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Wingless Wonder
1988 Esprit Turbo
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Discussion Starter #1
Since tire availability always comes up and it is getting near driving season in the northern hemisphere, I thought I'd start a new Topic and post some new developments that I have seen.

'89 and older turbo Esprits used 235/60-15 and 195/60-15 sizes, and these have been very difficult to find for many years. The bad news is that the smaller, 225 rear Vredestien Sportrac5 tires that had been recommended by many are said to be no longer available, though they are still listed on the US website.

But I'm here to report that Mastercraft Tire (made by Cooper Tires) now offers an all-season, speed rated tire in both the original sizes! The tire model is LSR Grand Touring.

Anyone tried these, or found another brand?
 

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I just bought a set of Sumitomo for my '99 but haven't driven on them yet. They did have the correct, original sizes and the same type front and rear. Better news than for my Delorean. I finally decided to get a set of tires for it too but the news was not as good. I got Michlens for the front and BF Goodrich for the rear to keep the original, correct sizes. We can only expect the situation to get worse in the future as far as tire choices.
David Teitelbaum
 

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Wait a second! Can we stay on the topic of tires which are two sizes for this thread? Pleeeeeeeez?
235/60-15 and 195/60-15

Unless you know something more than I do after the rabbit hole of research I just went down... Sumimoto does not have a product in these sizes.

-Jason
 

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Wingless Wonder
1988 Esprit Turbo
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Discussion Starter #4
David has a '99 V8 with 17"&18" wheels. Less stress! (Didn't say NONE) ?
 

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Wingless Wonder
1988 Esprit Turbo
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Discussion Starter #6
Jason, why don't you try the Mastercraft LSRs? They offer a 45-day tryout, and supposedly lightweight construction. Colin would approve...

45-Day Road Test


The following 45 Day Road Test Warranty covers eligible adjustable conditions only. If you are not satisfied with your replacement Mastercraft Avenger Touring LSR, Mastercraft LSR Grand Touring, Mastercraft Courser HSX Tour, Cooper Zeon RS3-S, RS3-A, or RS-G1 radial tire for any reason, other than the conditions that are listed in the “What Isn’t Covered” section, you may return them to your original dealer within 45 days of purchase for a FREE OF CHARGE Mastercraft or Cooper Zeon brand replacement only, including mounting and balancing. You must present this warranty booklet, proof of purchase, and be the original owner when requesting a replacement or refund.
 

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Premium Member
1987 Lotus Turbo Esprit HCI - Pearl white w/ Blue interior - No mods
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Just to add to the dilemma, here are pictures of my NOS condition (over 10 years old) Goodyear Eagle NCT 235/60/15s I'm itching to use.. ☠?

I know using old tires is foolish, but I really dig the 'old school' big round doughnut tire look of the NCT 60s on 15" wheels. The Pirelli P600 just look a bit more modern and squared. Maybe I'll just use the NCT 60s for a weekend car show. ;)

**The secret to finding NOS Goodyear NCT 235/60/15 = Look for 80s era Jaguar XJ-S spare tires. The Jaguar XJ-S used the same tires.

The BF Goodrich seem to be the closest fit for the original look and size, but the speed rating isn't very impressive.

1259551
1259552
1259553
 

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Project Addicted
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I'm not seeing the 235 option on this list from Matercraft:

Edit: the table didn't come thru after posting.... You have to scroll down and click the "specifications" link near the bottom to see the sizes.

 

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What is the date code on those tires? NCT's haven't been made for over 20 years, maybe more like 30! Anything over 10 is pushing it, most tire manufacturers say 7 is the limit. On a high performance car like a Lotus you do NOT want old tires, they will have NO grip. The Delorean also came with NCT's and they have been unavailable of a LONG time. We only use them for Concours judging. I had a set on my car and it drove like I had round black rocks on the car!
David Teitelbaum
 

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Wingless Wonder
1988 Esprit Turbo
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Discussion Starter #11
What is the date code on those tires?
?
They are so old, they are probably in Roman Numerals. ?

Seriously, I think that there were not date codes on tires that old...
 

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Oh, there were date codes. They were 3 digit codes, not 4 digit like they do now. And they were numeric not Roman, Ha Ha.
David Teitelbaum
 

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My late 88 Esprit in 2011 had date codes of 88 for the front and 90 for the rear tires - Goodyear NCT originals. Changed them immediately. If I recall, the date code was 3 digits - first and second I were the week and 3rd was the year of the decade (assumption is that tires would be used beyond 10 years). I still have my 87 Esprit original Dunlop spare - still mountable but really hard. The tire guy warned me it might shred when removed (to put on a modern tire) - it came off OK, but not sure if it would survive a remount. Keeping it in case someone needs a concours original tire.
 

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When I bought my late 88 Esprit Turbo in 2011, I took high-res (for 2011) pictures of my very first Lotus using a Canon Rebel XT 8Mpixel SLR. These are the 195/60-15 front and 235/60-15 Goodyear NCTs. The date codes were 118 (11th week, 1988) front and 520 (52nd week, 1990) manufacturing codes. Given the wear rates, I believe the rear tires were 2nd set (car had 30K miles in 2011. The seller drove on these tires from 2009-2011 - 19-21 year old tires! His only saving grace was it was a lifelong California car stored in AC/heated garage - the rubber on the car - tires, trim, etc looked 99% new in 2011.

IMG_9966_crop_rear_date_NCT_lotus_esprit_88.jpg
1259801
 

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Here are a few other matched sets that should fit the G-car wheels.

General Altimax RT43
Grand Touring All-Season**
UTQG 600 A A

195/55/15
195/60/15
225/60/15

**I have these RT 43 tires on my daily driver. They’re excellent in the rain, but provide only moderate grip tending to “judder” on hard acceleration in the dry. This may be more a function of modern-day traction control than the tire characteristics, however.

Kuhmo Ecsta LX Platinum
Grand Touring All-Season
UTQG 600 A A

225/60/15
195/55/15

Cooper CS5 Ultra Touring
Grand Touring All-Season
UTQG 640 A A

195/55/15
195/60/15
225/60/15

BF Goodrich Radial T/A
Performance All-Season
UTQG 400 A B

195/60/15
225/60/15
235/60/15

There are also other 15” options that are street legal, but the rear tire diameters are often smaller than the front tire diameters by a few tenths of an inch...and they are, for the most part, crazy expensive...and with really low UTQGs, won’t necessarily last many miles.

However, the following should fit the stock 15” G car rims:

Hankook Ventus R-S4
Extreme Performance Summer
UTQG 200 AA A

245/40/15
225/45/15
195/50/15

BF Goodrich G-Force Rival 1.5
Extreme Performance Summer
UTQG 200 AA A
245/40/15
225/45/15
205/50/15

Yokohama Advan A052
Extreme Performance Summer
UTQG 200 A A

225/50/15
195/50/15
195/55/15
205/50/15

Pirelli P Zero Trofeo R
Streetable Track & Competition
UTQG 60 (that’s “sixty”!) AA A

225/50/15
195/50/15

These are technically coded for Porsche, according to the manufacturer. They’re so track focused, you can get them heat cycled & shaved if you want (from Tire Rack).

Tire Rack even has around ten each of their Pirelli P Zero System tire in stock as of 4 June 2020, which can also be special ordered...for a price, possibly including one of your kidneys (They’re expensive).

Pirelli P Zero System
Max Performance Summer
UTQG 140 A

225/50/15
205/50/15

There are other choices out there but a cursory search finds many tire websites list them as “Out of Stock”. These include American tires, sub-brands from Japan, as well as tires with origin of manufacture in Malaysia, China, Thailand, et al.:

Uniroyal Tiger Paw Touring A/S
Standard Touring Tire

225/60/15
195/60/15

Ohtsu FP 7000*
All-Season Touring
*A Falken co-brand manufactured by Sumitomo

225/50/15
195/50/15

Nankang SP-9
All-Season Touring

225/60/15
195/60:15

Fuzion Touring

225/60/15
195/60/15

Federal Tire SS667

225/60/15
195/60/15

Toyo Eclipse Passenger
All-Season

225/60/15
195/60/15

Toyo Extensa AS All-Season

225/60/15
195/60/15

Maxxis MA-P1
All-Season Performance
UTQG 440 A A

225/60/15
195/60/15

I hope this list proves helpful!
*** I left the Carbuff’s Mastercraft find off the list as they are clearly detailed in his first post. Additionally, the Vredestein Corporate website continues to list the Sportrac 5 in both relevant sizes, but I couldn’t find a “last updated” notation for the page.
 

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If you are going to order these tires you should request the date codes. Ideally they should all be very close in age and certainly not over a year old because you are going to age out the tires long before you wear them out. Unique tires that are not in production or are very special don't turn quickly in inventory so they may vary greatly in dates if they can even provide full sets. I got the Sumo's because they are still in actual production. Another point. Lets say you get a complete set of out of production or limited production tires. What can the dealer do for you if you wind up with a defective one? You may be stuck with having to get one mis-matched tire or replacing the whole set. Trying to collect a full set of out of production tires may be difficult-to-impossible even if you can find one here and one there, of course with varying date codes so some may have over 1/2 their life already gone. Don't let anyone tell you they were stored in their climate controlled warehouse. While the tires may look OK, they aged.
David Teitelbaum
 

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I see no 15" tires on this website for Pirelli P Zero Trofeo R.
 

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I am torn between getting Hankook Ventus R-S4 or Cooper CS5 Ultra Touring. I guess I need to read a couple of reviews regarding these products.
 
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