Racing rubber - Morley's VH Commodore Hillclimber

By: Dave Morley, Photography by: Dave Morley

Presented by

tyre fitting 1 tyre fitting 1

Popular usage says things are getting serious when the rubber hits the road. Brace yourself, Morley...


New tyres for Project Hillclimber VC Commodore

Tyred and emotional? That’s me at the minute. Tyred, because I’ve finally found a set of super-sticky hoops for the hillclimb Commodore. And emotional because they cost me an arm and a leg.

Okay, I’ll 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 don’t own a set of tyre-warmers.

R -rated -tyres

At most hillclimbs, you’re allowed to do one burnout to heat up the rear bags, but the fronts are still going to be colder than a mother-in-law’s kiss as you hurtle into the first braking area. So you want something that gets hot – and sticky – fast. The solution, according to those in the know (my mates at Widetread Tyres in Ferntree Gully) is a Yokohama called an A050. So that’s what I ordered.

Apparently these things are pretty much up to temp by the second corner, but there’s a caveat: They’re so soft, you shouldn’t be tempted to do a full track-day on them, because that’ll kill them. The wear rate is so high thanks to the gloopy compound that they just won’t appreciate being taken out of their temperature comfort zone. Warning heeded.

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 won’t find 30-series rubber on those. And in all the time I’ve been hanging around hillclimbs and club motorsport, I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything quick on a low-profile tyre, either. We’ll see how that theory plays out.

Tyre -size -and -rating

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. I’m tipping they’re going to be pretty horrendous in the wet, but I’ll burn that bridge when I get to it.

The big question that has been thrown up now, however, is whether it’s 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, we’re now leaning towards the latter. That will slow us down by a few weeks or months, but I reckon it’ll be worth turning up to the track the first time not having to worry about nursing an old nail through the weekend. And I’m kinda busy right now, anyway, so waiting a bit longer won’t worry me.

Tyre -fitting -2

In the meantime, the old girl has come up so nice, I reckon it’s time to do a proper photo shoot and let you lot have a look at how she’s turned out. I’m pretty proud of what I’ve managed to come up with, and hopefully it’ll inspire UC readers to get out and have a crack as well.


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