WHILE I WAS FOOLING AROUND with my suspension, replacing the PASM and trying to get everything to fit, I upgraded the tires. I didn’t want to go full slick and spend four grand on tires for the season, so I went to a brand name R-compound tire that was substantially wider than stock. Wider tires, a bunch of negative camber and a lowered suspension required some small changes in how the wheels fit. In order to have a few millimetres of clearance inside and out I had to move the rear wheels out three millimetres. It’s not far, but I don’t believe you should ever reduce the number of threads holding your wheels on. Especially with the side loads you experience on the track.
With shiny new spacers machined to fit perfectly I needed to order some longer 50-millimetre wheel bolts, since wheel studs have also disappeared from our newer cars. I also needed them fairly quickly since it was only 10 days prior to a track event and I wanted to test the clearances under load. If you need something, you can generally rely on Pelican Parts to ship the next day, if they have your parts in stock. So that’s where I ordered them from.
I can’t remember how much I paid for 10 lug bolts for alloy wheels but I’m sure it was reasonable. They showed up on time, I installed them and made it to the next track event. I wish all transactions went that smoothly. Then I got a thank-you note from Pelican Parts for buying the bolts through them. I deleted it. A week later I got a request from Pelican Parts to share my purchasing experience. I deleted that too. Two weeks after that I got a personalized E-mail from Bryan Handlen, the CEO of Pelican Parts LLC, requesting that I take a survey and submit a review of my experience. Mr. Handlen insisted that they wanted to be my parts supplier for the remainder of my life and would do little else other than waiting to care for my needs in the future. Since he insisted the following is my tongue in cheek response:
Dear Mr. Handlen, Bryan if I may?
I can’t tell you how delighted I was to be E-mailed by the president of Pelican Parts LLC. I want to assure you that it was only my busy schedule that prevented me from responding to Pelican’s earlier communications. I don’t want you to think that I don’t appreciate your products and excellent service. I’ve purchased wheel studs before, but this is the first time I’ve purchased wheel bolts. It’s obvious to me that these are incredibly well-made and of the highest material standards.
I did have a small concern when they arrived in the same bag as opposed to individually wrapped. There was the possibility that they could bump together in transit and end up with marks on their shiny black surfaces. I was relieved to find that the coating was hard enough to resist scuffing and all 10 bolts were undamaged. Imagine my surprise when they all fit as well. The manufacturing standards of these bolts must be of the highest order. They didn’t come with any instructions, but I found using them in the manner that was intended was quite intuitive. I put the round bolts in the round holes and after applying the required torque, installation was complete.
Imagine my delight when I returned to the paddock to find that both rear wheels remained attached to the car, right where I had left them! These wheel bolts are truly amazing and I would venture some of the best wheel bolts available on the market today. The fact that your company purchases them from the manufacturer, places them on a shelf and then ships them to the customer when they are ordered boggles the mind. To have such a complicated transaction operate so smoothly should make you and your organization proud.
While my new wheel bolts are of such a high standard that they may never wear out, I certainly wouldn’t recommend that any of my friends purchase theirs anywhere else. I’m truly honored to know that you think so highly of my opinion to have asked for it three times. I think you can call that effort a success. Bryan, I will think fondly of Pelican Parts LLC every time I torque my wheels in the future. Now that we’re best friends, I look forward to your Christmas card. Cheers!
That was fun! Now for the DE part. Don’t forget that registration opens for the entire 2021 track season at midnight on New Year’s Eve. You can find the dates listed on your registration page and in this edition of Provinz (page 8). We are going to start by inviting the yellow run group to join us, so the run groups at the beginning of the season will be yellow, white, blue, black and red. We’re hoping that later in the season we’ll be able to have an Introductory Driving School (IDS) and welcome the green run group back, but that will depend on the status of a COVID-19 vaccine or treatment.
It’s at this point in the year that I want to thank everyone involved in the Driver Education program and the club in general. In these trying times it’s been rewarding to see all the members who still came out and supported the track program. No one can say that 2020 hasn’t been a strange season, but we emerged unscathed, due to your continued support. The track team has met and the future looks bright, so we look forward to sharing the track with you once again in 2021.
I’m not a particularly religious person, so your particular faith has no bearing on my respect and admiration for each of you. I hope you all enjoy this special season with your friends and family and emerge into the new year with renewed health and vigor. Be comforted by those around you and remain optimistic about the future. When it comes to the state of the world, this too will pass. I’m going to spend this season figuring out what the hell happened inside my transmission.