Bridgestone to Develop New Jaguar XJ220 Tires; 271 Owners Breathe a Deep Sigh of Relief

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When you’re on the hunt for a new car, certain details are likely at the top of your mind. All-wheel drive? Cargo space? How’s the color? Does the engine offer enough power? One detail few shoppers take the time to consider, however, is tires. Funny enough, you would think tires should be one of the most important items to check on. They connect you and your car to the road, after all.

Tire quality varies across the range, with low-end rubber costing well below $100 per tire, and the the Bugatti Veyron’s high-performance tires coming in at close to $40,000 per set. Most used car dealers will replace a set of bald tires before putting a car up for sale, but considering how easily they’re overlooked, don’t expect to see premium brands on that used Daewoo.

As with all instances, there are exceptions to the rule. Some people do, in fact, pay special attention to a car’s tires before purchasing. For the past several years, prospective Jaguar XJ220 owners fell into that category.

It’s a small bunch, to be sure, with only 271 XJ220s put into production between 1992 and 1994. Despite its name, the supercar was capable of (only) 217 miles per hour, it featured a mid-mounted twin-turbocharged V6 engine, and until now, you couldn’t buy tires for it.

Production of the XJ220 ended in 1994, and the small-diameter, large-width tires haven’t been made in years. As you can imagine, the few folks interested in buying an XJ220 had to pay especially close attention to the rubber.

Now it looks like there may be a new option for those poor, rich XJ220 owners. Bridgestone has announced its intention to research and develop new tires for the British supercar, in honor of its 25th anniversary. As auction prices for Porsche 959s and Ferrari F40s have blown past the stratosphere in the past decade, the venerable Jag has seen its valuation stagnate. Maybe, just maybe, the prospect of replaceable tires will help.

Do you pay close attention to the tires when buying a used car?

-Matt Smith

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