TYRED AND emotional?
Thatís me at the minute.
Tyred, because Iíve finally found a set of super-sticky hoops for the hillclimb Commodore. And emotional because they cost me an arm and a leg.
Okay, Iíll start at the start.
With nearly everything else buttoned up on the old girl, it was time to get it rolling around on something other than the original steel rims and Hong Dung Super-Skid radials that it came with when I bought it 18 months ago.
But because the aim is to do hill-climbs rather than 20-lap races, I needed something that would warm up quickly.
And, no, I donít own a set of tyre-warmers.
At most hillclimbs, youíre allowed to do one burnout to heat up the rear bags, but the fronts are still going to be colder than a mother-in-lawís kiss as you hurtle into the first braking area. So you want something that gets hot Ė and sticky Ė fast. The solution, according to those in the know (my mates at Widetread Tyres in Ferntree Gully) is a Yokohama called an A050. So thatís what I ordered.
Apparently these things are pretty much up to temp by the second corner, but thereís a caveat: Theyíre so soft, you shouldnít be tempted to do a full track-day on them, because thatíll kill them. The wear rate is so high thanks to the gloopy compound that they just wonít appreciate being taken out of their temperature comfort zone.
I went with a 15-inch
fitment (as discussed last issue) and the size is a 225/50/15. Now a 50-series sidewall might sound pretty goofy in these days of 30-series tyres, but I reckon a car needs a bit of sidewall to really work properly. Take a look at a (V8) Supercar or a Formula 1 car. You wonít find 30-series rubber on those. And in all the time Iíve been hanging around hillclimbs and club motorsport, I donít think Iíve ever seen anything quick on a low-profile tyre, either. Weíll see how that theory plays out.
And frankly, these Yokohamas are amazing. On a warm day (not that there have been too many of those at the Melbourne Bloke Centre lately) the tread is actually tacky to the touch. And the tread pattern is so minimal, they might as well be slicks.
Iím tipping theyíre going to be pretty horrendous in the wet, but Iíll burn that bridge when I get to it.
The big question that has been thrown up now, however, is whether itís worth tipping hours and dollars into getting the standard engine she came with into any sort of competition shape, or bite the bullet and fit the built engine that was gifted to me by my new mate Nifty Nev from up Yea way. Since the big Holley carby seems to be a bit too much for the stock, wheezy old engine, weíre now leaning towards the latter. That will slow us down by a few weeks or months, but I reckon itíll be worth turning up to the track the first time not having to worry about nursing an old nail through the weekend.
And Iím kinda busy right now, anyway, so waiting a bit longer wonít worry me.
In the meantime, the old girl has come up so nice, I reckon itís time to do a proper photo shoot and let you lot have a look at how sheís turned out. Iím pretty proud of what Iíve managed to come up with, and hopefully itíll inspire UC readers to get out and have a crack as well.