We have rebuilt the engine and gearbox, fitted GT brakes as well as other suitable Rally mods. The car went really well with no real issues other than adjustments and topping up oil.
Over 500 cars enter this event and I must say it really is something very special, even following the 356 around in a Peugeot estate hire car.
The Italian people are wonderfully keen on old cars, even German ones, I love the way they embrace the whole event. They even have family picnics on the middle of roundabouts just to watch the cars go by. Hope you enjoy the pictures. Steve“
A 90 second overview video from the Porsche Club Great Britain’s 996 Tech Seminar, featuring yours truly, Steve Winter.
The Annual 911UK Porsche Awards are the original Porsche Awards that awards excellence in the Porsche UK Industry. The awards are an open public vote that includes judged categories, from an expert panel of industry judges. The aim is to recognise excellence and the achievements from across the UK to ensure consumers deal with 1st class companies as part of their Porsche ownership.
“I’m extremely proud of everyone here at Jaz for this achievement,” said Steve Winter. “It’s fantastic to be acknowledged as the UK’s premier independent Porsche specialist.”
“On behalf of all here at Jaz, a big thank you to everyone who voted for us. We hope to see you all at some stage through the coming year!”
Many of our customers cars feature in specialist Porsche magazines, check out this write up on the 964s from the January issue of 911 & Porsche World.
Read the article
Nobody should need an excuse to go to Circuit Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium, but when you can say that it’s to follow a pair of beautifully prepared SWB Porsche 911s, the journey immediately gets more interesting. For the second year running, I was invited to join the team from JAZ Porsche on its way to Spa to watch it push its 911s for six hours, against more than 100 other classic cars in one of the world’s best historic endurance races.
After an 8 hour journey across the channel from St. Albans in northwest London to the Ardennes Forest in Belgium, we arrive on old circuit roads surrounding the modern track. Passing by the iconic Masta Kink, we pull in to top up the 911s, where an appropriate sign above reads ‘Bonjour’. Trailers open, the pair are revealed to the rare sunshine of the area, and they show their functionality even in transit. Packed to the brim with spare parts and tools, I can’t help but smile at the thought of these classic race cars about to tackle a race weekend.
They are a gorgeous pair of early examples from 1965, too. Together with matching ‘SWB911’ plates and an almost identical setup from the engineers at JAZ Porsche, the white car owned by Simon Bowrey and red car owned by JAZ’s Steve Winter are no strangers to the circuit with race histories at Goodwood, Silverstone and Spa. Over this weekend’s six hours, each car is to be shared between three drivers, two hour stints a piece.
Prior to Saturday’s race start, we are treated to two full days of unusual sunshine and dry circuit conditions - not the most helpful, considering that we are scheduled for a predominantly drenched six hours. Nonetheless, after a busy open test day getting re-acquainted with the 911s and the circuit, the team manages to qualify both cars within 0.1 seconds of one another.
Before we know it, a dry start to the Six Hours of Spa is upon us, and the cars prepared as best they can slowly edge their way out of garage #43 to join the endurance circus building in the pitlane. I head for the summit at Raidillon - one of the best viewing points at Spa to watch the opening minutes of any race. As the leading GT40s push past, I keep my eyes open for the 911s, who quickly appear amongst a busy stream of cars heading down to Eau Rouge.
Although not the fastest in a straight line, the 911s are certainly entertaining. Carrying speed into Les Combes, their weighted rears swing from side to side next to the opposition as they exit towards Malmedy. Later, I’m impressed to find the red JAZ car trailing closely behind the same GT40 for 3 laps in a row, while the white car dices with an E-type.
As night begins to creep over the Ardennes, the 911s continue to push through the grid, the red car only hampered in its progress by a couple of time-consuming fuel stops. Brake discs glowing and their bright LED identification lights flash by approximately every 3 minutes, it’s a relentless but careful sprint to get the cars home in the dark.
Just like that, it’s 10PM, the chequered flag flies, and as if on cue, the expected rain finally begins to descend upon Spa-Francorchamps. Consistency and teamwork is key with any endurance race, and the final result for the JAZ team is a pair of well-placed finishes, including being the first Porsche over the line, narrowly missing out on a class podium as the white 911 finished 29th after climbing 44 places, and the red in 47th of 105 starters.
They say time flies when you’re having fun, and on this occasion, there couldn’t be a better way to describe the week. A road trip with friends and fellow racing enthusiasts, together with two lovely 911s and an iconic motorsport circuit - it was my ideal Spa holiday.
Well what can I say? Saturday was one of the greatest days ever. Despite the January gloom the rain held off and we were truly delighted at the number of people that attended. Really amazing!
At over 6,000 sq/ft our new home is nearly four times the size of our Wembley workshop and with our new clinically clean environment we can even better service and restore treasured Porsches of all ages. The response to the move has been tremendous and I would personally like to thank all those involved who made this whole thing happen as well as everyone that attended. The messages of support and best wishes has been overwhelming.
As well as showing off our new workshops over food and drinks, we also had a fabulous array of customer’s treasured Porsches for all to enjoy:
In pride of place at the front of the workshop was a gorgeous silver 356 Carrera GT. The sublime lines of this car – all curves with not a straight line in sight really make it a work of art. Under the engine lid lurks a lovely Fuhrmann 4-cam motor with a purposeful Sebring exhaust sprouting out out of the rear end.
Tucked into the back of the workshop was a fabulous 2.5ST with its beautifully sculpted flared wheel arches to accommodate fat racing wheels & rubber. Still being actively raced this car was used by the factory as a development car so it has some great history but that doesn’t prevent it from being raced in the likes of Classic Le Mans.
This 2.2 Litre 911T freshly restored by us looked fantastic inside and out. Having been sourced from Arizona – it provided a much better base to start from than the usual rusty wrecks but the quality of the bodywork, mechanical and interior restoration are just astonishing.
Race CarPerched up on a lift was this beautifully restored early 911 race car. It’s showroom finish belied the fact that this will be hurled enthusiastically around race tracks in the near future. With the car lifted into the air, the simplicity of the car’s design could be seen at close quarters.
Fabulous provenance being the former “company car” of a certain Vic Elford during the time he was racing factory cars. The story goes that “Quick Vic” told the factory that the car just wasn’t fast enough so they took it back and fitted it with the new 2.4S engine as well as a front chin spoiler to meet his needs!
Thank you again to all those that attended and made this day possible. We look forward to serving fellow Porsche people new and old from our lovely new workshop in St.Albans.
We all know that change can be difficult to accept. Change can be daunting, exciting, even frightening. Think new job, new house, new girlfriend, they all stir up different emotions. So what about moving an entire business that has been in the same location for 24 years?
Well at this precise moment I am feeling all of those emotions, but in this case change was necessary. We outgrew our current premises four or five years ago. The search has been on for quite some time, held back mainly by the landowning corporations attitude towards the motor trade - oily, dirty, smelly. Some are, but we certainly are not (well maybe on Monday mornings after a good weekend!).
Why do we need bigger premises? Well, our clientele has grown massively over the last few years as well as the diversity of models catered for. This, coupled with the simple fact that the cars themselves have got bigger. If you put the new 991 next to a 1973 911S, you will see my point.
So finally a suitable site has been found. A bit of luck was involved as well as accepting the fact that there is no such thing as the perfect site. So over the next two months we are off to St Albans in south Hertfordshire, 6,000 sq/ft of cat-swinging bliss. Nearly four times the size of our current workshop. Bigger, brighter, nicer environment, better road links to a broader customer base, better service for our customers. Yes change can most certainly be for the better.
We are delighted top announce another win for Jaz at the 2014 Porsche Awards, where we won the Gold Customer Service Award. Voted by the members of 911uk, we are especially pleased as we always go the extra mile to provide the best customer service experience possible. Thanks to everyone who voted!
The annual gathering of top quality Porsche new and old took place in early September. Celebrating the 40th anniversary of the launch of the 911 Turbo, understandably Turbo charged cars were in abundance.
With three separate driving parades this year it was a perfect opportunity to see some very special cars in motion rather than a static display. This included, no less, the actual Porsche 917K number 23 that won Le Mans in 1970 giving Porsche the first of it's 16 outright victories.
We were awarded with a signed poster of the event, presented by Jurgen Barth and Richard Attwood, the Le Mans winner himself.
Our trade stand was well populated throughout the day. We had the Le Mans Classic 911S/T on display as well as our latest restoration project a 1965 911 FIA race car.
This event is gathering momentum every year with more and more Porsche people visiting and making it a truly international event. Roll on next year.
How fortunate we are sometimes, meeting the right people at the right time…
Jack Logan, Porsche enthusiast through and through was fed up up with the performance of his factory prototype 911S/T after three attempts at finishing the Tour Auto, which is a week-long automotive version of the Tour De France. So I jokingly said, "we can sort your car for you, guaranteed”. He said, “Okay, let’s do it!”. How shocked we were, I can tell you.
So with an entry sent off for the 2014 running of the Le Mans Classic we waited in anticipation. Surprise surprise, we got accepted on the first call. The fact that Jack has driven in every Tour Auto since it's resurrection in 1999 may have had something to do with it.
So we prepped the car, sorted many pre race issues like the small job of fitting an FIA spec roll cage and off we went to Le Mans. Our fourth time driving there.
Qually went well but poor Jack got a puncture on his stint. We still ended up being the 2nd 911 on the grid out of about 10 cars. All three races went like clockwork, no trouble with the car at all other than lively handling at speed particularly from Tetre Rouge to the first chicane. We were very lucky with the weather though with many races being a total washout. Jack took the flag at the end of the last race, big grin on his face, drove brilliantly for a 70 plus year old. We finished top 911 over the three races, and 5th in GT with only Chevrolet Corvettes in front. Job done. Guaranteed.
Steve Winter contemplates the journey to the 39th 356 international at Estoril, Portugal.
"Of course it will make it" said the great Eric Studer the 356 guru known to older Porsche fans as "Studerman" in reference to his comic strip in Porsche Post back in the day. I was telling him about our forthcoming trip to Portugal for the 39th 356 International. Held in Estoril, it meant either a boat to Santander then a 550 mile drive or for the die hard, transcontinental nut cases, a ferry to Calais then 1500 miles through France and Spain and on to the lovely seaside resort close to Lisbon. We chose the latter. "How many miles a year do you do in your car?" Eric asked, "2500" I replied. "Have you ever broken down?”, "no it has run perfectly”. "So why should you have any problems just because your going abroad?”. He was right of course. Remember we are dealing with an old car but an expensive car in it's day that was built from the finest materials available at the time. So, confidently, off we went.
Now, Madame Bruno, 93 years young, has been giving myself and various friends bed and breakfast, ouefs avec bacon, tea and crossionts every year since 1982 on the same 2nd weekend in June for, you guessed it, the 24 hours of Le Mans. Claire, my long suffering wife of 30 years, had never ever met her. She used to wonder, with a wry grin, who was this 'Madame' I visited every year so I suggested to her that we stay overnight on the way down so she could finally meet her. "What a lovely sweet old lady she is" said Claire after having met her for all of 5 minutes. "She really is an inspiration to us all”. With 4 children, 14 Grandchildren and 20 Great Grand children she really is Queen Bee. With a constant smile nothing is ever too much trouble.
Mark Wrigley and his cousin Tony Higgins joined us at Madames having got the boat to Caen. Shorter drive for them to Le Mans as Tony had to be picked up from Reading. Dinner was pretty average at a local chain restaurant, Why do we do this to ourselves? Get organised and find a proper French restaurant and you will not be disappointed. Most of the time. Breakfast, as ever is comprised of English ingredients cooked in a gallic manner. Lovely. "Do you have enough?" said Madame. “Non Madame J'ai deux oeufs" I replied. She laughed, Claire rolled her eyes.
So next day, off we went, Togo brown and Light ivory 356 SC's.1963 and 1964. I said to Claire, "We cant go to Le mans without a drive round the road parts of the circuit”,"OK”, she sighed. I love the place. Please scatter my ashes there when I'm gone. The history, the atmosphere, everything about the place. We enter the circuit at the exit of Tertre Rouge, the line of famous trees, then Augerge des Haunudieres, open since 1923 ,looming on the left, first chicane on the right. Claire is shocked that I will soon be flat out down this famous piece of road in 5 weeks time at Le Mans Classic. "It goes on for ever" she exclaimed, "Yes" I said with a big grin and rush of adrenalin at the thought of it all. Then Indianapolis and Arnarge, "Don't turn in too early, brake in a straight line" I said suddenly remembering that the traffic is two way for all but two weekends a year as I gave a running commentary. "Yes dear" she replied. The brown brothers in the 356 behind us are clearly enjoying themselves too judging by the big grins I could see in my rear view mirror. Fun over we head for Biarritz.
These cars truly are amazing. 50 years old, 90 hp, 4 speed gearboxes, crude disc brakes, air cooled and skinny tyres don't inspire most people if you compare those specs to a modern car but the Porsche 356 defies all criticism in my opinion. Having owned and or driven almost every Porsche model made in a 32 year career fettling the marque, I have to say that they really did get it right. Compare the 356 to it's contemporaries and it still looks underpowered, cramped, noisy and extremely expensive in it's day but you have to drive one, preferably long distance to find out for yourself. Let the engine sit at 4000 rpm which will give you 80-85 mph and the harmonics smooth, the engine purrs, the whole car says "yes I like this”. The radio tunes in nicely and the miles tick away. Time seems to hang in suspended animation. We are in our own little world with the reassuring hum of the little flat four pushing you along a super smooth road with an outlook of superb scenery. With very little traffic the meditation is punctuated only by Pèage stops as Cookies and Cream wing their way to the west coat of France.
Biarritz isn't a place we had visited before. Thats why we went there. The hotel overlooked the sea the website said, if you twisted your neck. The Sun was shining,"walk to the sea?" I was asked. 5 hours in a car, great though it was, meant that gluteus maximus needed some exercise.The right more than the left for some reason. The sea front was very typical 1930's architecture, with the Grand Palais dominating the skyline. Restaurant here we come. Cod fillet with truffles, cold Muscquadet, perfect. Romantic even. The sun setting over the Atlantic turning the sky red then purple.
The next day started fine but deteriorated in a proper washout. We were on our own now as Cookie and her crew wanted to drive through the Picos de Europa mountains. No sat nav (6 volt electrics remember) and Claire being not the most confident map reader in the world, we eventually found the right road for our journey south west to Salamanca in Spain.Via a spilt diesel, full on tank slapping, aquaplaning, zero visibility road populated by mad Franco Spanish drivers on a mission to commit suicide whilst taking out every other road user on the way. Once the weather calmed the Spanish motorway seemed to empty out as all the nutters were either dead or had given up on their self destruct mission. We clocked 11 miles between one fellow road user and the next. 4000rpm of pure solitary driving heaven. "Spaghetti Western country" said Claire”, "Mmmm" I replied 5 minutes later regaining my trance like state. The back of a 356SC steering wheel has a little dimple behind each spoke. Perfect for my finger tip to rest. Hands on lap, no effort needed, it steers itself. The world is a wonderful place. Just now at least.
Salamanca lies on a flat plain of land mass about 300 miles south of Santander and about 150 miles west of Madrid. The old town is a living museum of it's own. It is beautifully preserved with the Plaza de Mayor being the main centre of the 'Historico Classico’. Built in the classic Spanish Baroque style in 1755 it was initially used for bull fighting but now lined with cafes and restaurants. With all the ancient roads and alleyways pedestrianised there is a wonderful social atmosphere that comes alive in the early evening with the only noise being the Spanish chatting away while sipping red wine or drinking coffee. Tapas was ordered and served, wine was drunk followed by Cafe con Leche. We were about to leave when the solitary and personal waiter said "No,five minutes please”. Puzzled but not wanting to argue as he was a big chap we sat back down again.We were by now his only customer so we thought he wanted us there to keep him occupied ,but no.First the sodium cast iron street lamps that line the edge of the square lit up.,"ooooh,argh" we exclaimed like children at a firework display. Up we stood.Waiter said, "no three minutes please”. We sat back down. We waited in anticipation for what lay ahead. Suddenly the whole of the square was lit by soft well aimed spot lights that expertly highlighted the beautiful buildings all around the square. What a sight, more ooooohs and arghhhhhs from everyone that remained. The waiter grinned. We tipped him handsomely. He grinned even more.
"Are we there yet?" said Claire, impersonating our children who used the phrase up to their 23rd birthdays and beyond. "Mmmmmm" I replied. Again. Estoril signs appeared, excitement grew, we still got lost. Casino Park on the seafront at Estoril was found. Easy to spot as, yes it had grass and trees like most parks but it also had Porsche 356's parked amongst the palms. "This must be it" I said. "Yes dear" said Claire. We checked into the Hotel Palacio close by and Palacios it was. The door was opened by a man dressed in a bright blue uniform who has worked there every day since the 1950’s. He wanted to retire. They said no. He said "oh bugger."
Once the sewing kit, shower hat, slippers, bath robe, mini bar, lotions and potions were all inspected we went to the Casino to register for the event. Goodie bags seems to be the norm these days at events like this and we were not to be denied or disappointed. Porsche hats, tea shirts, road book, enamel badge, rain coat, lots of stuff to take home and put in the cupboard. Tea shirt came in useful though as I ran out of clean ones later on in the trip but lasted all of 5 minutes till I got oil on it somehow. It was white. Never a day goes by without some part of me getting dirty, perils of the job I suppose.
We had mastered the art of coach boarding by following the example of the Swiss and that was to send your best elbower champion on first then reserve 10 seats for your fellow countrymen. They did the same at the lunch tables. My they are efficient. Glad there weren't any sun loungers. Why are humans so similar to sheep? The coach driver was dropping us off at the Penha Longa Resort for dinner. when we followed the person in front into this beautiful reception area. We stood there. Looked at one another. I am sure someone went "Baaaah". We were dropped off at the wrong place. Man blew whistle, we all boarded the coach. Again. I am sure the Benny Hill music was playing in the background. How we laughed.
The next day saw us take a visit to Sintra via a small regularity test along a really lovely scenic road. We had to drive the whole 11 or so Kms at a speed as close as possible to 36km/ hour. This equates to 21.9 mph and while it may sound easy, it is in fact very difficult. Mainly because the road was so good the temptation to just floor it was very difficult to resist. Now Sintra is a little hillside town between Estoril and Lisbon. While being very beautiful due to it's unique micro climate, it is also a very popular tourist spot. Why the organisers couldn't have arranged for us to have the place all to ourselves, one can only guess. Claire, the ever keen gardner, spotted very unusual plant life during the walk up the hill from the car park. At the top was a nice coffee shop that sold nice coffee. Unsure, as were were, about what to do,we went and had a nice cup of tea at the nice coffee shop.The tourists were bused in by the bus load which led to some interesting encounters as we left to go to lunch at the Adega del Colares.The road wound it's way down hill,very steep, with many hairpin bends. Great fun normally but not on a road this narrow with a 55 seater coming towards you doing their best to force you off the road. Glad I didn't join the Ford Mustang Club on their visit.
We arrived at the lunch stop, which on first impressions looked like a derelict old factory, but turned out to be one of the highlights of the weekend. It was in fact an old converted distillery which used to make sherry. The food and the setting were truly amazing. The interior was decorated with giant casks of sherry, a vaulted ceiling and perfect candlelit tables. It reminded me of the great Hall at Hogwarts. It was truly a magical place. After probably one too many glasses of the excellent wine off we went went to the Marina at Cascais via Cote Roco. Known as the end of the world till Columbus discovered America, it is the most westerly point of mainland Europe.The land of the free lay over that vast ocean. If Columbus could see it now.
So via the marina with lots of nice boats and boaty things, the hotel beckoned where we had dinner that night. We were treated to an unusual but traditional Portuguese singer who sang without amplification. Not understanding a word of her language we weren't really sure what the songs were about but the poor woman sounded quite distressed.
By now all the different nationalities seemed to have grouped together with us Brits no exception. One fellow enthusiast introduced himself via a "Are you English”, "oui" I replied, "oh both of you?" he replied followed by an introduction to his wife. Nice chap. All that three five sixing made us ready for welcome early night. While the bed was really comfy, I had to revert to semaphore to communicate with Mrs.W as it was so big. "Goodnight dear" she flagged, arms waving. "Foodfight near" I replied.
Day two started after breakfast with a nice coastal drive out to Lisbon. Many of the roads are rough cobbled in the city centre. Pretty?, traffic calming?, trip hazard?, did nothing for my king pins I tell you. Very nice clean and pleasant place though. We decided we would come back and spend more time there in the future. It had to happen at some point, Murphy's law says so. We got lost. Well not really lost but drove up and down the same bit of road, wondering where were were meant to be going and not noticing the 150 odd 356's parked in front of a massive Monastery. A beautiful medieval building with an amazing fountain outside, the display of cars drew huge attention and was spectacular. 356's were painted in a huge variety of colours in their day, unlike the modern grey and black boxes passing off as cars, so imagine all these wonderful machines lined up with the plain white stone of the monastery as a backdrop. Our little crew of Brits wanted more tea so we headed off past the Starbucks/ Costa/ I don't pay tax coffee shop to a tiny family owned cafe. The owner beamed at us, service was perfect tea was lovely, cake even nicer and it cost half as much as the other lot without the queue.
Our evening that night was a Gala dinner in the Casino Estoril. Suitably dressed we drank cocktails before being shown to our table. I am sure Zeus was sitting adjacent to us we were that high up from the main floor below. At least us Brits were together looking down on the rest of Europe. Then came the awards. Having known we came second in class in the regularity test, we didn't really expect to get a prize so when our names were called we were very surprised. "Are you here" the host called, "yes we are" we replied arms waving as we hiked down from our lofty perch. Shaking hands and grinning like Cheshire cats we accepted our award of an engraved glass vase and a giant bottle of bubbly along with a badge from Porsche. Steps up to the stage are one thing but steps down are another especially when laden with gifts and a high heeled wife. “Pleeeeeeese don't fall over" I prayed to Zeus looking down on me from the adjacent table. Good job it wasn't Hades sitting there.
It was all over too quick really. What a fantastic time we had. The hotel, the food, the setting were all perfect. The common link of a funny little 50 odd year old German sports car being the catalyst to meeting some of the most wonderful people. Not once did I detect any car snobbery. All you needed was a 356 and a smile. Brought together by the enthusiasm for the Porsche 356, it is the people as well as the cars that make these events. Nice people they were too, elbows and all. The cars weren't bad either.
Santander beckoned the next day with the prospect of that long crossing over the notorious Bay of Biscay. 550 miles in one day seemed daunting but we did it with a breeze. And a snooze. Or two. We were lucky as the crossing was unfashionably smooth. We passed the time with the Brown Brothers, deep in conversation drinking excellent bottles of wine discussing a wide range of topics from gay marriage to the advantages of an alternator over a dynamo. God knows how we got from one to the other but the time passed nicely. When we docked, I was actually really looking forward to getting back into the car. Strange it may seem after a week of driving her across Europe I know but I sensed she felt neglected after her 24 hours away from us bobbing across the sea. So there we were back in old blighty, land of hope and glory, with our bug spattered cars starting on the button ready for the final 80 miles home. Nothing like sleeping in your own bed. Dreaming about the Spanish savannah, dodgy waiters, 356's in abundance, sunsets over the Atlantic, eating wonderful food and meeting wonderful people. Cant wait for the next one. It's in Brussels. Waffles and strong beer here we come.
My final note must of course be about the cars. This extract is from an Autocar Road test of the new 356 B dated the 15th April 1960. I think it sums up the car and in particular, our trip perfectly, and I quote,"This car has an almost animate personality and is a car with which one can never get bored. A road express for travelling far and fast, it is built with such precision that one would expect long service without more than routine attention”. How right they were.
It’s been a long time comimg, so Jaz are delighted to launch our new logo, branding and website. We hope you like the new look and enjoy the site, please do let us know what you think or if there’s something missing you’d like to see. We’ve also joined the social media revolution with Jaz pages on Facebook and Twitter. Please do ‘follow us’ to keep up to date with all the latest Jaz news, stories and offers.
Jaz wins the Silver Award in the 2013 Independent Porsche Car Service Garage “I’m very proud of everyone here at Jaz for this achievement,” said Steve Winter. “On behalf of all here at Jaz, thanks to everyone who voted for us!”
Remember when your children were young (if not maybe a niece or nephew), the word “sticky” will conjure up all manner of different memories. Fingers, furniture,windows,walls and car seats,all manner of things were often covered in a sort of sweet sticky mess that seemed to come from some unexplained source that, even with the advent of baby wipes, couldn’t be kept at bay.
We generally associate “stickiness” with all sorts of unpleasant things but In my working world the term takes on a whole new meaning. I refer to the stickiness of tyres. Our motorsport antics are well known having raced several different Porsches over the last 20 odd years with all manner of different types of tyres employed from slicks to track day, treaded to historic. Currently our historic 911’s have to run on hand made canvas belted cross plies with a compound designed in the late 60’s. Imagine the shock we had the fi rst time we used them coming from a track day orientated Yokohama A048R modern radial tyre. Basically the thing slides all over the place ( I like to think I’m in control but am often not).We went from “super stickies” to “super slippies”. Say this in your best Dutch accent something like “shuper shtickiesh” as our tyre supplier was from the Netherlands and we did laugh quietly every time he said this.
So how does all this rambling relate to you dear reader I hear you ask. Well with Winter on it’s way I cant stress enough the importance of good tyres. Check your pressures regularly, check the tread depth too but don’t think “they will do” because when that snow falls in two months time and 2000 miles later they could well be not at their best.
Think ahead. Winter tyres are readily available now in all sizes and offer vast amounts of extra grip over conventional tyres when driving in rain and snow. I do chuckle at the 4x4’s stuck in the snow with their wheels spinning away happily going nowhere. We will gladly store your summer tyres for you free of charge if you buy a set of winter tyres from us.
The other consideration is that “stickiness”. We regularly get cars in with very old tyres,particularly fronts that generally have two or even three times less wear rate than rears, that are often over 10 years old. The month and year is moulded into the side wall of the tyre and will appear as1103 for example which is November 2003. The compound hardens with age and repeated heat cycles. So while they may look ok and are technically legal they will make the car feel stiff and bumpy on the road with vague steering and less compliance leading to understeer. This builds over an extended period of time so may not be apparent you.
Bear in mind that a large proportion of your suspension and comfort is in the tyres themselves ,so hard and not very sticky tyres will greatly affect the handling and braking distances of your car. I have lost count of the number of times that customers have commented on just how good their car feels with a new set of “boots”. So “stickiness” can be a good thing in the right circumstances but please keeps those little fingers off the dash board of your pride and joy.
Steve Winter from Jaz Porsche looking mighty pleased as Vic Elford hands him a trader award for his hard work to prepare Vic’s personal 911 factory car from 1970 which was on display at this years event only due to Steve burning lots of midnight oil.