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Feb 1, 2002
Falls Church, Va
1972 Coupe ZZ4 / 4 Speed
I am looking for options on tires for a '72 coupe. My Dunlop GT Qualifiers (245/60/15) are dry rotted and in need of replacement. I've seen sharks at the Vette dealer with 255/60/15's on them.

So my questions are:

What sizes to people use and why?

Which brands are best?

and perhaps the most complicated question...

How much air? (The owners manual states tire pressures for F70 tires, but not newer sizes)


I Put BF Goodrich 255/60/15's all 4 corners on my 69. They have given the car a much beefier looking profile, and of course put more meat on the road surface. They work for me.

If you decide on 255's or up, I have some important advice.
Dont ask how I know this:eek: heh..heh.

Make sure your parking brake mount bracket is not closer than around .5" from contacting the sidewall of the tire. if its closer, there is the posibility the bracket will contact the sidewall should the wheel be misaligned a bit and if your wheel and tire is experiencing alot of camberflex when cornering.
Or after you do some suspension upgrade ect the clearance changes and you dont know it :eek
The scary part of what Im saying is, you may not be aware that it has been, or is going to, contact until the sidewall is wiped out on a corner.

My advice is, relocate the mount brackets if your going to put 255's on your car and eliminate the possibility altogeather. The fronts should be free of potential structural damage to the tire or car without any mods.

The reputable tire sellers, like "The Tire Rack" will not even sell a 255 if its going on a c3 without talkin to you upfront about these potential problems

Hope this helps..

Most of the sharks came with 225/70/15 or the optional tire, 255/60/15. I like the way the 255's look myself. I have BFG Radial T/A's on my 81 and like them. They are quiet, ride very well, and were priced about $70. There are more out there, but the price of the BFG's was well below the others.
I just bought a set of firestone firehawk ss20 for 65 a tire. 255/60/15
silver 80 said:
I just bought a set of firestone firehawk ss20 for 65 a tire. 255/60/15tom

IMHO, the Firehawk SS20 tires kick serious butt! I have 9 of them in my garage - five on the Vette (spare incl) and 4 on my Z24. Check out their rating at Tire Rack, nothing in class beats them. And as for price, they are very inexpensive thanks to the bad press Firestone has gotten these last couple years. They look great also. I too had GT Qualifiers before the 'hawks and they were a cast improvement i every aspect - looks, road noise, grip, wet traction, etc... On my Vette, I'm running 225/70/15. According to NCRS, the actual converted size for my 71 is 215/70/15.

These tires seem to be gaining in popularity with classic car owners since they are so good and also cheap. You will not be dissapointed!

I just got inspired and checked Firehawk SS20 prices as Tire Rack.
  • 255/60/15 $67
  • 225/60/15 $69
  • 225/70/15 $59
Firehawk SS20's

78 has had Firehawks for as long as we've known her. Tire shops have tried to talk me out of ordering them and buying whatever they carry in stock, but I like the Firestones. When I bought new tires this past summer, the Firehawks had changed to the SS20's and I've been VERY pleased with them. I noticed a marked difference after installation. However...the low tread on the previous tires probably accounted for that noticeable difference! ;)
Re: Firehawk SS20's

78SilvAnniv said:
...However...the low tread on the previous tires probably accounted for that noticeable difference! ;)

What's this about low tread Heidi? You haven't been heatin' 'em up on that ole Georgia asphalt have you?;)

- Eric
I can only squeal 78's tires in the rain! Hahaha!

No, I don't burn 'em up like I did with my college '74 Camaro, but I get my money's worth out of the tread! After living on the 'dry side' of the mountains in WA, the first drive in a heavy Southern rain was just a little squirrely, so I ordered tires the next day!
Ok, a quick question on the Firehawk ss20's. I see it is rated for 112 mph. Do you really think that is enough for our cars. I myself hang out with a lot of C4/C5's. Our regular cruising speed on the highway is around 100mph. Things are a little different on our highways in Canada.(less police)
Now we tend to do a lot of passing. Not to mentioon if a mustang tries to show us up then speeds can reach 130-140 mph at times[a lot of times.:)]. We are not speed demons but this is a common speed in my area. So what 15" tires would be good for my use? Can anyone help? Thanks
BTW, my car is a stock L-48. No mods cept for true dualies.

Scott :w
stryker 78

Now we tend to do a lot of passing. Not to mentioon if a mustang tries to show us up then speeds can reach 130-140 mph at times[a lot of times.]. We are not speed demons but this is a common speed in my area.

Sounds like your having way too much fun over there in Nova Scotia. I think I may have to opt for a trip over on the ferry this summer.

I hear ya. We've got a lot of open road down here in FL too. Alligator Alley is what I use for proving grounds. I went with the Dunlop after looking real hard at Bridgestone. The Dunlop 8000 or 5000 have the speed rating and are the best wet tire I've ever owned. I don't know what is available in your size but worth a look. As mentioned in other threads, each year is quite different, what works for me may not work for you.

Forgot to mention. Dunlop 5000 on the 85; Goodrich T/A on the 82. There is no comparison between the two. 150 is no problem on the C4. I don't think the stock 82 will ever see 120.
Ahh.. so the Firewark SS20 is still available. I had a set of those a few years ago on an old buick and was very happy with them.

Nice looking, lots of tread, nice sound when you peel 'em, and best of all.... they leave BLACK streaks.

The dunlops don't make a sound and don't leave marks :-(

I'll look into the parking brake bracket when(if) the car gets out of the shop.

If I have 245/60/15's now how much space should there be?
IE if I have 1 inch will that be more than 1/2 inch with 255's?

Anyone want to tackle the PSI issue?

Good thing for this website. Its hard to find C3 people to get advice from. (and it gets harder every year)

I gotta move to Nova Scotia. There's some folks having WAY too much fun up there. But that would put a serious dent in my golf time. Anyway, BFG's on the '72 and '81. But.... my son has SS20's 255-60x16's on his '92 Camaro and they are great. And you can't beat Tirerack.com for the price and the ease of ordering.

........... Nut
Yes we do have quite a fun time up here in Nova Scotia. NUT, you mentioned golf. We have loads of golf.
My club(Corvette Club of Nova Scotia: CCNS) has a show every August and we would love to have some more guests from south of the border. We have people come from as far away as California. BTW, the car that drove the greatest distance always takes home a nice prize. We would love to have you "DDL-81" come up for a visit. :upthumbs
I will post later on in the year with dates for anyone interested in seeing our beutiful province. It doesn't hurt either that the US dollar is worth tonnes across the border. :)

I am running 235/70/15's at the moment. Just a local tire brand. They suck in the wet. I want to go to 255/60/15's but with good wet traction and a high speed rating. :)
The PSI I would go with what the tire revcommends minus 4 the SS20 recommend 44 at max so I'l run 39 or 40 checking the wear and adjust from there.
tire skinny as I see it..

Ditto Nuts Comment,..
The Tire Rack:_rock sold me
BF goodrich 255/60/15's for around $70 , a rep called me personally to talk C3's and mods. I think they might be legally obligated to call, but they were also very curious as to what I was doing. I think they are selling lots of 255's to C3 owners these days and want to know what were running into during the installation. Thats the impression I got anyway.

They were on my doorstep in 3 days UPS.

Tire pressure changes drastically with the seasons ambient temp and road surface temp, and driving conditions, I may be a bit anal here, but I deal with it like this..
I always have a good pressure guage in the car, and air the tires up to 34psi cold if going driving long distance straight down the hiway, and keep the pressure at 38-40 for the long haul(good mileage).

34psi constant around town.

I spend lots of miles on winding roads and high speed cornering, , so I drop the pressure in all the tires to 30-32 when out exclusivly on the twisties, the tires stick a bit better, at the cost of gas mileage.
This kind of formula seems to work well for me, I havent noticed any abnormal tire wear.

...The dreaded C3 park brake mount bracket issue....
Ive never heard of 245's having the brake mount bracket issue. 255's on up "can" have the bracket clearance problem. If you got a little space there after mounting them, Drive it and check the sidewalls closely for awhile. check them again if you do any suspension work , alignment, struts, sway bar. This is where I got into trouble. I didnt have any clearance problem until I installed a rear sway bar. Then I quickly ruined the passenger side rear tire? Why the clearance changed, I dont know?? But I relocated the brackets and replaced the tire pronto, now everythings just fine back there, My suspension upgrades are all working like they are supposed to.

Good luck..


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