Man, I hate this issue. There are no real "right" answers here and find that frustrating. It depends on you and your relationship with your Rover. Some people suggest super swampers, while others suggest road tires. The real fact of the matter is that many of our Rovers don't drive long enough distances to actually wear out the tires. They will crack first from the sun. But regardless, nothing makes a Rover look more sexy and more cheerful than a good set of treads.
Narrow or Wide:
Personally I like the more original look of the old LandRovers. That means tall and narrow tires by today's standards. Since the 7.0" or 7.5" tires are not readily available as steel belted radials, the closest modern equivalents are:
15" rims: 235, 75, R15
16" rims: 235, 85 (or 75), R16 What do the numbers mean?
Note the 16" rims are taller and make the car look definately more "LandRovery." They also seem to reduce the power (a physics lever arm thing) and do not corner as well.
If you like them wide so they can float over deep mud or sand be careful. Old original Rover rims are very narrow by today's standards and will not support those modern wide tires. Many people buy newer Rover rims or rims from a Discovery so that wider tires can be placed on the car. (Early series vehicles may not be able to accept these rims since the lugs are smaller. Check into this if you need wider tires.) During the 70's and early 80's people welded up wide custom rims -- I've gotten two pair of these but as yet I’m not interested in them -- they are definately out there.
Original Rover tires had tubes. Most modern tires are steel belted and not designed to accommodate tubes. The problem is that the tire can not dissipate the heat correctly if a tube is inserted (or so I am told.) The older antique tires that are polyester belted can dissipate the heat and are made to run tubes, the 7.0 by 16 variant. (The reason that the dumb tinny spare on your car is 50 mph rated is because it too cannot dissipate the heat. I was always curious then if your could put tubes in steel belted radials since Rovers don't go that fast -- tire guys write in if you know the answer.)
Tubes are cool because Rover rims tend to rust especially around the valve stems and then the air leaks out. Tubes don't do this so I like them but “no” says the local tire guy.
Tire Brands & Types:
This decision really comes down to how much your Rover is off road and how much tire noise you can accept (also cost). Generally, I have owned relatively pricy, medium grade, all terrain's like the:
B.F. Goodrich All-Terrain T/A, Michelin LTX A/T (Now with a less visually stimulating tread design), Goodyear Wrangler A/T, or
Dunlop Radial Rover RV. My friend Dave has the Dunlop Radial Rover RV and with a name like Rover you can't go wrong. Seriously, they seem great and have gotten really positive reviews from many other LandRover people. If I bought another pair of all around Rover tires, it would be them.
For LittleCar I recently took a risk and decided to try mud terrain's with the knobs galore. I bought Continental Mud-Terrain's (a cheaper version of B.F. Goodrich Radial Mud Terrain T/A.) They grab almost too well, ripping up the yard but look terrrrrrrrific! At speeds less than 45mph they are not too noisy -- above that they can get loud. Dave also has a D90 with the original stock 265, 75, R16? B.F. Goodrich Radial Mud Terrain T/A. At 65mph they are defining with a soft top and unless you routinely do serious off-roading I would not suggest them.
Its the classic looks vs. function dilemma. Remember if you run the car as a soft top loud tires get even worse. Good Luck! One of the many good place to look at tires on the web is www.tirerack.com (Search by tire type and then see all-terrain and then maximum traction.) They have great pictures so you can see what the different tread patterns look like. Remember the Californians, tires are about attitude and attitude is usually all in the head.
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