Lotus Elan

Tires in the USA 155/80-13 and 165/70-13

PostPost by: bdea » Mon Mar 25, 2019 8:58 pm

I'm trying to find a good handling tire for my 1969 Lotus Elan S4 SE w 5" Panasports

Finally narrowed it down to one in the US and one in the UK....Please help me out or tell me why not!

155/80-13 and 165/70-13:

In the US: Achilles 122 (simpletire.com) $31.97/$37.24 (tire-easy.com) $37.97/$47.30
In the UK: Falken Sincera SN 832 Eco

Not looking for long wear but excellent dry handling. So < 400 Tread Wear should be soft enough.

Read all the forums and will not spend the extra $$$ for the premium ones:Michelin XAS, Pirelli CN 36, Dunlop SP, Vredstein Sprint!

Will mount these on:
1969 Elan S4 SE LHD
Panasport KO, 5.0", 13" Wheels
Stock Rear Perch with hammered modification.

I have used:
Michelin XZX (155/80-13) Sh...ty
Yokohama A008R (175/70-13) on stock 4.5" rims, Most Excellent *** Problem: Took Out Chunks of theFront fender Lip
Currently, worn out 13 year old Bridgestone RE 92 (165/65-13) on the Panasports. Great and Controllable Slide.

Just went on a spirited ride to the Coast with 3 other elans in the Bay Area, although they a hard (80 durometer) they handled fine and I could still kinda felt its limit but did not push it because I've spun on the Elise on heat cycled out Falkens!

Could anyone remember their experiences with the above tires and how they compare to each other? Open to other tires in the USA and WHY?

Many Thanks in Advance!
Last edited by bdea on Wed Apr 03, 2019 4:36 am, edited 2 times in total.
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PostPost by: Davidb » Mon Mar 25, 2019 10:25 pm

I have experimented with Sumitomo and found them surprisingly good. And cheap.
'65 S2 4844
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PostPost by: h20hamelan » Tue Mar 26, 2019 6:11 am

Might consider yokohama iceguard ig52c, Dunlop winter maxx or the like
Both soft sticky extra siping (hydroplaning), wide square shoulder
Designed for highway speeds. Not knobby winters, rather fair/quiet ride

I dont think we get great 13? choices over here. Not enough Minis, early escorts, Rx7?s, elans etc
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PostPost by: el-saturn » Tue Mar 26, 2019 6:35 am

the best tyre i ever used is the 539 yokohama (175 60 13) - much better than all of the 100mph 165s (or even 155) most folks here use. i only once used a set of 008s: too quick for road use! snndy
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PostPost by: Certified Lotus » Tue Mar 26, 2019 11:09 am

I have these on stock rims on my Elan S1. Ordered and shipped from the UK as I could not find any suitable performance tires in the US.

d163e43b-8d05-46b9-97da-8ce64a63d780.jpeg and

18324ac6-102f-482b-a49b-264e1ac98d75.jpeg and
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PostPost by: ElliottN » Tue Mar 26, 2019 1:18 pm

I have run a set of A539's on Panasport KO wheels for a couple of years now.
Couldn't be happier.
Elliott - 70 S4 dhc
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PostPost by: Fred Talmadge » Tue Mar 26, 2019 2:57 pm

el-saturn wrote:the best tyre i ever used is the 539 yokohama (175 60 13) - much better than all of the 100mph 165s (or even 155) most folks here use. i only once used a set of 008s: too quick for road use! snndy

Except they wont fit on a S1 or S2, except there is Certified Lotus with a pic proving me wrong.
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PostPost by: pcarew » Tue Mar 26, 2019 6:01 pm

Certified Lotus wrote:I have these on stock rims on my Elan S1. Ordered and shipped from the UK as I could not find any suitable performance tires in the US.

D163E43B-8D05-46B9-97DA-8CE64A63D780.jpeg

18324AC6-102F-482B-A49B-264E1AC98D75.jpeg


Do you have any issues with the 175 rubbing on the bodywork in curves/turns?
I was wondering about the '50' profile instead of the '60' as I assume it would give a bit more clearance.
I have original 4.5inch bolt on steel wheels

How bad was the shipping?
I found demon tweeks carry them, but shipping is ~$34 per wheel
https://www.demon-tweeks.com/us/yokohama-a539-performance-road-tyre-1299641/
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PostPost by: Evante » Tue Mar 26, 2019 6:49 pm

I bought the 175 x 60 Yokohama 539's from Demon-Tweeks. At the pice point of $60.00 for the tires and $34.00 for the shipping, it is not a bad deal, especially considering that you will not be paying tax on the tires.

Demon-Tweeks sent the tires in two sets of two. The second set was lost at US Customs. After they could not be found for 30 days, Demon-Tweeks sent me another set, no charge. They arrived within the week, no problems. They were very good to work with.

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PostPost by: Evante » Tue Mar 26, 2019 6:51 pm

PS: The 175 x60 x 13 Yoko's were for a 1972 Sprint that previously had the same size Yoko's on Panasport, 5 " rims.

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PostPost by: Certified Lotus » Tue Mar 26, 2019 7:50 pm

No rubbing at all on the fenders. If you have stock suspension the 175?s won?t fit as the springs will rub against the inside tire wall. I have coil over suspension with the smaller springs. Also have fast road course suspension which is a bit stiffer and hence the reason I don?t have any tire rubbing problems, but you will note that I have my car set at a fairly low stance. The Elan sticks like glue with these tires and TTR suspension setup.
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PostPost by: Fred Talmadge » Tue Mar 26, 2019 7:54 pm

Certified Lotus wrote:No rubbing at all on the fenders. If you have stock suspension the 175?s won?t fit as the springs will rub against the inside tire wall. I have coil over suspension with the smaller springs. Also have fast road course suspension which is a bit stiffer and hence the reason I don?t have any tire rubbing problems, but you will note that I have my car set at a fairly low stance. The Elan sticks like glue with these tires and TTR suspension setup.


OK then I'm back to bring correct, 175s won't fit on a stock S1 or S2 :) I'm right but :( that they won't fit.
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PostPost by: mwhitaker » Thu Mar 28, 2019 1:51 am

Hi- I have a 69 S4 SE DHC as well. My car had hard 10yr old Kuomos 155/80-13 on Panasports like yours that I initially tried to replace with Michelin XAS FF given the great reviews. In my inexperience, I didn't realize that the Michelins are more like a 82-85 series and with TT/GAZ shocks/springs and lower than stock ride height, I had clearance issues-ie fender glass cracks. So I went overboard the other way and adjusted the ride height to approx. stock and fitted Achilles 122 155/70-13 wanting to keep stock tire width/steering feel and limiting rolling diameter for clearance issues.
I've been happy with them overall- inexpensive smooth, nice turn in and decent grip-fairly quiet too-for less than $40 and free shipping from tries-easy. The car actually feels good-no bump steer with nice front end feel . I have good clearance as well and imagine the 155/80-13 would work well for you. These tires are T speed rated and from Indonesia - Achilles is a drift competition supplier apparently?.
My eventual plan is to get newly made steel wheels from RD ent when available, keep an eye on ride height and try the Michelins again for experimenting/shows, etc, Hope this helps and good luck.

Cheers, Mark Whitaker
69 Elan S4 SE DHC
45/8396
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PostPost by: nomad » Thu Mar 28, 2019 3:36 am

bdea, you mention Falken Sincera's. I didn't think they were still available in 13" in the US. I have a set and like them and would like to get another set. Can you give me a bit more info on their availability?

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PostPost by: sabbot » Thu Mar 28, 2019 5:39 am

I was looking for a relatively inexpensive tire to fit 13x5.5 inch rims on my S4 elan and chose 175/70R13 Kumho Solus TA11 due to cost and having a nice round shoulder to cope with the inherent elan roll, however I wish I hadn't.
The car is set up with perfect geometry on a Spyder chassis with double A arm rear suspension, 5/8" front anti-roll bar and Spax bounce adjustable shocks. Despite increasing the front spring rates to 115lb per inch and adjusting the shock absorber rates I find the steering a little remote and the back end still breaks away a little to much, especially in the wet.
I think the car may just be overtired and am about to revert back to standard 4.5" steel rims and 155/80R13 so am very interested in the results on this thread.
By the way if anybody is interested, I just had ten knock-on 13 x 4.5" rims, that had been sitting in the garage for ages, checked for trueness and cracks and they are all true and crack-free. I'll be keeping 5 of them (for the new tires) but am open to offers on the other 5.
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