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Firestone Sports Car 200


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#1 Bob Riebe

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Posted 05 October 2011 - 19:07

Way back in 1966 Sports Car Graphic did a road-test of the new 427, 425hp Corvette which was equipped with most of the items the later L--88 would have.

One item was the Firestone Sports Car 200 tires which were, I believe, the first truly high-performance street tire by a U.S. tire company.

Jerry Titus remarked in the article how good the tires were.

How long were these produced?

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#2 Sunbeam74

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Posted 06 October 2011 - 17:09

I am not sure how long they were produced but is this the tire Coker list in their catalog?

http://store.cokerti...l.html?___SID=U

It had to have some degree of popularity and longevity on the market... I would think.


Steve



#3 Bob Riebe

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Posted 06 October 2011 - 19:45

I am not sure how long they were produced but is this the tire Coker list in their catalog?

http://store.cokerti...l.html?___SID=U

It had to have some degree of popularity and longevity on the market... I would think.


Steve

As far as that goes this http://store.cokerti...ooved-rear.html would be closer in shape to the Sports Car 200 as it was pre- Wide Oval or lettering system.

I did a net search and it seems the tire you listed is the same Sports Car 200 used on '69 Z-28 Camaros, BUT the ones that Titus had on the Corvette were two different sizes and both were the old numbering system.
Now the question is, how different were the letter series tires three years later from the originals.

I do not have the SCG here but I remember the tires had a definite square sided look to them much like the tire I listed which is why I put that paste up.

When did the first letter series tires show up?

Edited by Bob Riebe, 07 October 2011 - 04:23.


#4 S&M Minis

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Posted 07 October 2011 - 04:14

Two of my friends ran the Sport Car 200 tires on their E-Type Jags in the 1969 to 1971 timeframe and at that point they were indeed raised white letter tires. One of them felt they looked too boy-racer and had them mounted RWL facing in. The other thrived on boy-racer syndrom and had his mounted RWL out. The Coker tire linked by Sunbeam74 is indeed the version they used, but perhaps they didn't start out as a RWL design. The tires were much closer to racing than street in performance, with tread life somewhere in between. They both autocrossed the Jags and their handling was much improved on the Sport Car 200s while still being able to compete in street tire classes. While probably not as good as a pure racing tire of the period, they also didn't exhibit the nasty characteristics of a pure race tire on the street. I drove both E-Types on these tires and they behaved better on the street than the Goodyear Blustreaks I used for autocrossing my Mini - way too twitchy for street driving.

I found several posts on Camaro message boards about these tires, specifically that they were original equipment on the 1969 Z-28. That might explain why Coker carries them now. The pictures below are from one of those threads, an original equipment Sport Car 200 (note that it's Sport and not Sports) tire from a Z-28. One of these threads raised an issue from when they were new that both of my friends experienced. Firestone distributors did not know they existed, you had to convince them to contact someone higher up the chain to get them ordered.

I believe they were discontinued somewhere around 1971 but have no way to confirm that. As I recall my friends were unable to get more of them around that time, and the Wide-Oval and similar type tires were too wide across the midsection for the E-Type and didn't seem to perform as well as the Sport Car 200 anyway. Having flogged a few Wide-Oval shod pony cars in period, they were more looks than performance when compared to the SC 200. Maybe there was some evolutionary connection between the SC 200 and the Wide-Oval, but my memory favors the SC 200.

I'd love to have a fresh set of Bluestreaks to see how they compare with current vintage racing tires on my Mini. When I have the time machine perfected ...

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#5 Bob Riebe

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Posted 07 October 2011 - 05:09

I found in a Ford forum some gents were speaking of high performance tires listed on build sheets and came across what seems to be Firestone Sport Car 200 tire size 6.50/6.70 x 15 nylon black wall rated for 170mph.
Now if some company would reproduce those!

#6 S&M Minis

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Posted 07 October 2011 - 13:33

I found in a Ford forum some gents were speaking of high performance tires listed on build sheets and came across what seems to be Firestone Sport Car 200 tire size 6.50/6.70 x 15 nylon black wall rated for 170mph.
Now if some company would reproduce those!


Bob,

Could you tell if the build sheets were for production cars or for race cars? At the time they were new I never considered what vehicles these tires were made for, mainly assumed they were more of a replacement line for those seeking better performance. Now I'm interested in what vehicles used them as OEM. There's a chance of snow tomorrow (hey, it's October) so I may be tunneling through the magazine collection.

My father was a trial attorney and one of his major clients was Ford Motor Company. Thinking back, in the early 70's he defended a case where a tire failed on some Ford muscle car at very high speed. The case against Ford was that they sold the car with tires that weren't up to the vehicle's performance. I don't think the car was capable of 170 mph, but there probably was a need for a higher speed rating tires like the one you mention. I don't remember the outcome of the case.

#7 Bob Riebe

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Posted 07 October 2011 - 18:47

Here is the conclusion they came too from a Ford production window sticker on a 1967 vehicle:

This might help with regard to the tire issue:
On the statement of vehicle sales for my car, it says...6.50/6.70 X 15 spt.
On the Marti report it say...6.70X15-4ply 170 mph tires. Black sidewall tires.
In a letter dated 2002 from the Ford Motor Company, research unit representative, it states the tires were 6.50/6.70X15-4 PR Nylon Black Sidewall Tires.


The tires on the Blue 390 cu. in. Mustang that Marty refers to in his post has Firestone Sport car 200 tires, with Galaxy caps and red center center caps (just found the pictures).


Here is the link. It is a bit hard to decipher as their conversation rambles and without the items they are looking at a bit confusing.

http://www.concoursm...hp?topic=2193.0

Edited by Bob Riebe, 07 October 2011 - 18:48.