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MICHELIN Classic: Vintage plus performance

This weekend, classic cars took center stage in Sussex, England, for the Goodwood Revival Festival. For these iconic cars, only exceptional tires would do! To outfit them properly, the MICHELIN Classic line created tires featuring the latest technology while reflecting the esthetics and specific dimensions of a bygone era.

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3 questions to

Bruno COUÉ
MICHELIN’s Classic and Historic Motorsport Tires Department

How are tires from the 1920s, 1950s and today different?

The main difference is the size. Our line has options for more than 2,600 models produced between the 1920s and the early 1980s, i.e., 60 years of automobile history. Of course, the standard sizing we have today didn’t exist back then. Tires were also shaped differently. They were higher, with a narrower tread and rounded sidewalls and shoulders. The structure has also changed. Before Michelin developed its radial carcass in 1947, tires used a diagonal structure.

What specific considerations are there when designing a tire for the MICHELIN Classic line?

Our line aims to create tires that offer the same driving experience as back in the day. In terms of esthetics, we meticulously recreate tread patterns that are true to the originals. We also use techniques from the specific time periods, such as the diagonal structure for pre-war vehicles. Finally, we also have to take into account vehicle characteristics. The chassis used to be much less rigid, which impacts the tire design. We have to develop each tire based on the particular features of vintage cars. Doing so means collectors can be sure they’ll get the unique driving experience they’re looking for.

How do you get the performance of a modern tire into a classic shape?

It’s a real challenge! Since we can’t change the structure or tread pattern, we focus on the components. By using the latest rubbers and materials, we can offer tires that meet today’s safety standards. We’ve merged our department with the Michelin Racing department, which gives us a broad range of technical solutions and a very reactive development service. Performance is also important: we’ve significantly improved the durability of our Classic tires, which means you can put as many miles on them as you can with a modern Michelin tire. The Classic line is all about getting a vintage driving experience while enjoying Michelin’s modern performance.

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In Q4 2017, the MICHELIN Classic line will be adding a few new models to its collection:

  • 155 R 15 « X »
    for Peugeot 203, Volkswagen Beetle and Saab 96 models
  • 155 R 14 « X »
    a perfect solution for Simca Aronde, Morris Minor and Lancia Appia owners
  • 185/70 VR 14 « XAS »
    to get those vintage Alfa-Romeo Giulias and Spiders back on the road

Looking for a classic tire: visit our website

Video

Goodwood revival 2017