And I’m not talking from a technical aspect here, but from a moral one: Which makes it a much more difficult question to answer.
The thing is, I am furious. Or at least annoyed. Some readers may recall that a first-generation Mazda RX-7 joined the ViaRETRO fleet this spring, and what a lovely car it is – for details see the full story here: My First Wankel: Mazda RX-7 Elford Turbo. Truly a great car and famed of course mostly for the engine, but probably secondly for its balanced handling. I’d like to add the design as well. And there you have it: As a package, a thoroughly lovely car. Also a car which a whole generation remembers for its brilliance as an accomplished (and affordable) sports car.
Only this one was fitted with tyres of a brand called Ambassador. If you can actually call that a brand at all? I have never heard of them before and hope I will never hear of them again. Equally, I haven’t bothered researching their history – if there is such a thing – but have a feeling they might be from India. For obvious reasons. I might be wrong of course. However, I am perfectly right in judging them as truly crappy tyres: On my return trip from Sweden they felt sloppy, noisy and just plain terrible. They weren’t confidence inspiring and I definitely felt no need to exploit the handling of the RX-7. Instead, I felt lucky that it was both warm and dry. Once back home, one also turned out to not hold air.
Yes, I am annoyed! The only positive thing I can think of, is that all four tyres were actually of the same brand, at least resulting in perfectly balanced crappy handling. But honestly: Who on Earth chooses to put tyres like that on a sports car renown for its great handling? There should be a law against it. But as there isn’t (here I am assuming the Ambassadors would satisfy the low performance limits set by legal requirements, although I might be wrong on that) we’re left relying on classic car owner’s moral obligations. And it is rather simple: You just don’t fit crappy tyres to a sports car! Please… Or else!
Or else? Well, I feel a suitable punishment should be to revoke the owner of the privilege to control a sports car. Or rather any car with reputable handling characteristics. Put them in a – say, Morris Marina. Until they have recognized their guilt and requited themselves in some way. Furthermore, the Marina should be fitted with the Ambassadors taken from the offended vehicle – and if their size is incorrect for the Marina? Well, all the better. That’ll teach them.
End of rant.
For today my new Dunlop Sport Classics arrived, and the RX-7 and I are on our way to bliss and happiness again: They are the correct 205/60-13 size for the Elford Turbo alloys, they feel deliciously soft in the compound, and they even look right too – from the traditional pattern to the rounded shoulders. They’re great.
To be honest I would have preferred the recently reintroduced Yokohama Advan HF Type D – the Japanese retro-tyre for many Eighties performance cars. But they are currently still only available in Japan and not yet in the correct size for the Elford Turbo either. Likewise, no modern tyres were available in that size. Which seems very strange to me, as when I was a boy the 205/60-13 was just about the hottest size to be seen on. I wonder what happened, as it appears the size is not that popular anymore and especially not with the speed rating an Elford Turbo requires.
So I chose the Dunlops – the Elford was a British effort after all. They were 4,400 Danish Kroner (520 Pound Sterling / 599 Euro) for a set and not yet fitted. And yes, that’s probably several times the cost of Ambassadors. But I will assert they are also several times better and will contribute to make the RX-7 several times more enjoyable. More on that later, of course. I’ll see to getting them fitted next week and can’t wait to drive the RX-7 with new rubber.
There’ll be a cheap set of used Ambassadors coming up for sale soon, as I guess there’a a market for that as well. Anyone?