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1983 W123 200T
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Discussion Starter #1
From using tyre calculator, it appears the diameter of these is only about 5mm different.
I assume either are OK on 6 inch wide rims?
 

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1977 W123.123 1995 W124.034
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2011 E350
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29 Posts
$300 a tire seems really steep. I got some General Alitmax tires in 195/70/14 size from Tire Rack a few years ago for well under $100 each. They are also modern tires that can handle higher speeds.
Hi

Oo there is quite a lot wrong with that. Both the Michelin XWX and Pirelli CN36 are better tyres, built to the highest possible standards by 2 of the worlds best tyre manufacturers.

They are higher specification if you look on these 2 web pages
XWX https://www.longstonetyres.co.uk/tyres/205-70-14/205-70wr14-michelin-xwx.html
CN36 https://www.longstonetyres.co.uk/tyres/205-70-14/205-70wr14-pirelli-cinturato-cn36.html
and scroll down, it gives you the detail about the tyre. Both these tyres have a load rating of 89 (580kg) and a W speed rating (270kph nearly 170mph). which is why Mercedes fitted them in the first place.

Modern tyres absolutely do not handle better than these classic tyres on a classic car. Car design has moved along way since the '70s. and modern tyres have been developed to suit the new chassis design. your car does not have heaps of caster and adverss cambe. you haven't got self leveling suspension, etc. The high speed handling of a modern tyre on these older cars with their relatively soft suspension, will not be as good. totally the opposite.

Horses for courses.

I can justify the price of these tyres, because they are such high quality and specification. The real pricing problem is that they have to be made in such relatively small volumes. Also the difficulty is people associate the price of a tyre to the value of a car which actually has nothing to do with it. It is what your car is that determines what tyre you should buy. I do understand. i have V12 Jag that i paid £ 2,500 for and the tyres were over £ 1,000 for a set.

It is only really fair to compare their pricing to a modern top end Merc (something like an E350) tyre made by Michelin or Pirelli, and then expect it to be more expensive than that because of the costs of small batch production and distribution.

What we cannot get away from, regardless of how fair the pricing is, that it is a lot of money. it has a big effect on that months credit card bill etc. one of the services offered at Longstone is a shoulder to cry on.

currently the Michelin XWX is £ 229 + VAT inside the EU
Pirelli CN36 £ 199 + VAT but there is a big deal of £ 869 + VAT on a set of 5 tyres or £ 699+ VAT on 4.

generally speaking there is free carriage to most places and of course if you are outside the EU there is no VAT
 

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1985 300CD, 1985.5 Porsche 944, 1969 Triumph TR6, 1998 Land Rover Discovery I, 1992 Volvo 240
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1,355 Posts
All of the above is absolutely correct, but who of us, in the US at least, where we predominantly got the 300D and 300D turbo, need a tire that is rated at 170 MPH? My main emphasis would be on the load range and a tire size that was originally designed for our cars.

My 1985 300CD's owner's manual calls for: 195/70 R 14 90 S

90= Load index up to 1325 pounds or 600 kilograms.
S= Up to a max of 118 MPH or 180 km/h.
 

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280 TE
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i just opted for the cinturatos for the vintage drive but also appearance, a must have for me at least, despite the steep price.
 

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1977 6.9, 1976 W115 240D, w123 300D turbo
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Consider the Vredestein Sprint Classic as well. I prefer them to the Pirelli CN36's they replaced on my 300D turbo. They wore a little longer and they're definitely quieter.
 

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2011 E350
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Consider the Vredestein Sprint Classic as well. I prefer them to the Pirelli CN36's they replaced on my 300D turbo. They wore a little longer and they're definitely quieter.
Hmm. that sounds odd.

When did you do that?

the CN36 you can buy now have only been available for a couple of years. The CN36 is better than the Vredestein. Might i suggest that the Pirelli you took off wasn't CN36 or was a very old tyre. A Vredestein might be better than a 20 year old CN36.

i also wonder what you paid for the Vredestein. they were popular in the UK when they were much cheaper than everything else. However the CN36 is currently a real bargain for an 89 V rated tyre.

and the CN36 looks good
 

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1977 6.9, 1976 W115 240D, w123 300D turbo
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The Pirelli tires I replaced with Vredestein Sprints were definitely CN36's. I bought them pretty much when they became available. They weren't cheap of course but I've always liked the tread pattern and they were a period correct.

I'm particular about the condition of my car. The suspension bushings, ball joints, tie rods, pivot bushings etc. are no more than a couple of years old. All of the rear suspension bushings are new along with the sub-frame bushings and sway bar end links. I also pay attention to tire pressure. The car is a decent platform to evaluate tires for a w123.

I'm not asserting the Pirelli's are a bad tire. They're an excellent tire. They just aren't well suited to the W123's suspension geometry, my driving style, and my tire noise tolerance in a touring sedan. I drive my w123 fairly hard and often (it's my commuter car). The car has a lot of body roll in cornering without much camber gain on either end. I had a lot of wear on the outside shoulder of the tires, particularly the fronts. Frequent rotation helped of course but wear is wear. The CN36 also makes more road noise than any other street tire I've ever used. The Vredestein had lower ultimate grip but a little slower wear on the OS shoulders (maybe a little stiffer sidewall or tread section). It was also noticeably quieter on the road. The Vredestein sells for $195 at Coker tire. The V speed rating on either tire is useless of course on a car that barely cracks a 100mph top speed.

This time around I abandoned high-quality classic tires for a 195/70-14 Sumitomo Touring LS T. I've only driven a couple of hundred miles on them so far but I thought I'd try a less expensive tire this time around.

Tires for the w123 (and all of the Youngtimer Mercedes) are definitely limited and I'm hunting for the ideal compromise. The only period-correct tires with correct fitment are V rated and very expensive and modern choices are generally all-season junk tires for minivans. Michelin has the MXV or XAS but both are only produced in 185 tread width. The XAS, while an older design is assymetrical and likely best for my driving style.

...and that's way more than anybody should care about for tires for our old cars...
 

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2011 E350
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A German Classic car magazine recently did a back to back classic tyre test, where among others the Vredestein did come secont to the Pirelli CN36 which won the test out right won the test. much better than the Vredestein in the Dry. and a little better in the wet.

Coker doesn't sell the Pirelli in the States. they come from https://www.lucasclassictires.com/205-70VR14-PIRELLI-CINTURATO-CN36-2057014CN36.htm

the 195/70R14 is a tricky one. I think it is because, generally speaking the flagship models of a range of cars tends to be the one with the highest survival rate. Also often the mid range models often get upgraded a little to be along with the flag ship models, probably why Michelin make the 205/70VR14 XWX as with the Pirelli 205/70WR14 CN36 (which are incidentally W rated)

Michelin do make a 175R14 XAS https://www.longstonetyres.co.uk/tyres/175-14/175hr14-michelin-xas.html

One of the chaps that works with us has a W123 280 E. registered in 1977. In my 1978 Michelin fitment guide it says that the 280 E changed to 195/70R14 in September 1976 (still on 6" rims) so it is border line as to what tyre this car actually left the factory with. There is also an attraction to erring towards the taller tyres, because the gearing in these old cars, on our modern dual carriageways often benefits from the slightly taller diameter. and we fitted the 185HR14 Michelin MXV-P https://www.longstonetyres.co.uk/tyres/185-14/185hr14-michelin-mxv-p.html for me it is all about the carcass structure, that makes the car drive right.
 

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1977 6.9, 1976 W115 240D, w123 300D turbo
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43 Posts
Thanks. Lucas advertises the CN36 as V speed rated. My friend's 300TD is sitting in the shop with a set of CN36's on it and the sidewall clearly lists W, oops. Maybe I'll try Longstone next time around for XAS's as they advertise a 185 tread width, the skinniest I'll use. I used XWX's on my 6.9 and they were great but incredibly pricey. It turned out to be less expensive to restore a set of fake Penta wheels and mount 16 inch tires. The changed was period correct and the grip was much higher, so much higher that I was concerned about breaking suspension parts on the car. I couldn't justify the expense on a w123 with 125hp on a good day.

I agree the top range car models tend to survive at higher rates justifying keeping higher spec tires in production.
 

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2011 E350
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Thanks. Lucas advertises the CN36 as V speed rated. My friend's 300TD is sitting in the shop with a set of CN36's on it and the sidewall clearly lists W, oops.
No that is good. don't worry about that. back in the day, they hadn't invented W rated. they just had V which is for cars that are capable of over 149mph. so V is an all encompassing speed rating. However we now need a little more clarity so we have invented W, Y, & Z. There is nothing wrong with an over speed rated car. (massive load ratings aren't good though.)

Maybe I'll try Longstone next time around for XAS's as they advertise a 185 tread width, the skinniest I'll use.
we don't do a 185R14 XAS. only a 185HR14 MXV-P https://www.longstonetyres.co.uk/185hr14-michelin-mxv-p.html but they are great. One of the boys who works here has a 280 E on those and the carcass structure is great. nice directional stability without compromising the ride and handles just right. The picture below i think is just after we have put the front end down off the jack, because the front end looks a little empty in the wheel arches


I used XWX's on my 6.9 and they were great but incredibly pricey.
Mmsk! correct me if i'm wrong, but a 6.9 is even more difficult. I think there is only that car that fits this tyre https://www.longstonetyres.co.uk/michelin-classic-tyres/xwx/215-70r14-michelin-xwx.html Oh yes and the first 150 of the Lamborghini Countach LP400. However only on the rear. I don't think a 6.9 wants to have a smaller diameter tyre, and loose it's gearing. My Roller does about 12 miles to the gallon. however that only has a 6.8 liter engine. i always thought anything bigger than 6.8 would be vulgar.

It turned out to be less expensive to restore a set of fake Penta wheels and mount 16 inch tires. The changed was period correct and the grip was much higher, so much higher that I was concerned about breaking suspension parts on the car. I couldn't justify the expense on a w123 with 125hp on a good day. .
I don't get that. i would think part of owning an old Merc was the ride. If i was critical of my modern Merc E350, I would say it was the dreadful ride on the 18 inch wheels which could be so easily fixed by putting it back on to standard wheels.

the extra grip thing is a funny one, because yes you have better stopping power. but do you lock up your brakes? yes you will do less wheel spins. But is that really an issue? in the corners, it will be more difficult to handle. if you are forced to suddenly react with a square shouldered modern tyre you will not have a progressive tyre that is designed to be used in conjunction with a chassis like yors unless you modify all sorts of other things that will make the ride even worse.

i think it is a mistake. However i guess you will all just assume that is just me trying to flog tyres. so i will just leave it that the only reason not to fit the Michelin XWX or Pirelli CN36 is money

Out of interest while looking for a photograph of my friends 280 E i stumbled across this picture of the tyres we considered, next to the one we took off. from the left:
205/7014 Pirelli Cinturato CN36 https://www.longstonetyres.co.uk/tyres/185-14/205-70wr14-pirelli-cinturato-cn36.html currently an absolute bargain. specially if you buy one of the sets on line. just go through the process you will probably find carriage is free to where ever you are.
185HR14 Michelin MXV-P https://www.longstonetyres.co.uk/tyres/185-14/185hr14-michelin-mxv-p.html no doubt in my mind that this is the best 185R14 tyre on the market. and the price is pretty good for a Michelin.
205/70VR14 Michelin XWX https://www.longstonetyres.co.uk/tyres/185-14/205-70wr14-michelin-xwx.html we sell loads of these. they are great tyres. they have always been available when there has been nothing else. And it was OE on the Ferrari Dino, and they just buy XWX, cos they look so right.
195/70R14 Firestone. that is interesting, it is a smaller section tyre than the 205/70R14, but look how much wider the foot print is. which is why the car handled so much better, when fitted with a more suitable classic car tyre carcass. don't think fatter foot prints make old cars drive better, because it just isn't true. i don't see the point in spoiling the handling by fitting a modern tyre. and i think on all our dual carriageways i would be happy of the extra gearing of a 205/70r14 period tyre or a 185R14. and it wouldn't be a bad thing with all these horrible speed bumps around.
 

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1977 6.9, 1976 W115 240D, w123 300D turbo
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I used something like 235/55-16's on my 6.9 with the Penta wheels. From memory, the diameter was about the same as the XWX, wider of course. Cornering grip quite a bit higher. I never broke anything frankly but I always had nagging concerns about wheel bearings, ball joints etc. The 6.9 changes direction and corners like a much smaller car generally and it reacted well to the tire and wheel combination. The ride quality remained incredible. I concede that XWX prices caused me to consider the change in the first place. While I like the look of the car on Pentas, many do not.

We are using XWX's on my friend's 308 GT4 (either 205 or 215/70-14. I don't remember) and the Lamborghini in the background (215/70-15). The tires were worth every penny in the applications but I'm taking this thread way off track. The last photo is my 300D turbo on 14 x 6 pressed aluminum wheels and CN36 Pirellis

Your tire comparison picture is fascinating. I'd very much like to know what the OEM tire was on my 82 300D turbo. The information isn't easy to find, at least I haven't been able to track it down.

Thanks for the tire education.

John
 

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2011 E350
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I'd very much like to know what the OEM tire was on my 82 300D turbo. The information isn't easy to find, at least I haven't been able to track it down.
Me too. I thought that Mercedes tended towards XWX. However i saw an article in a Mercedes a while ago suggesting that the CN36 it had fitted were the original tyres.
 

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1980 280CE; 1982 300CD
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1,351 Posts
There is some gold in this thread.

I am about to shop tires for my 15x7 bundt wheels for my turbo coupe. It will be lowered 50mm in the front and just a little in the rest to avoid camber issues. I imagine most of your discussion above relates to relatively difficult to find 14" tires and the market is broader for the 15" size?

And as soon as I type that I realize I will also need some 14" tires for my steel rims and hubcaps. I'd like to be able to change the look once and a while.

FB
 

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1980 280CE; 1982 300CD
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I’m thinking 225/60R15 or 215/60R15. 225 seems wide and I’m not sure of the drawbacks there.

I want the same diameter as the factory tires plus the wide-ness of the 7J. And I’d like to make the 15” Bundt wheel look bigger with less sidewall, which should work with keeping overall diameter.

Here’s a look I like, especially the front wheel.

FB
 

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Oo! you want these:


So i am under the impression that in period these cars either fitted Michelin XWX Or Pirelli Cinturato CN36, in the size 195/70R14 or 205/70R14.

The tyre attached is pretty cool. It is a CN36 tread pattern, so this tread was the coolest tyre on the block in the 1970s. I think this was the first 60% profile tyre, built for the back of 1972 Porsche 2.7 Carrera and RS.

It is pretty sexy
 

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1980 280CE; 1982 300CD
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I feel like I’ve seen that tread before. Maybe on a spare tire in a trunk, or someplace not in use like that. It was an older and unserviceable tire that I pretty much dismissed.

Thanks for sharing. As discussed above, those are pretty spendy for my resto project, but I’m sure they would complete an original look!

FB
 

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2011 E350
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"Pretty Spendy" i like that term.

I must admit the majority of people that i talk to about their restoration; generally it takes at least twice as long as planned and costs at least twice as much as planned.

This is not good business from my side, I shouldn't say this. However my recomendation would be to save the purchase of your tyre untill you have nearly finished. No need to have your money sat their in the shape of tyres that are made of rubber which i'm afraid does perish. Buy them when you need them, and buy the good stuff.
 
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