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Original Continental Tires on my 69 1600

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IIRC on 1600s, radials were optional; they were standard on 2002s, at least for the US market.  I ordered my '69 in January 1969, and specified Michelin XAS tires (a $59 option over the Conti radials).  Car arrived in May due to an east coast dock strike, and the Michelins were all present and accounted for when I took delivery.  


So it appears that Michelin radials were one of a few options (as opposed to the "non-optional options" that Hoffman equipped all his US 2002s with) available, along with a sunroof.  If you didn't check the box for Michelins, you got Continentals, but they didn't look like Slavs.  Just a standard tread pattern.  I remember those zig-zag tread pattern Contis; I think they came out before the Pirelli CN36s, as Pirelli's radial in 1969 was the Cinturato.



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And the Continentals were S-rated tires (112 mph), unlike the Michelin’s, which were H-rated (130 mph) — not that a factory 2002 needs more than the S rating! 😉


I don’t, however, recall any red valve stems from the factory. That tire has probably been off the rim, witness both the red valve stem and the wheel weight that has been removed from the rim. If it was original and truly “never down”, the sidewalls might also have more molding nubs than appear in the photo. So I’d assume this spare “helped out” once or twice when there was a flat, and it managed to find itself flat and repaired, despite its low miles…


I could be wrong, Slavs, but that’s how I read it.


Some of the early ‘70’s Mercedes-Benz’s came with this style of Continental tire. Does it have a model number or name on the sidewall? Unlike Michelin or Pirelli, where lots of us recall the models, e.g., X, XZX, XAS, CN36, Continental model names don’t ring through most of our brains!


Best regards,






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On 8/3/2021 at 7:07 PM, Buckeye said:

here is my presumably original spare for 76'02, which now sitting on a shelf as nostalgia.







I don’t know, Buckeye! I believe we’ve discussed this previously and I, at least, came away unconvinced that BMW mounted a textile-belted, S-rated tire, and a Tigor brand, at that, on a brand new 1976 2002. H-rated tires were made standard on 1976 2002’s and it seems to me — I was, after all, buying a new 2002 in 1976 — that 97% of these received Michelin XAS’s. I have photos of eight 1976 window stickers and every one specifically says that “165/HR STEEL BELTED RADIALS” were standard equipment.


A Tigor, in 1976, assuming they were made in 1976, would probably be considered to be the Yugo of the tire world, not a tire that BMW would employ.


So… I’m still not convinced… 😉


Best regards,













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I still have all 5 tires that originally came on my Feb 68 1600.  They are tube type Continental radials.  They are different than the one that Slavs has as a spare.  I remember that style though.  Mine did not have the zigzag tread but a more standard tread like Mike says.  The tires are in storage and the only picture I have doesn’t show the tread.  My second set of tires were Pirellis, but not cn36s.  They had the tread pattern like in the picture.  I probably bought them in the summer of 1971.



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image.png  Those are Cinturatos--Pirelli's answer to the Michelin X/XAS.  While Michelin invented the radial tire back in 1947, using steel belts, Pirelli introduced the Cinturato a year or so later, using textile belts--possibly to get around Michelin patents.  Michelin's first tires with steel in the carcasses were invented for the Paris Metro in 1938--why Paris subways are so quiet--they ride on rubber tires!



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