On September 22nd the Michelin Tyre Company invited the Press to a very satisfactory lunch at the Drift Bridge Hotel, Epsom, to introduce their new 155-15 Michelin “X” tyre. This new tyre fits 15-in, rims and can be used on Austin-Healey 100 (replacing 5.90-15), Triumph TR2, M.G. TD and TF Midget, and M.G. Magnette (replacing 5.50-15), and Austin A50 (replacing 5.60-15).
Before lunch we were able to sample this new tyre on an Austin-Healey, a Triumph TR2, and on an M.G. Magnette saloon loaned by Jarvis Ltd., on a circuit of Epsom Downs at as high a speed as was consistent with avoiding racehorses, golfers and loitering saloon cars. Already aware of the excellent road-clinging qualities of the “X” tyre, we were reminded that it also allows fast cornering with an absence of tyre scream and often increases the comfort factor.
This new size, 155-15, lowers the effective gear ratio compared to a 5.50-15 tyre by about three per cent., but as it offers lower rolling resistance, acceleration and speed, if anything, are improved, while giving something like double the life of textile tyres. The tread pattern is more “squat” than with textile tyres, which further increases stability, and it operates at quite low pressures; for example, 22 lb./sq in. front, 25 lb./sq. in. rear on the Triumph TR2 tested, which a rally driver would raise to 27 and 30 lb./sq. in., respectively.
These excellent “X” tyres are intended for fast drivers and soon a new 165-15 size will be introduced by Michelin to replace mainly 6.40-15 textile tyres but also 5.90-15 on cars for which the 155-15 “X” isn’t quite adequate.
Besides the journalists present there was a sprinkling of rally drivers like Sydney Allard and Bill Banks, who know only too well the excellence of Michelin “X” tyres, while Michael Christie was demonstrating them on his Jensen 541. M. Bibendum was not present.
We left this pleasant party on ordinary Michelins, convinced that if we were Triumph TR2 mounted, and a rally-boy to boot, we should not be happy until all wheels were shod with Michelin “X.” ― W. B.