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Tech Tips

330 GTC Tires

By Dyke W. Ridgley

FML Tech Tip
No. 5.26.140

Printed in FML V17#12


"I am a subscriber and have been for many years, and I own a 330 GTC. The manual calls for 205/14 or 210/14 tires, which are not readily available except at outrageous prices. Could you recommend a VR alternative… or perhaps a tire that is not a VR?


In a word, yes, there are alternatives to the high prices, limited availability Michelin XWX in size 205 x 14. But first, a bit of history. 275s and 330s were originally built with 20 or 210 x 14 Pirelli or Dunlop tires, with a few using the Michelin XVR at the very end of the production run. These tires were "82" series, meaning that the sidewall height was 82% of the cross section measurement (basically height divided by width equaled .82). As mod4rn high-performance tires have evolved, this "aspect" ration has been steadily reduced to 70,60,55,50 and now even as low as 3 on some tires. Unfortunately, not only do these tires negatively affect the looks of older Ferraris, but they also lower the whole car, thus reducing what is already a marginal amount of ground clearance.

The Pirelli Cinturato HS and Dunlop SP tires are long gone, and the Michelin XWX has, for years, only sporadically available. The high cost of the XWX can also be a factory for those drivers who don’t really need its 150 mph sustained speed capabilities.

However, Michelin makes a tire called the XH. This tire is "S" speed rated (112 mph sustained) and has a 75% aspect ratio. A check of specifications shows that the original 205 x 14 XWX rolled 778 times to cover one mile, while a 21/ x 14 XH rolls 777 times. This means that the tires are dimensionally almost identical. The newer XH does have about ¾" greater tread width, but easily clears the wheel wells of both 275s and 330s.

The XH is a whitewall (don’t laugh), but can be mounted with the white sides to the inside. For years, I have used its predecessor, the XWW on our 275s with great success. They look right, handle sustained 112 mph cruising and corner surprisingly well (a 275 GTS on these tires will stick with a Porsche 928 on Pirelli P-7s).

I’m sure there are other lower-cost alternatives available; just make sure the overall tire dimensions match the original XWXs.

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