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Tire size and paint recommendations

Hi all, Any advice on tire size for 13 inch original steel wheels on my 63 Spitfire? Also, what would the correct color be for the wheels on my 79 Spitfire? Thanks, Laura

Hi Laura,

All the small Triumphs after about 1970 came with 4.5J x 13" wheels and when new had 155/82/13 tires - that is the width of the tire was 155mm, the profile of the tyre (82) meant that the side (sidewall) height was 82% of the width.  Its quite hard to find these tires at normal stores, but there are some specialist tire companies that can get them if you are keen on originality - usually shipped from the UK.

The alternative is to use 175/70/13 - although the width is increased the profile is lower so that the circumference of the wheel and tire is very close to the original size, so your speedometer will still read the right speed.  This tire size fits Spitfires and GT6s, Heralds & Vitesses without any issue.

Assuming this car is not your daily driver, it is likely that you will need to replace the tires due to age rather than mileage and you will not want to be driving it in all weather conditions.  If this is the case, you might like to consider Barum Brilliantis 2 tires from Discount Tire in Arden.  They are inexpensive and have a tread pattern that is keeping with the age of these cars.  I have been using these tires on my Triumph for a few years without any issues ( see photo).

As regards the wheel paint color, it took me sometime to find the closest color I could get to the original silver.  The closest I can find is SP188 Ford Argent Silver - this is available from many parts stores in the VHT (very high temperature) paint. (see photo)  BTW the center cap is original and was not sprayed so you can see the color closely matches.

Hopes this helps,  good luck David (white Triumph Vitesse convertible).



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Thanks so much for your response. I decided to go with the 155/80/R13 Uniroyals for the 63 as they are a little narrower. Cleaned up, primed and painted the original wheels today, I have the original hub caps too and as soon as I get my new tires I'll be posting the ones that came on the car for sale. They are really nice VTO's, tires have very few miles, just not my style! I ordered that paint you recommended for the wheels for the 79 and was able to find a good deal on some real nice used hub caps on ebay. Can't wait to clean that mess up! Thanks again, I so appreciate your knowledge. Laura