Austin Healey Sprite Tires

Bugeye Sprite Tires

It is difficult not to love Austin Healey's early little Sprite. In the UK known as the Frog Eye Sprite, and in the States, it is nicknamed the Bug Eye Sprite. Along with it’s appearance, the Bugeye is loved for its nimble, spritely handling. which, of course, is dramatically affected by having suitable tires.

Austin Healey Bugeye Sprite Tires

When Austin Healey brought out the Bugeye Sprite (or Frog eye Sprite in Europe), they fitted crossply tires in the size 520-13. Today, there isn’t really a high-quality sporting  Austin Healey Sprite crossply tire. And today's modern roads mean that a period radial tire makes the little Sprite more suited to higher cruising speeds. The tire size 145R13 is the correct radial alternative for a 5.20-13. It will also give the best handling. Over tiring this lovely light little Healey, is a shame to numb the steering and lose the progressiveness of these little light rear-wheel-drive cars.
PIRELLI have re-introduced their 145HR13 PIRELLI CINTURATO™ CA67. This is a genuine 1950s early radial which was the market leader for sports cars throughout the 1960s and into the ‘70s. The reason it was so great then, and is still the best Austin Healey Bugeye Sprite tire today is that it is a radial tire designed to be fitted to car chassis that would originally have been fitted with crossply tires. So the PIRELLI CINTURATO tire will compliment and enhance the handling of your Healey, compared to a more modern tire that will work against it.

Many Bug Eye Sprite owners opt for fitting slightly larger 155R13 classic tires. The ideal 155R13 Austin Healey Bugeye Sprite tire is the 155R13 PIRELLI CINTURATO CA67.

145R13 Bugeye Sprite Tires
145R13 Bugeye Sprite Tires

Bug Eye Tires

Although fitting more modern wider tires will not make the Bugeye such a pleasant, light-handling car, often people like the look of a wider tire. Also, over the years, people have made various adjustments and upgrades to the chassis by adding adverse camber, stiffening the springs, and fitting wider wheels to make a car derive more grip from a wider tire, under which case a 175/70R13 tire is considered to increase grip.
In fitting wider tires on these old little Austin Healeys, we introduce a phenomenon that when cornering, as the car leans it rolls onto the shoulder of the tire and lifts the inside of the tire off the road, causing a sudden loss of grip. This effect can be diminished by fitting a period tire. Currently, Pirelli makes a 175/70VR13 PIRELLI CINTURATO™ CN36. A 1968 design that has rounded shoulders to diminish the snap oversteer that comes from oversized modern tires.

Austin Healey Sprite Tires

For most MK2, MK3, & MK4 Austin Healey Sprites (or Spridgets), a 145HR13 PIRELLI CINTURATO™ CA67 is the best-suited tire, as it is the only genuine period radial tire available in the right size. This sporty little Austin Healey Sprite will benefit significantly from fitting a tire with a carcass designed specifically for sports cars of this period.

Originally, models like the Austin Healey Sprite MK2, MK3 & MK4 were fitted with 5.20X13 Crossply tires. However, there is currently no 520X13 crossply tire that is suitable for the sporty little Frog Eye Sprite or the later Spridgets. Given that a radial tire is more suited to modern roads, the recommendation is to fit a 145R13 radial tire for most people, especially those owning a Frog Eye Sprite or later Spridget.

Similar to the Bugeye Sprite, the wider 155R13 classic tire size can be fitted to the MK2, MK3, & MK4 Austin Healey Sprites. In this size the 155R13 PIRELLI CINTURATO CA67 is the best Austin Healey Sprite classic tire.

1966 Austin Healey Sprite Tires

1966 Austin Healey Sprite Classic Tires

Austin Healey Sprite wider Tires

For those considering wider Austin Healey Sprite tires, Pirelli’s 175/70R13 CN36 is recommended as it will handle better than any other oversized tire, minimizing adverse effects on the steering. It is especially advantageous due to its low profile, designed to complement earlier chassis designs that originally had fitted thinner tires, like a Bug Eye Sprite, making it far superior to modern tires developed for very different kinds of cars.
When opting for a tire size upgrade, it’s crucial to select a tire that harmonizes with the vehicle's original design to avoid unnecessary complications, with the 175/70VR13 PIRELLI CINTURATO™ CN36 strongly recommended for those wanting to upsize. Remember, while there are available sizes from budget tire manufacturers, choosing a tire like the CN36 that is specifically designed for these classic models will result in a superior driving experience and better complement the vehicle’s original specifications.

Austin Healey Sprite Tire Pressure

The suggested tire pressure for Austin Healey Sprite is 24psi at the front & 26psi at the rear to ensure optimal performance.