Story continues below this advertisement
Modern tires may be the best proof there is that alchemists truly exist. It wasn’t that long ago that we were driving around on tall, skinny bias ply tires which under the best of conditions were severely traction challenged. Accelerating, turning, decelerating, really there wasn’t anything bias ply tires were good at. Well, come to think of it, they were pretty good at eating up their tread life when subjected to any kind of spirited driving. We remember burning up a set of bias ply tires in just three weeks one summer in 1976, and that was just with a lot of late night canyon blasting.
This memory popped into our heads while we were testing Toyo’s new Proxes 4 Plus tire on the Maulin’ Magnum. Our beloved project car is a tire’s worst nightmare, it’s heavy at 4,400 pounds (empty weight), makes monster torque thanks in part to its Magnuson supercharger, it has big and very effective Brembo disk brakes and it handles shockingly well and encourages you to torture the tires on road courses and mountain roads. And to top it all off, as an SRT model it has large and wide 20 inch wheels. We’re pretty sure tires scream in horror when they’re being mounted for the Magnum.
All of that weight, power, braking and cornering ability is doing its best to shred the tread of any tire struggling to stay glued to the asphalt. We should know, we’ve been through a lot of tires with the Magnum. The car came with Goodyear F1 three season (summer) tires. They were good tires providing decent feedback to the driver with crisp turn in and above average side G-load capacity. They also wore out quickly and by that we mean they were bald by 10,000 miles. We’ve been through sets of tires made by Bridgestone, Vredestein, and Kumho. The Bridgestone and Kumho sets had even shorter life spans than the F1s. Until now, the Vredestein Ultrac Sessanta tires had been our favorite. They had excellent traction and excellent communication to the driver, both in telling you what the tires are doing and when they were approaching their limit. They also lasted longer than any of the others.
Being an SRT, even finding suitable tires for the Magnum is difficult and it’s not any easier for owners of Chargers, Challengers and Chrysler 300s. SRTs come from the factory with 20 inch rims (and lots of owners of non-SRT LX/LC cars upgrade to aftermarket 20s), which given their weight and maximum speed capability means you need to find 20 inch tires with a high load and speed rating. That sound you may have just heard was 20 inch options narrowing at the speed of sound. While the Magnum hasn’t broken mach one, it has done a GPS verified 170 mph top speed at El Mirage dry lake.
Since we have had limited choices and because we need tires that can match the performance of the Magnum, we’ve stuck to three season tires. And if you haven’t shopped for 20 inch “Y” speed rated “106” or greater load rated tires lately, then we’ll bring you up to speed by telling you that they are expensive and you can find it very annoying when they’re used up in 10,000 miles. And that’s to say nothing about the joys of a summer tire when the weather turns wet and cold.
So when we first heard that Toyo was coming out with a new Ultra High Performance All Season tire that would fit the Magnum, we got excited. When they told us that this tire, the Proxes 4 Plus, would come with a 50,000 mile tread life warranty, a 45 day or 500 mile “No Regrets” free trial period where if you didn’t love the tires you could just return them for your money back (including mounting and balancing fees!), well we just had to test them.