Longstone Tyres Supplying Classic Michelin, Pirelli in UK
With a pedigree dating back to the very infancy of motoring, Michelin is a name that has long been inseparably linked to many of the 20th century’s most revered automotive icons. With respect for our motoring heritage stronger today than ever, many of those lucky enough to own a veteran, vintage or classic car keenly feel the need to maintain the authenticity of their vehicle wherever possible, right down to ensuring it rolls on the same type of rubber it did when leaving the factory – and for these people the Michelin classic tyre range is a godsend. To ensure UK motorists can enjoy the full benefit of these products, Michelin has asked Longstone Tyres to distribute its Retro range here.
Tyres produced as part of the range cover the bulk of the post-war period, from the 1946 “X” through the ”ZX”, “XZX”, “MX”, “XAS”, “XVS-P” and “XWX” ranges to the “TRX” tyres developed in the early 70’s and fitted to performance cars such as the Ferrari right up to the beginning of the 80’s. While the demand for such tyres is minimal, the correct fitment is important for maintaining a vehicle’s intended handling characteristics, and thus Michelin still manufactures such products.
Tyre and suspension technology has developed in leaps and bounds even within a few decades, and when a modern tyre is fitted to a classic vehicle, the shape of the tyre and stiffer sidewall deliver a very different feel to that of the tyres originally intended for the car. Much of the ‘feedback’ received through the tyres and suspension is muted, and the handling characteristics are significantly altered. As Longstone Tyres comments, putting bad tyres on a car you enjoy driving is like putting cheap speakers on an expensive sound system.
Sporting a pedigree only marginally younger than that of Michelin is the Italian marque Pirelli. Since manufacturing its first pneumatic automotive tyre in 1901 the company has nurtured a close association with the sportier side of motoring, with its first motorsport victory coming in the 1907 Peking-Paris event. In the 1950s Pirelli introduced the Cinturato (a name recently returned to circulation by the Italian manufacturer), a sports-oriented radial that combined grip and high-speed performance with comfort. These classic tyres, standard equipment on numerous cars from Ferrari, Maserati, Lamborghini and other prestigious brands, are still produced today – and Longstone Tyres distribute this classic line-up throughout the UK.
A third brand now available through Longstone Tyres is Borrani Wheels. The Borrani brand harks back to 1922, when Carlo Borrani obtained a licence from Rudge Whitworth GB and established Rudge Whitworth Milano. Within a year Borrani was supplying many prestigious brands of the day and in 1929 the company began to experiment with rigid aluminium wheels. In the following years the company produced wheels both for OE customers – such as for the Aston Martin DB4 – and for the aftermarket, where the brand became a highly regarded enhancement.
Based in South Yorkshire, Longstone Tyres has been established as a key supplier of vintage, veteran and classic tyres for more than 30 years. The company is operated by enthusiasts belonging to the Vintage Sports Car Club and other motorists associations. The company plans to participate in numerous club based race events throughout 2008, occasions it says provide a perfect opportunity to be introduced to the latest products and tread patterns on offer.