2017 Ford Fusion Hybrid Review

The rental car I had for my recent trip to Texas was a 2017 Ford Fusion Hybrid.   Like with my recent Challenger rental, I had the opportunity to choose any car in a certain section.   Unlike the last choice, the choices were not nearly as appetizing.

I had only rented an intermediate class car, so most of what was available was particularly unpleasant looking ‘crossovers’.    These were immediately ruled out.   That left me with either the choice of two different pickup trucks, or a Chevy Malibu or the Fusion Hybrid.   I might have been in Texas, the spiritual home of the pickup, but I had no need for such a vehicle.   Pickps are lousy to drive unless you need to haul a bunch of stuff in the back.  That ruled out the pickups.    I rented the Malibu recently, so the least worst option was the fusion.

Ford Fusion Hybrid

Like many modern cars, the Fusion has extremely raked windscreens.   Visibility is not great until you put the seat down to its lowest setting.      After that, the visibility was pretty good.     It would want to be as the reversing camera has this tiny little baby screen.     The infotainment system was a real let down in this car.   I could plug in my iPhone and it would detect it, after a while.   The system was really sluggish and you would need to wait a bit after the car was turned on before it would recognize the phone.     Sometimes getting it to do so would require the media button to be pressed a few times to clear the error messages about no phone connected via bluetooth.     Randomly, the whole unit would lock up and the phone had to be removed and plugged back in to reset it.

The Ford Fusion Hybrid comes equipped with a 2.0l Duratec 4 cylinder motor.   It sounds rather gruff when pushed, but is adequate to power the car.   It is also equipped with an electric motor for the hybrid system.   I didn’t find the electric motor much use though.   Even feathering the throttle on takeoff caused the petrol engine to kick in.   I could only get the car to say on electric either when coasting at a constant speed below 45mph, or on trailing throttle.

Being a hybrid, it got better fuel consumption figures around town than on the highway.   The hybrid system works better in constant stop/go traffic where the regenerative braking comes into play.   I suspect it actually causes the car to be less efficient at motorway speeds as it just adds weight to the vehicle.     Overall, I experienced 36mpg out of the car.    One of the trip meters still had a few thousand miles since reset and over that time the car was getting 37mpg.   I wonder how much the hybrid system really adds to this in the real world.   The official figure is 47mpg, which seems laughable.

The car prompts you to try and embrace the hybrid lifestyle.  You can change the contents of the display screens either side of the speedometer.   These can show things like acceleration and brake coaches to try and improve mileage.    The strangest thing though was a feature called efficiency leaves.   As far as I could tell, by driving the way the car liked, you could earn more leaves and by driving in a way the car disapproves you would lose them.    It was like Jack had a feral beanstalk.    No longer is an axe required, just a Ford Fusion Hybrid driven like a granny.    Feral beanstalks aside, the most annoying part was the message thanking you for driving a hybrid after you powered down the car.    This has to be up there with some of the particularly annoying greetings some cars provide.

Ford Fusion Hybrid

Boot space is reasonable, but a very odd shape.   Not sure if this is the case for all Fusions, or if this is to do with the Hybrid batteries or drivetrain.   Interior comfort is fairly average, back seat room was ok with the front seat set for a tall drive, but not great.    The best feature was the side mirrors.   they had a little section in the corner with curved glass to help show you what is in the blind spots.   Once you got used to them the worked really well.   if only all cars have this.

The ride was choppy and the car bounced all over the place on a somewhat rough road.   I suspect that has something to do with the trend of fitting bigger and bigger wheels to cars.   No give in the tyres anymore.   This is a family sedan, not a 911.

Overall the Ford Fusion Hybrid is reasonably competent, but the fuel mileage is not as good as it should be in the real world.   It is generally uninspiring to drive.    It is certainly much better than that EcoSport I drove last year.     The 2019 Fusion will be the last regular car in Ford’s line up as they move to an all SUV/Truck strategy (Mustang excluded).   Apparently the name may be re-used for something else.   Seems a shame for it to all end on something rather boring.

Score:  2.5/5

Clifton Classic Chassis Auto Museum

The final stop for my North Texas car museum road trip was the Clifton Classic Chassis Auto Museum.    I managed to get to the Museum at just after 4PM, giving me just under an hour to check it out.   You wouldn’t want any less time – there are about 30 cars as well as an interesting art collection.   The art collection has objects that date back to 800BC.

The museum is open once a week on Saturdays and the owner is on hand to talk about his collection.   I found him to be very friendly and he told me about the art collection and the cars, and how he accumulated both over the years.    Apparently he originally kept the collection in Dallas, but after he retired he returned to Clifton and bought a disused grocery store to start the museum.

The theme of the collection is American luxury.   All but three of the cars are part of the owner’s collection.   In particular there is a great collection of Cadillacs.   There are three 1960 models lined up for comparison.   1960 is my favorite year, I really enjoy the fins with the built in tail lights.    There are also some nice models from the 50s and 70s.

The cars at the museum are all working, they are started and moved weekly and taken on drives from time to time.   I find it a shame when museums don’t use their cars and let them deteriorate through lack of use.

There is a really striking 60s Oldsmobile, the head turning Mercury turnpike cruiser, a Corvette, Buicks, Lincolns and more.    Some of these are the models that are not seen as much anymore, the four door cars are often used up and not saved.  I enjoy 50s and 60s American luxury.  The trip to the Clifton Classic Chassis Auto Museum was well worth it.

 

Weatherford Vintage Car Museum

Second stop on my North Texas car museum road trip was the Weatherford Vintage car museum, event center and grill.   The museum is right down from the rather impressive town hall in Weatherford.    It is housed in a rather impressive looking restored building.    As well as the museum, there is an event center, and a diner style restaurant.

There are about 15 cars in the main museum, and other 10 in the restaurant.    There didn’t seem to be a particular them with the main museum collection, although they did have quite a few pre-war Fords.    Also in the collection was a ‘what if’ 1958 Edsel and some other American luxury products including a Pierce-Arrow.    Surprisingly there was a pre-war Alvis there too.

As with the Horton, this museum had the same Donald Trump mannequin.   Somebody must have been making some money selling these in Texas after the campaign.

I stopped for lunch at the grill and had a quite good burger.  It was quite busy so took a bit longer than I was hoping – I had another museum to get to!

The cars behind the restaurant had more of a Celebrity/movie theme.    There was LBJ’s car, as well as a bunch of movie cars, including a Packard used in The Godfather.   Off to the side was a Trabant, which seemed somewhat out of place.

Overall the museum was worth a stop along the way on the tour although it didn’t have the wow factor of the Horton.

Horton classic car museum

The first stop on my North Texas car museum road trip was the Horton classic car museum in Norcona.    Nocona is about 90 minutes Northwest of Dallas.   The museum is located in a restored Oldsmobile dealership.   It’s not far from the rather nice looking main street of Norcona.    The museum also had a lot of period memorabilia on the walls which give it a nice atmosphere.

The highlight of the Horton classic car museum is the Corvette collection.   The museum has an example (and sometimes multiple) of practically every model year from 1953 to 1973.   They also have a couple of pace cars of the later years.

I’m only somewhat familiar with Corvettes so it was nice to see the evolution of the model over the years.   They even  have some of the rare early Corvettes with the six cylinder engine right up to low production performance models from later year.

The Corvette always seemed to the the place GM innovated the most, perhaps with the exception of the Corvair.   Certainly the Corvette was first with tech like independent rear suspension, fuel injection, disk brakes and so on for GM.  it was also very competitively priced for what you got.    This is continued in the unveiling of the new C8 corvette with its mid-engined layout and dual clutch transmission, all for $60k USD.   GM even went to the extreme where restrictions were placed on other divisions so they didn’t compete with the Corvette.

I have tried to arrange the photos chronologically.  I have also photographed the descriptions for the Corvettes.

The tour starts with the C1.    My favorite C1’s have always been the 1956-1957 models.   I still have a 1:18 model of a 1957 in aqua with white coves.   Looks great.     By then the manual transmission was standard, and late 57’s could even have a four speed.   A two speed powerglide is not exactly appealing in a sports car.     The later C1s wih the dual headlights and more bling are not as appealing for me, but they do have more options available and are cheaper to buy.

The C2 is my favorite generation of Corvette, in particular the coupe.   While the split window is cool, I would go with one of the later cars.   I don’t think it’s worth the quite large price premium.    I’ve heard they are not great for tall drivers, but the reviews say that too about S1 E-types, and I fit fine.     The C2 was really the birth of the Corvette as a true sports car with IRS, disc brakes, more powerful engines and the performance options like the Z06.

The C3, based on the Mako shark inspired concept car, introduced the T-Top.   The Horton Classic car museum actually has the first T-Top car from 1968.    They also have examples of the C3 right until 1973.

The rest of the front two rooms are Chevrolet products, mostly with a performance spin.    You can tell the owner is a big fan of Chevy performance products from the 60s in particular.     Somewhat out of place is a Donald Trump mannequin..   Its not a particularly good likeness, you wouldn’t really know except for the red tie and red baseball cap.

The second room has a more varied collection.   There is still somewhat of a performance bent, but there is also some American luxury.    My favorites in this room are the two pre-war Packards.   I’m a big fan of these cars.     There is an early 30s dual cowl Phaeton and a Packard 12 club sedan.    Outside the really expensive open toped cars, the Club Sedan is the one you want as most of the four door cars are big limo bodies.

The Horton classic car museum was a great place to spend two hours and now it was time for the next stop on the North Texas car museum road trip, The vintage car museum in Weatherford.

North Texas car museum road trip

I have been in the Dallas, Texas area over the last few days for work.   A free Saturday with the use of a rental car meant looking for an interesting way to fill it.    I came across the a web page for The Ultimate North Texas Car Museum Road trip Guide.     This piqued my interest – being the middle of Summer in the North Texas area, an indoor activity would be preferable.    It also allowed me to see more of Texas outside of the big cities where I spend most of my time.

The guide lists four museums, and challenges the reader to visit all four in a day!  I wasn’t sure all four would be possible, but even two or three would be a great day out.   The museums are listed below and the links point to photos and descriptions of each museum:

  1. Horton Classic Car Museum – Nocona
  2. Vintage Car Museum, Event Center and Grill – Weatherford
  3. Terrill Antique Car Museum – De Leon
  4. Clifton Classic Chassis Museum – Clifton

The Horton is the largest and opens at 9AM, so it is the starting point.     I left a little later than planned, around 8am, which got me to the museum at 9:30.    Once i got to the Horton Museum, all plans of a quick browse and on to the next one went out the window.   Even seeing a low quality Donald Trump mannequin, replete with red baseball cap wasn’t going to make this a short visit.     The first half the collection is all Chevrolet and in particular the Corvette.     If you want to see an example of practically all model years of pre-emissions Corvette, this museum is the place to come.    There are also some other very nice cars in the collection.

C1 Corvette

 

From there, the next stop was Weatherford.   I didn’t leave the Horton until after 11am.  At that point I was already assuming that all four North Texas museums were probably out of the question.

I did loose some time being pulled over by a Texas State Trooper.   The rather empty road I was driving on had dropped down to 65 from 75 for no apparent reason I continued at around 80.    Luckily I escaped with a warning and chastened, I continued on.

The Vintage Car Museum is three facilities in one.    There is a small museum of about 15 cars, a space for events and a diner with about 10 more cars in the back.  Like the Horton, they also have their very own Donald.   There didn’t seem to be a particular theme to the main museum, with everything from pre-war fords, pierce arrow, Cadillac and even an Alvis!  The diner cars seemed to have more of a celebrity theme, with a few movie cars and one that once belonged to LBJ.    There was also a Trabant.    I partook in a good American burger at the diner,  and by about 2:30PM was ready to go again.

LBJ's car

The next stop was supposed to be De Leon for the Terrill Antique car museum.   This museum is the smallest of the four and closed at 4PM.   I decided to skip it and head straight to Clifton.     The webpage I found these museums is not that clear on the opening hours of this museum. I found it to be 5PM on a facebook page.

I arrived at Clifton about 4PM, giving me almost an hour to browse this museum.    The Clifton Classic Chassis Museum is a private collection owned by a retired gentleman who had grown up in the area.   He purchased a disused grocery story to house it and brought it down from Dallas after he retired.     The theme of this museum is American Luxury and the friendly owner was on hand to talk a little about his collection.     He also has a rather impressive art collection housed under the same roof.

Clifton

The drive back from Clifton was uneventful and I was back at my hotel just before 7PM.     It was a very full, but enjoyable day.     I had assumed that driving in this area of Texas would be a little like Australia but it is much greener.   My only other road trip in the Texas area was through the panhandle and that is a much more arid area.

Overall I was driving for more than six and a half hours and coved at least 370 miles.     I would recommend this drive for any car enthusiast staying in the Dallas area.    The trip (pictured below) takes you on a big circuit through some nice looking little towns, often with lovely looking buildings on the main street.  Especially some really ornate town halls.    There were quite a few unused buildings I saw that looked like great candidates for a conversion to a car enthusiast’s workshop.

North Texas car musum tour 2109

16th Cars that time forgot car show

I was in Madison, Wisconsin last weekend and had a few hours to spare.   I also had use of a rental car, which gave me the opportunity to travel further afield.    Back when I lived in America, there were interesting car shows all through summer I used to attend.   About an hour away was the Cars that time forgot car show, in Delavan WI.

This show was pretty typical of the ones I used to attend.  Owners from the area bring their interesting cars for a display day.   The scale of the population within driving distance meant that over 1,000 cars were in attendance.

Generally at these shows the most common type of car is American cars from the 50s to 80s, and in particular muscle cars like Pontiac GTOs, Camaros and so on.   Back when the Australian dollar was high in the mid 2000’s many American cars were imported to Australia.   In nearly all cases, these were the really well known cars like the Mustang, Corvette and Camaro.   Going to a show like this allowed me to see some of the more interesting models.

In particular, this show had a large continent of Corvairs and Pontiacs.   The Corvair is an extremely interesting car.    It was one of the most daring and interesting cars ever produced by General Motors.   Sadly, it is mostly remembered for being the first example in Ralph Nadar’s book ‘Unsafe at any speed’.   That book would go on to cover issues in the entire industry, but being first the Corvair was always the model associated.    I’m a big fan of the styling of the later coupe models and would be very happy to have one in my garage.

Pontiac is a now defunct brand of General Motors.   In its heydey it was GM’s performance brand and the GTO is the best known of these.   The GTO is known as ‘The Goat’ and was the brainchild of John Delorean.   One particularly memorable GTO model is ‘The Judge’.    The Judge is a good example of the sorts of performance packages that were offered at the time, and the irreverent advertising, featuring ads such as ‘The Judge can be bought”.

It was a nice day out to go and walk through the Cars that time forgot car show.   It was even better to drive there in my Dodge Challenger rental car.  I was even asked if I was an exhibitor as I drove into the show!   There are not too many rental cars that would get that question.

 

2018 Dodge Challenger R/T Review

Driving should be fun, despite what the proponents of the nanny state might say.   No car is perfect, but a car that has character, and a sense of fun will make the little annoyances seem insignificant.   This is what is missing in many current cars – no character, no fun, just like an appliance.    The 2018 Dodge Challenger R/T has loads of character and is a lot of fun.   This makes its many foibles seem pretty unimportant.

2018 Dodge Challenger R/T

The Dodge Challenger was my latest rental car.   This is the easily the best rental car I have ever had.    Normally, I rent an intermediate size car, and am issued with something rather bland from the car rental place.   On this most recent rental, a full size was actually $1 cheaper than the normal intermediate.   My expectation was just a larger serving of blandness – perhaps four boiled potatoes instead of three.

When I rocked up to the rental desk at Chicago O’Hare airport, I was told I could choose any car in a particular section.   On arriving at that section, I see a row of gormless SUVs to choose from.    Oh joy.   But wait, at the end of the row is a white Dodge Challenger.    At this point I am assuming its the base model with the 3.6l Pentastar v6.    Its still a Challenger and a easy choice over the row of jellybeans in front of it.

Starting the car up I get a very un-pentastar like snarl from the exhaust.   It’s at that point I realize I have a R/T model with the 5.7 Hemi v8.    I had just arrived in Chicago from a 24+ hour set of flights from Sydney, and was not looking forward to the two hour drive up to Wisconsin.    Perhaps this drive was going to be better than I thought?

My first impression was the sheer size of the Dodge Challenger.   This thing is enormous.    It is slightly longer and a lot wider than the 80’s S-Class I normally drive.    Not only does it have a very long bonnet, but the dashboard is so wide you could land the 777 I had just flown in on that dashboard.    It also has a slightly claustrophobic cabin as the waist line is quite high so the windows are not very tall.   You sort of feel like you’re sitting in a pill box.    There are also massive rear blind spots, you could easily fit that same 777 in them.    If you lower the seat as far as it will go it feels a lot better though.

The car’s size and generally poor visibility do take a few minutes to get used to, but it wasn’t long before I was quite comfortable in the car.    The 5.7 V8 is rated at 277KW, and honestly it’s all you need if you’re going to be driving on public roads.    It has all the power you need to rocket up freeway on ramps, get around recalcitrant Buicks and have a lot of fun without going speeds that will land you in prison for the rest of your natural life.

There are more powerful versions including the 6.4 litre ‘Scat Pack’ and the insane Hellcat.   The Hellcat in particular seems more suited for he drag-strip.

The 2018 Dodge Challenger comes equipped with an eight speed automatic transmission.   I always felt I was in the right gear for the occasion and the part throttle kick down was very good.   There was the occasional slight jerkiness but nothing that I found too annoying.    Event better, no stop/start!

The number of gears also mean you get that feeling of being pushed in the back when you put your foot down at any speed because there is always an optimal gear to be in.   It also makes the car more fuel efficient than it has any right to be.   In 8th gear, the car is loping along at 2,000RPM when cruising at 80MPH (129km/h).    With plenty of use of the loud pedal, I got 23mpg, which is impressive for a car of this size and power.   it also comes equipped with cylinder de-activation.   This enables it to run on 4 cylinders when conditions allow.

I was also impressed by the exhaust note.   On gentle cruising there was no annoying droning like having Alan Jones in your ear.   Above 3,000 RPM is a different story.   There is a great v8 snarl when you launch the car, tempting you to do so early and often.

The ride is not great.   It is rather choppy and even small cracks and bumps in the road are transferred to the cabin.    This is all the more apparent driving on the pockmarked roads of the midwest.

The Dodge Challenger is not a sports car.   It’s too wide, too heavy and really more set up for straight line performance.   But it is a lot of fun.   I had some drives the next day on country roads and enjoyed every minute.    I do like a good V8 coupe. I’ve owned four of them, and still have two, the 450SLC and the 560SEC.   It would seem that others do as well.  I had a couple of people comment on how much they liked the car. This surprised me since the Challenger has been on the market for ten years and is reasonably common.    A car doesn’t have to be rare or expensive to be desirable.

On the inside, there is a lot of room for the front seat passengers.    The controls are well laid out and the audio and climate controls are intuitive.   Instead of having to set anything up, once I plugged my iPhone into the car it found the music and allowed me to play what was there.   Too easy!

Dodge Challenger Interior

I found the speedometer quite hard to read.   This can be remedied by changing the centre screen display.   Having the speed there does mean that you miss out on other useful information that is available like fuel consumption, acceleration times etc.    There is even more info available including oil pressure, oil temperature, charge rate, water temperature etc.

The back seat allows for three people, rare in a coupe.   They would have to be small ones though.   It is hard to find where all the space in this car goes.   The back seat is tiny and the boot is average.   I think its all dashboard.

The interior materials are reasonable for a car of this price range. The seats have ok, but not amazing comfort.

This car would have cost in the mid to high USD$30,000 range.   I think that is pretty good value for what you’re getting.   There are other fit and finish issues with this car, but again given how much fun it is, and how reasonable the price is, they are easily ignored.    For example, there is a fair amount of wind noise from the mirrors when driving at interstate speeds.

In summary, the Dodge Challenger is a big fast brute of a car.   But its a lot of fun.    I really enjoyed driving it despite some of its little foibles.    Lets have more cars like this and fewer SUVs.    The world would be much more fun.

Sadly, cars like this are going away.   The car companies are trying to tell us we want smaller engines with a turbo charger.   I say no!

Rating: 4/5.

CTEK MXS 5.0 battery recondition mode

My E-Type has a habit of eating batteries.   I seem to get about 2-3 years out of them before they struggle to start the car when cold.   You might be thinking that these batteries are left discharged all the time – but not so!  The E-Type is connected to a trickle charger when not in use and is parked indoors in a moderate climate.

I think there are a few reasons for this.   Firstly, the battery is quite small, and like many things on the E-Type is under specified for the car.   The series 1 radiator fan is the classic example of this.   The small battery was probably primarily for cost, and secondarily for space.   Secondly, the Lucas starter is now over 60 years old and is not as efficient as it once was.     It is trying to turn over a long stroke 4.2 liter inline six, and the battery is too wimpy for the job,

I have three battery chargers.   The primary one is a CTEK MXS 5.0.   This is quite a nice charger, it has a 5A capacity, readouts to show what charge mode it is on, an AGM function and a recondition function.

I’ve tried the recondition function a couple of times with only moderate success.   Out of 3 attempts, only one of them has made a measurable difference on the battery.   In that case, I had left the door ajar on the 300SE.   After a jump start the NRMA cautioned me the battery needed replacement.   I confirmed this with my battery tester, but after running the recondition mode there was a big improvement.     The other two times the result was either same, or in one of them a bit worse.

There was really nothing to loose in trying the recondition mode on the E-Type battery as I planned to replace it.   I have a Solar BA5 battery tester which outputs the CCA rating of the battery when you plug it in.   The battery in the E-Type is rated at 620CCA.   Before the recondition, the output was 325CCA.   No wonder it was struggling to start the car!

Solar Battery Tester

After the test, I plugged in the CTEK MXS 5.0 battery recondition mode and left it for 24 hours.    The battery was indicating 13.7 volts, so it had charged.   The recondition mode had not done much, with the final output a dismal 344CCA.

CTEK MXS 5.0 recondition mode

My conclusion is that if the battery is otherwise good, but has suffered a major discharge, this recondition mode can make a big difference.   If the battery is otherwise on its way out, it really has no impact.     Before I replace this battery I want to research AGM batteries to see if that will work better in this car.   2-3 years does not seem enough in my book.    I also want to add a better disconnect switch and connection for the CTEK charger.   This would be similar to the 250SE.

End of financial year tyre sales

At least in Australia, by far the best month of the year to buy tyres is June.   Both the tyre retailers and manufacturers offer attractive end of financial year sales.    Most people don’t realize, but tread wear is not the only reason to replace tyres.   As the rubber ages, it hardens.   Once the tyres harden the handling, particularly in the wet is compromised.

When I first purchased by 250SE I nearly spun it in the rain on an innocuous corner.   The tread in the tyres looked fine, and I had thought no more of it.   But on closer inspection they were about 15 years old.   The car was much better after I replaced them.   It is now the same situation with the E-Type, those tyres were from 2006 and they were terrible in the wet and even squealed in the dry.     Even worse, the 300SE had an unmatched set of Pirellis with the wrong size on the front axle.   They were also old and getting unsafe.

The general rule of thumb is that Tyres should be replaced before they are 10 years old and preferably earlier.    On classic cars that do limited miles, that means the tyres are being replaced with plenty of tread.    They are still worn out though.

My experience has been that at least on the sort of cars I drive, very high end expensive tyres are not worth the extra money.   I’m sure they are worth it on modern high performance cars though.   I’ve also found ultra budget tyres to be a false economy, but the midrange tyres generally work reasonably well, especially when treadwear is not the primary concern.    On the family E350 that my wife primarily drives, I sprang for Michelins as it makes more sense on that car.

I also wanted to save the two best tyres currently on the 300SE as spares.   I needed a spare for both the W126’s.   The 300SE stil had its original made in West Germany Michelin MXV on an unused steel wheel.   The car was original sold with steelies and plastic hubcaps, with the alloys fitted later.    The spare on the 560 was flat and bald.   The MXV would be great for a concours car on display but is not suitable as a road going tyre.

Michelin MXV

I had some spare alloy wheels, of which I picked the best two.    These are the wheels that originally came on the 560SEC.    The wheels with the worst curb rash will become the spares and I will still have a set to have refinished at some point.

On the 300SE I went with Hankook Optimo K415 205/65R15.   These are the correct size for the car and after the special were only $317 for a set.   This brought them down into the budget tyre territory on price.

Hankook

This also gave me the opportunity to put on the correct lug bolts for the W126.    These have little extensions to make sure the ends sit flush with the wheel.    They look much better.  However, I have noticed is that the bolts are flush with the rear wheels, but not quite on the fronts.   I have not yet fully investigated this, but what it looks like is that the alloy wheels on the 300SE are aftermarket.      After a quick look at the two I took off as spares, I noticed they do not have a Mercedes part number on them and were made by Borbet.    I will need to research the difference in those wheels.

The E-Type was still sporting Sumitomo 205/65R15 wheels from when I purchased it.   The E-Type has upgraded 6″ Dayton wire wheels, instead of the the standard 5″.   This means the standard 185R15 tyres are probably a bit too narrow.   I first looked at a 195 wide tyre.   In that size, the ratio should be 75 which is a very irregular size.    In 205, the ratio should be 70, which is not common, but much more available.    There are a number of light truck tyres in this size, which must be avoided.

On the E-Type I also went for the Hankooks.   The Michelin’s in the size were an SUV tyre and quite expensive.    The Hankook’s are 205/70R15 H308’s, a passenger car tyre.    I got a whole set for just over $400, with the end of financial year promotion.   I will see how they go, but already they were a big improvement driving the car back from the tyre place.

After these latest tyres, the oldest set in the fleet is from 2015, which should last me a few more years at least.

Auto Brunch St Ives June 2019

Auto Brunch is a monthly cars and coffee event only 10 minutes from where I live.   I stopped by the June event today.   This is an interesting event in that while there appear to be some regulars there is also a lot of variety in the cars you see each time.   As you would expect given the production volume, the MGB was the most popular car there.   Even with the MGB you get a bit of variety comparing roadsters, MGB GT, rubber nose etc.    This time, it appeared that the Austin Healey club owners must have arranged to go as they were well represented with about 10 cars.   There was also a good showing of Alfa Romeo and Porsche.

Probably the most striking car was the 1961 De Soto.   De Soto is not a well known brand in Australia.  It is a former Brand of Chrysler that slotted in between Plymouth and Dodge.   The family resemblance was there for the more famous Chrysler products of the year like the 300G.      As I was leaving there was also a nice D Special arriving that I went back to photograph.     At the event, there was a modern Ferrari parked near a MGB.   The size difference of sports cars was striking.   The Ferrari looked rather bloated compared to the MGB.

The representation of Classic Mercedes was a bit thin on the ground.   There was a nice 190SL, a 107 SL with a body kit, and a /8 that had been unfortunately slammed and bagged.    I went in my 450SLC so I could take two of my children who enjoyed walking around and choosing which of the cars they liked the most.  Last time I took the 300SE, but back in November of last year I was there in the SLC.   There were a couple of Classic Jaguars, but only the one Citroen.