to be any tires available in rear tire size (235/60-15). Has anyone found any?

It seems likely that the best solution may be to get new wheels in 16 or 17 inch diameter. Lots more tires available in those diameters. Has anyone done this?

I know that this car is extremely "picky" about its tires. If anyone has specific recommendation for wheels/tires that have worked well, or equally wheels/tires that were disastrous and to be avoided, I'd love to hear about it.

Thank you!
Not to put too fine a point on it, but the S3 Esprit and Turbo Esprit are two different cars.

Turbo Esprit: Lotus Type 82. Turbo, aggressive body cladding, some different interior touches.
S3: Lotus Type 85. Non Turbo, different body add ons, different interior touches.

I believe there may be some chassis/suspension differences as well.

Now, that said, they likely have the same tires, and you're right, OEM sizes are truly a pain to try to find. Especially with any kind of performance aspirations. Unless you're an OEM fanatic, you'll likely wind up with more modern wheels.

Owned, loved, enjoyed, and now gone:
1969 Europa S2 Blue
1970 Europa S2 White
1974 Europa Twin Cam Blue
1974 Europa Twin Cam Blue
1984 Turbo Esprit Calypso Red
2005 Elise Starlight Black
2005 Elise Saffron Yellow
2005 Elise Ardent Red
2006 Exige Graphite Grey
2007 Exige Canyon Red

Other:
1970 MGB GT
1970 Datsun 510
1984 Honda CRX Si
1984 Pontiac Fiero
2004 Chrysler Crossfire
2009 Pontiac Solstice Coupe
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post #3 of 22 (permalink) Old 03-30-2017, 09:01 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by 4380r View Post
Not to put too fine a point on it, but the S3 Esprit and Turbo Esprit are two different cars.

Turbo Esprit: Lotus Type 82. Turbo, aggressive body cladding, some different interior touches.
S3: Lotus Type 85. Non Turbo, different body add ons, different interior touches.

I believe there may be some chassis/suspension differences as well.

Now, that said, they likely have the same tires, and you're right, OEM sizes are truly a pain to try to find. Especially with any kind of performance aspirations. Unless you're an OEM fanatic, you'll likely wind up with more modern wheels.
I guess then that the correct name for this car is a "Turbo Esprit HCi"?

Given the lack of tires in 15" diameter, we will probably end up with new wheels. I'm hoping that someone here can help with selecting the right wheels!
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post #4 of 22 (permalink) Old 03-30-2017, 09:52 AM
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Call TireRack.com and talk to the boys
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post #5 of 22 (permalink) Old 03-30-2017, 10:35 AM
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Wheels for Esprit that are reasonably priced are difficult to find.

The G Esprit has 5x120 PCD (BMW pattern), but the rear wheel is ET -20 - that makes it next to impossible to find the correct off-the-shelf wheel without using a adapter.

My late 88 used 17" OZ Futura wheels from an S4s but I also used a 5x108 (Stevens Esprit is different at 5x108 vs. G Esprit 5x120) 50mm rear wheel adapter to keep overall wheel offset as OEM.

If you think finding 15" tires is hard (BTW tirerack.com has correct 15" sizes but they are not same BFG tire model for front/back), the wheels are harder.

Here's an 18" choice but still needs an adapter for the ET -20 rear. No connection or experience, but certainly one option:

Ground Force GF7 18x8/18x9 5x120 Silver Wheels Rims (set of 4) | eBay

Keep in mind G Esprit has smaller front wheel well, so not possible to go too crazy up front.

Eddie B
87 Esprit 'SLEEK GT'
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post #6 of 22 (permalink) Old 03-30-2017, 11:06 AM Thread Starter
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Wheels for Esprit that are reasonably priced are difficult to find.

The G Esprit has 5x120 PCD (BMW pattern), but the rear wheel is ET -20 - that makes it next to impossible to find the correct off-the-shelf wheel without using a adapter.

My late 88 used 17" OZ Futura wheels from an S4s but I also used a 5x108 (Stevens Esprit is different at 5x108 vs. G Esprit 5x120) 50mm rear wheel adapter to keep overall wheel offset as OEM.

If you think finding 15" tires is hard (BTW tirerack.com has correct 15" sizes but they are not same BFG tire model for front/back), the wheels are harder.

Here's an 18" choice but still needs an adapter for the ET -20 rear. No connection or experience, but certainly one option:

Ground Force GF7 18x8/18x9 5x120 Silver Wheels Rims (set of 4) | eBay

Keep in mind G Esprit has smaller front wheel well, so not possible to go too crazy up front.
I just called The Tire Rack, and they told me about the BFG Radial T/A's. They told me that the tires are available in both sizes, but the fronts were special order with a 3 month lead time. I would confirm that the tires are the same model before ordering, so thank you for the warning.

They also told me that the bolt pattern is 5 x 120.65. Maybe the 0.65 is left off the spec

I do know that the stock front wheels are 7" wide and the rears are 8" wide. I'd think it would be important to match that. Sounds like replacing wheels will mean custom manufacture.

Thank you for the help!

Last edited by AJ.; 04-06-2017 at 06:55 AM.
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post #7 of 22 (permalink) Old 03-30-2017, 11:31 AM
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Several have gone to the Vredstien Sportrac 5, although in a 225 rear, to get a V rated tire that matched front to rear. (They also list an H speed rating for that tire)
The Radial T/A's might give a more period look for a gently driven car.

https://www.tires-online.net/tires/c...trac_5/108+205

Tire Rack claimed to have added Vredestien, but only shows a 195/14 H-rated tire in my search. Might be worth a phone call to see what their plans are for stocking/ordering. I bought mine from the above IIRC.

1985 BRG Turbo Esprit
Chargecooled w/Megasquirt EFI

Last edited by snowrx; 03-30-2017 at 11:42 AM.
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post #8 of 22 (permalink) Old 03-30-2017, 11:33 AM
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You can find tires, they just wont match F & R. (Except being round and black, LOL)

Those 235/60R15 rears are the most difficult to find.



Lotus has told owners that a 225/60VR15 rear tire is an acceptable and approved alternate size to the 235s. You can get Vredestein Sportrac5 matched in those F&R sizes if matching is important to you. As an added incentive, they are Giugiaro Design tires, to go along with your Giugiaro Designed car!!!!!!

Details - Vredestein


++++++++++++++++


That said, I tried the smaller rear size and didn't like it. (Car wanted more rear grip, even with higher rear pressures.) I DID find some freshly-manufactured 235/60 Pirelli P600s in December, so I bought those.


Owners who tried the BFG Radial TAs didn't like them, which is why I stayed away from BFG.

Atwell Haines
'88 Esprit
Succasunna, NJ USA


"Not all angels have wings." - Turbo R
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post #9 of 22 (permalink) Old 03-30-2017, 11:34 AM
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5x120 is not the same as 5x120.65

Check out this thread and decide if you're willing to go with the difference;

5x120 vs 5x120.65 - CorvetteForum - Chevrolet Corvette Forum Discussion

Eddie B
87 Esprit 'SLEEK GT'
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post #10 of 22 (permalink) Old 03-30-2017, 12:01 PM Thread Starter
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5x120 is not the same as 5x120.65

Check out this thread and decide if you're willing to go with the difference;

5x120 vs 5x120.65 - CorvetteForum - Chevrolet Corvette Forum Discussion
OK. So which diameter is the bolt pattern on the stock Turbo Esprit wheels?
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post #11 of 22 (permalink) Old 03-30-2017, 12:08 PM
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OK. So which diameter is the bolt pattern on the stock Turbo Esprit wheels?
The information I have is 5x120 for G Esprit and 5x108 for S Esprit.

I have never seen 5x120.65 mentioned for Esprit.

Eddie B
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post #12 of 22 (permalink) Old 03-31-2017, 05:22 AM
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I picked up a set of the V last year and they were at a decent price and in stock.

Price have gone down:

https://www.tires-easy.com/brands/vr...res/sportrac-5

Jonboy

1984 Esprit Turbo "Vivian"
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post #13 of 22 (permalink) Old 03-31-2017, 07:44 AM Thread Starter
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Talking Wheel size for 1987 Lotus Turbo Esprit HCi

I contacted Lotus Technical, and they provided the following information on the wheels for this car.

Front: - 7J x 15. H2ET 23. PCD 120.65. Hub spigot diameter = 70.66 70.71mm
Rear: - 8J x 15. H2ET -20. PCD 120.65. Hub spigot diameter = 70.66 70.71mm
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post #14 of 22 (permalink) Old 03-31-2017, 11:26 AM
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My suspicion is that there is no such thing as a true 120mm bolt circle, it is just a conversion from 4.75 inches. Like a 5.7 litre small-block Chevy.
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post #15 of 22 (permalink) Old 03-31-2017, 12:36 PM
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My suspicion is that there is no such thing as a true 120mm bolt circle, it is just a conversion from 4.75 inches. Like a 5.7 litre small-block Chevy.
Wait! You're saying a G Esprit can use a good old-fashioned 5x4.75 wheel? This would open up the options considerably (except for that G Esprit-only ET -20).

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post #16 of 22 (permalink) Old 04-03-2017, 09:13 PM Thread Starter
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The Tire Rack tells me that 5x120 is the same as 5x120.65. It's just rounded.

Which is even more confusing since it should be rounded to 5x121.
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post #17 of 22 (permalink) Old 04-03-2017, 10:49 PM
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The Tire Rack tells me that 5x120 is the same as 5x120.65. It's just rounded.

Which is even more confusing since it should be rounded to 5x121.
It may be more 'rounded' with 120 vs. 121.

Older Fox-body Mustangs (1979-1993) had '5.0' liter engines that were 4942 cc (should have been 4.9 liter engines).

Go figure ;-)

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post #18 of 22 (permalink) Old 04-06-2017, 03:40 AM
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Call TireRack.com and talk to the boys
Tire Rack adverts the tires but does not carry the 15 inch 235 rears
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post #19 of 22 (permalink) Old 04-06-2017, 03:42 AM
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Pirelli

Pirelli does offer this tire still and I bought them last year and another member also recently bought them. If you get jammed up and cant find them hit me up and I will dig through my receipts. Mine came from California and I believe there are two suppliers currently stocking them. I believe Carbuff bought a set.
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post #20 of 22 (permalink) Old 07-02-2019, 03:24 PM
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I just fitted a set of BBS/BMW 17" Style 42 two piece wheels to my G-car. Fronts bolt right on (with rings) and I used a 50mm 5x120 BMW spacer on the rear and bored out a set of hub-centric rings to match the wheels and adapters to the hubs. These are the most common 17"x8" 20mm offset wheels, fitted to 525i/530i etc. Got them on Ebay for $70-$100 ea. They're a little grubby, but I plan to coat the centers gold someday and did not want to pay a premium for refurbs.

If you want to search longer or spend more there are also matching 7.5" or 9" wide rims available that could give you various staggered rim widths front to rear but the 7.5" (off the Z3/318) has a 41mm offset and you'd need spacers up front as well, and the 9"/26mm was a Sport option and are a bit of a unicorn. The 540i was available with a set of 18x8" & 18x9" Style 42's if you want more alloy than tire......

I went with the narrowest & widest available tires to fit an 8" rim and kept the tire section width differential front to rear, so a Continental Extreme Contact Sport 215/45 up front and a 255/45 in the rear. The rear matches the OEM diameter to maintain speedometer accuracy. I would of liked a 40 series front, but it limited available inexpensive tire sets that matched front to rear.

I think the wheels suit the car, and give it a more modern look.
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1985 BRG Turbo Esprit
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Last edited by snowrx; 07-02-2019 at 07:31 PM.
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