Tuesday, July 15, 2008

HMX - new shoes, rolled it out

new tires for the HMX

Oh, I’m so close to driving this thing I can taste it. Earlier this week, I finished up the restoration of the AMC TurboCast II wheels. I detailed the process of cleaning and refinishing these 14-inch aluminum wheels in a tech story that will appear in the September issue of Hemmings Muscle Machines, but we shipped that issue before the tires arrived, so you loyal blog readers get first peek not only at the BFGoodrich Radial T/As that I ordered, but also at the tires mounted to the fresh wheels.

I was kinda apprehensive about ordering a set of BFGs. After all, they’re on every other muscle car out there and the customer survey results over at Tire Rack actually placed the BFGs lower in overall rating than Firestone’s Firehawk Indy 500s. But after flipping through my dealer brochure for the 1979 AMX, I discovered these cars originally came with ER60-14 Goodyear GT Radials, and I don’t think Goodyear even makes a 14-inch tire anymore. To the best of my knowledge, ER60-14 translates in metric size to 225/60-14, and the only manufacturer I see that still makes tires in that size is BFGoodrich.

I can at least console myself with the fact that AMC hooked up with BFGoodrich for the two Nürburgring AMXs. On the other hand, I called up the current owner of the No. 1 Nürburgring AMX and discovered they used 245/60-14 tires. I contemplated stepping up to that size, but in the end went with the safe bet of the 225s. I do have another set of TurboCast II wheels, however…


In the tech story, I didn’t have enough room to mention the finish on the backs of the wheels. The cap on the can of Rust-Oleum claimed it was stainless steel, but it came out looking more like magnesium. Much better look than the 30-year film of brake dust.


I also wasn’t able to show a side-by-side before-and-after shot.


I also wasn’t able to roll the car out into the driveway and show a wheel-on-car shot, so I went ahead and did that. After years of looking at the car in the context of its fixed space in the garage, it was kinda odd to see it out under natural light.

The wheels and engine look good. The rest looks sufficiently hillbilly. Which makes the wheels and engine look that much better. There is a method to my madness.