Rendez-vous September 1997 – Check your tires!

RSR Rendez-vous September 1997

How Much Is A “Used” Tire Gauge Worth?

Early Saturday morning of the July Driver’s Ed. I checked my tire pressures. It’s sort of a ritual I go through. The left rear tire showed 14 lb. less than I expected. Off with the wheel and oh-oh, two blistered patches smack in the middle of the tread with the carcass visible! I couldn’t see them before because the car was parked right on the area where the tire had gone bad. It’s scary to think what could have happened had I gone out without noticing. My $7 tire gauge almost certainly prevented an expensive incident.

Yokohama Rescue:

So here I am with dead tires and worse yet, the replacement set wouldn’t seat on the rims. Arrgh! The weekend was a write off!. Howard (the tire maven) allowed as how he did have some tires that would fit my car, but they were (shudder) street tires. Still, what choice did I have? Seeing my reluctance, Howard had a brief chat with the Yokohama rep who happened to be present. “If you don’t like them, you can return them” he said. “Heh-Heh” says I, “that sounds like f-r-e-e t-i-r-e-s for the weekend!” Louise looked relieved, probably thinking “at least he won’t whine when he doesn’t win the tires tonight”. She was right of course, I didn’t win. Again. And, for once I didn’t whine, …much

The Talon crew fitted a set of Yokohama AVS-S1Z tires. It’s the new replacement for the AVS Intermediate. Nice compact treadblocks to reduce squirm and two deep grooves take care of evacuating water. Rated Z-Y they’re good for a continuous 300 KPH with a treadwear index of 160. By the way, plain old Z-rated tires are rated only(!) 248 KPH.

So, off I went on f-r-e-e – t-i-r-e-s. Hoo hah! While waiting at pit out I was rehearsing my Sunday afternoon speech. I was figuring that by then, they’d look a lot like used bathing cap straps and I wanted to have just the right words.

“Not bad for street rubber, an ambitious young tire, foxy, slightly long in the nose with a fruity feedback but alas, (sigh) not to my complete liking. Besides, they’re rather worn down at the moment. So sorry.”

OK, so I wasn’t expecting to be impressed. After all, these doughnuts weren’t Ultra-Cosmic high performance rubber. For once, Howard didn’t ask me if I’d like to visit Talon’s Mortgage and Equity Loan Department before discussing the price. No Formula One style curved rain grooves and no rave reports from the enthusiast magazines.

In spite of my misgivings, I was really impressed. Great traction, and lots of feedback. There was a tiny bit of squirm in the first few sessions but much less than I expected. Remember I was comparing back to back with the B.F. Goodrich R1’s I’d been using the day before. By Sunday evening, there were no signs of deterioration and very little wear. So, ditched my “so-sorry” speech and kept them. Price-wise, they’re cheaper than the Bridgestone S02 which is an added bonus. I’ve been told that there is a very flattering track test by the British outfit Tyres-online. For some reason their web-server seems to be dead. If it comes back, try When its up, they have a lot of info on high performance tires.

The Science of Mirror Adjustment:

A newcomer to DEW asked me how he should adjust his rear view mirrors for the track. “Same as for the street” was my answer. I showed him how I prefer to do it and my way was very different from how he had been taught. His were adjusted to be able to see the sides of the car..

Now I may be odd, but I have no idea why anyone would want to see the sides of their own car. My car isn’t going to hit me, but someone else’s might. I use the SAE method. They set the standards for anything to do with cars including the size and location of rear and side view mirrors. Apparently it’s different from what’s taught in high school driving classes. Still if you haven’t tried it, it’s worth a go and you might find it more effective. Here’s how:

Adjust the rear view (inside) mirror to see as much of your rear window as possible.

Put your head against the driver’s side window and adjust the left outside mirror so as to just get a glimpse of the side of your car.

Move your head to the center of the car keeping your shoulders touching the seat back. Adjust the right side mirror to just see a bit of body work.

Done this way, there’s no blind spot. If a car pulls out to pass on either side, the instant he disappears from your rear view mirror he’ll show up in one or the other of your side mirrors. Simple and effective. If you are accustomed to seeing your own car when you glance in the outside mirrors, you may find it disconcerting at first. Give it a chance though and I’m sure you’ll like it. You won’t have to twist your head to see the car in what used to be your blind spot.

Insurance Check:

I’m reminded of this because of the tire incident (above). It’s comforting to know that had I not noticed the damaged tire and pranged the car, my insurance company would cover the cost of repairs. I’m with Chubb and I sent my broker a short fax asking about coverage. They responded quickly in writing to confirm that they were extending it.

Some companies exclude coverage for closed course events. Not targeting Driver’s Ed obviously, but designed to exclude racing, time trails and so on. Still, if you do have a claim, and your policy has similar wording you might find yourself in a bind. Neither the Club nor the track has insurance for such things, so it pays to check in advance.

Porsche 4 x 4 again?

The new Mercedes 4 x 4 is already a success. Apparently there are three year waiting lists for their sport-utility vehicle. As most of us know, Porsche was contemplating making a deal to sell a modified version of the Mercedes ML-320 badged as a Porsche. Apparently the deal broke down perhaps because M-B figured they’d sell all they could make without any help from Porsche thank-you-very-much.

With demand for the Benz-ute outstripping supply and what seems to be an ever growing market segment, Porsche is taking a second look at the idea of a Porsche-ute. Since the whole world is going nuts over those – bad riding; ill-handling; gas guzzling; view blocking; life-style-statement-substitutes for a stationwagon, (tell us how you really feel, Bob) I figured I’d have a whack at what it might be like.

Porsche Truckxster!

Chassis: reinforced 928 body pan with carbon fiber skid plates.

Engine 5.4 litre 32 valve four cam V8 275 HP @ 3800 and 440 lbs/ft @ 2500 RPM

Transmission 5 spd Truck-tronic with wheel mounted paddles. Push button low range selector.

Drivetrain AWD. One computer one per wheel plus a referee.

Suspension Independent F and R with A arms and computer controlled Boingstein shocks.

Body Style 7 door wagon including roof and floor mounted escape hatches.

Wheels Exclusive pattern 17 x 10 fronts, 17 x 12 rears. Anodized brown.

Tires Bridgestone S-O-Trees.

Lighting Dazzle-lux high intensity discharge headlamps;

Brakes 4 piston caliper disc brakes at each wheel. Pagid “brown” pads.

Special Seat cushions removable for use as flotation devices.

Air bags on dash, doors and under occupant seats in case of submersion.

Optional trip computer with fish finder and depth sounder features.

Electrically operated mud flaps at each wheel. Deploy at speeds over 20 KPH. Variable height suspension automatically adjusts over a 14 inch range to maintain ground clearance. Lowers to normal height at 80 KPH or on Tuesdays.

Roof mounted spoiler also doubles as water slide when raining.

32 cup holders, 24 interior.

Options Cruise-tronic speed control. Automatically selects left lane of highway.

One-Lap package with chemical toilet, propane stove and 6’6″ berth. Muddy-sound package.

Driver’s Ed package with front, middle and rear mounted roll bars.

I hope that gives you a flavor for the new product. I wonder if they’ll use any Boxster parts?


Porsche: a cult, a car, but (gimme a break) NOT a truck!

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