Staggered Tires Pros/Cons

After taking a bit of a high speed run I started wondering to myself “just how old are my tires anyway?”. Was glad that i was pulling in the drive when that particular thought crossed my mind so did not have to change my shorts before checking the DOT code. …1808. Oooops. 19 year old rubber.

Have BFG 215/65r15 on a set of Torque Thrust D 7" and personally want to keep to a white letter tire so choice is pretty limited. BFG is about it without paying Corky way too much for retro.

So for the next set thinking of 225/60R15 front & 235/60R15 rear. Main reason for wanting more rubber in the rear is would rather have go than tire smoke but… don’t want to under-steer off a canyon road.

Old question but have not found an answer specific to 67/68 Cougar GT390s. So. Aside from the limits on tire rotation, any other pros/cons to running a staggered set up in these sizes?

No they are newer first 2 digits are the week they were made second digits are the year so 1808 is 18th week of 2008. But still 9 years old, they 'get old fast. I like staggered more meat on the ground back there.

Staggered is fine if you like that look, want big meats out back for drag racing, etc.

Thing is you are talking about a miniscule difference in width (225 vs. 235), and I would not bother.

For me, staggered tires are all about stance.

There is no easier way to nail a cool stance than with properly sized tires. Think about it, you don’t really even need to get your hands dirty. Lots of guys are shy about getting into changing out coil springs in the front and trying to figure out the science of re-arching rear springs. If you do it with tires you only need to bolt the wheels on, which you would need to do anyway. But I agree, the sizes you’re considering won’t even visually make a difference. I tend to exaggerate the sizes between front and rear, even going so far as going staggered rim sizes too. But that’s just me.

If you carry a spare, errr closer to the size of the smaller tires. You can limp home with a smaller tire on the rear. But steering and alignment becomes a handful with drastically mismatched tires on the front.

Didn’t give you the whole number. The Tire Identification Number for tires produced prior to 2000 was based on the assumption that tires would not be in service for ten years. Mine have the really long number used before 2000. They are 19 years old.

Its a shame Coker’s new Firestone Wide Oval Radials are so expensive. I really like the idea of a vintage look with modern radial construction. But at basically twice the cost of Radial T/As, I can’t see myself pulling the trigger. Plus the (so far) limited selection of sizes doesn’t lend itself to running staggered front/rear sizes very well.
FWIW, I’m currently running 215/70/15 front and 255/60/15 rear tires. Sidewall heights are nearly identical, so unless you look at the car from just the right angle, the stagger isn’t obvious. They work great, no rubbing or issues of any kind. But that’s on a '69. No idea how they’d fit on an earlier Cougar.
Good luck!

Your current 215/65/15 front and a 235/60/15 rear would be a good match. The rears would be noticeably wider, but same diameter so it wouldn’t mess with your ride height/clearance/speedo. Cooper Cobra white letters come in those sizes, and they are a good bit cheaper than the BFGs.

The first digits or letters tell the mfg info the last 4 #'s are the date Ex. these are the DOT numbers on my RS3a’s
DOT U1PAP 1AP is manufacturing info 1811 which are the last 4 digits is the date 18th week of 2011. Before 2000 you had 3 digit dates which were based on decades.

I think that the 215/65/15 tires fill the front wheel well better than the 215/60/15. I have seen both on a 69. I am running 215/65/15 on the front and 235/15/60 on the rear of my 69. I am happy with the handling of that combination. I had a flat on the rear 3 years ago on the way home from Carlisle (valve stem failure). I had to put a smaller 215/65/15 on the rear for the ride home. I didn’t experience any difficulty with handling for the 2 1/2 hour ride but did try to keep it below 75.


I run 215s on the front and 275s on the rear on my 69 and have no issues with how it handles, although I don’t pretend it’s a ferrari around corners either. Another similarilly priced option is the mickey thompson sportsman s/t. White letter tire and priced in the same ballpark as bfg and cooper cobras.

I did pull the trigger on a set with 215/65R15 front and 235/60R15 rear. Nothing to radical but a bit wider tread on the back can’t hurt. That and do expect new ones might grip a bit better than 19 yo rubber.

Thanks for all the input. Really helped.

That is the tire combo I have on my '68 (235 rear/215 front). I think it looks great and you wont be disappointed.