The seventh-generation Skyline specialty shop R31 House has entered the tire business. Sales have begun on Shiba Tire, a line of performance rubber for older cars. The company campaigns cars in Japan’s D1GP and D1GP Lights drift series, and was motivated by the sheer expense of their tires to make Shibas with an eye toward affordability.
The size lineup includes 215/45R17 and 235/40R17 for cars like the R31 Skyline, 185/60R14 for cars like the AE86, 195/50R15 cars like the Mazda Roadster, and 225/40R14 for cars like the Hakosuka. They look like semi-slicks, but are actually sports radials that come in three compounds, 180 high-grip radials, 240 sports radials, and 380 comfort tires. Prices range from as little as ¥4,700 ($45 USD) to ¥10,700 ($102 USD). Each one comes with Shibata’s trademark lightning bolt tread pattern.
R31 House has been tuning seventh-gen Skylines since 1997. The parent company, Shibata Motor, not only makes parts for R31s and other Skyline models, but a division called R31 World makes radio controlled car parts and bodies as well. The campaigns two cars in the D1GP and D1GP Lights series, and go through about 500 tires per car in a typical season.
So, in 2019 they decided to manufacture their own tires. They teamed up with Chinese tire manufacturer Rydanz to make ultra-cheap tires for their own use. Reportedly, they perform quite favorably compared to more expensive tires from established brands, offering for half the cost performance that’s far above 50 percent.
When word got out at how inexpensive they were, the company was flooded with inquiries. Now they’ve decided to sell them to the public. Shibata hopes that if tires are cheap, it’ll encourage more people to get into drifting. Needless to say, as is the case with many JDM products, it’s not for sale in the US.