IT HAS been a slow start to our Project 79 Series Cruiser but, like most of us, I’m curtailed by a lack of finance and a desire to spend my hard-earned on travelling rather than vehicles and accessories.
‘Oh, poor you’, I can hear you mutter. Still, there’s been progress.
First up, we added a set of Clearview extension mirrors, which are the best set of towing mirrors I’ve ever used. These units have two mirrors in each housing – the top or main mirror (powered in some units) provides a clear view of the road behind; while the smaller, convex mirror eliminates blind spots.
When towing, the mirror housing extends a further 100mm to give a better view down the side of the vehicle/caravan. Yes, they are big and, when folded inwards, still protrude some way out from the vehicle body, so you need to be careful on a tight, scrubby track. However, I still wouldn’t swap them for the originals.
Wanting to improve the rubber on the Cruiser, I decided on a bigger rim and, after a lot of procrastination, I settled on a set of 17x8.5 Pro Comp Series 29 Satin Black alloy rims. These aggressive-looking units feature a split five-spoke design, and the thick outer lip provides added protection and strength for travelling the backroads and tracks of Australia.
Pro Comp has a huge array of rims to choose from, with this particular style available in 15-, 16- and 17-inch sizes, 5-, 6- or 8-bolt stud fixtures, and load ratings that vary from 1133 to 1587kg per wheel. Not only do they look good, they do everything required of them.
When it came down to what tyres I’d fit, there was no difficulty in choosing a brand. With the three other 4WDs in my garage wearing Cooper tyres, the only real choice was which particular model to choose. Once again, I settled on a set of Cooper S/T Maxx tyres and went for a slightly bigger tyre size than standard fitment, stepping up to a 285/70R17 with a load/speed rating of 121Q.
The ‘121’ means each tyre is designed to carry a maximum load of 1450kg, with a maximum speed designated by ‘Q’ of 160km/h. In all, there are 30 different tyres sizes in the S/T Maxx range suitable for 15-, 16-, 17-, 18- and even 20-inch rims, so we’re a bit spoilt for choice.
Why do I like the S/T Maxx so much? They have proven over the past 10 years or so on our travels around the world to be a tough, reliable tyre with good handling and wear characteristics. While I’ve had the occasional puncture, and even shredded one a couple of years ago (due to my own stupid fault and not having a tyre monitoring system on board), I can’t see any other tyre giving me the same off-road performance and long-time wear life.
As we write this, the 79 Cruiser has just had a new alloy tray and canopy fitted by Boss Aluminium in Bayswater, but that’s a story for next time.