Your first tyres were cheap and skinny, and long sessions slicing champagne ham in the delicatessens of Countdown would barely cover one decent fat alloy.
Once upon a time, the barely warranted ’89 Laurel (automatic, 2.5-litre non-turbo straight six) craved a really decent set of rims fitted with some low-profile slicks, for street-legal nirvana.
Later, when the money allowed, a three-puck clutch and a roll-cage would be fitted, and the diff locked for track action; but there was no money for tyres yet. Most of the coin was tipped into ensuring the car no longer looked like your mother’s cast-off that you’d been given for passing your NCEA Level 2 externals.
You got better jobs. You worked in telecommunication companies day and night, on IT helpdesks. You were impatient and rude and your oft-repeated line was always
It should be ok after restart. Haven’t you done that yet?
But you didn’t care because you had your eye on an ’88 Cefiro (factory spec, but with the ’89 HICAS update … ) and knew in one of those the pigs would leave you alone, more or less.
Finally, you were able to afford good-looking tyres, something that gave you the necessary durability so you could safely thrash them and stay alive at the track days, and the long summer nights at the back hills of your suburb.
You’d learn to drift, watching endless YouTube videos of Fanga Dan and Mad Mike and it became clear that drifting was going to take over your life, the world, the universe.
You finally got the deep-dish rims and low-profile tyres and shredded them monthly.
You’d slowly transform your shit car into a street weapon, maybe a track weapon, using the convenient weekend sales at Supercheap Auto. Perhaps one day you’d wrap the car in matte black and go full gangster, but in the meantime you needed extra hours to pay the fines which, unpaid, had gone to court with an extra 30 bucks on them.
You drove for miles on the weekends, forgetting the ennui of the cubicled trap with its Siemens multifunction phone and swivel chair.
Later you’d get engaged to a girl called Toni or Ali and buy your dream BMW—M3, powder blue—and acquire a touch of class and scoff at the sad Laurels being pulled over by the road cops.
You’d grown up and made it.
You’d stay a boy racer, drifting into middle age in style.