Wednesday, July 11, 2012
Of small tires and economy cars
Recently, I posed the question to the Subcompact Culture Facebook page about who had the car with the smallest tires. I think the smallest was a 4.8-8" tires on a Messerschmitt mini car. Next smallest was 165/70/10 on the Micro Image Subaru 360.
The smallest tires I personally had were 145/80/12 on our 1979 Honda Civic 1200. That thing cut through the snow like a hot knife through butter, as evidenced by the video we shot of it in college. Other "small rollers" I remember having were the 175/70/13 tires on our Dodge Colts (yes, we were repeat offenders) growing up.
This got me to thinking: What's the smallest sized tire currently available on the U.S. market? Diameter wise, I believe that goes to the 14" wheels/tires available on the Hyundai Accent. In fact, I think it's the only 2012 to come with 14s wrapped in 175/70/14 tires.
Width wise, the Mitsubishi i has the narrowest rollers at 145/65/15 on the fronts.
It's amazing to me how 15s and 16s are now standard fare on the vast majority of small cars, when not that long ago (as late 1995) you could still buy a Geo Metro with 145/80/12 tires, and in the '80s, there were plenty of cars on 13s.