Nope, you’re eyes are not playing tricks. That’s a trunk rack. And it’s gonna be on Sharka in a minute.
No offense to those who like these, but… well… I’m not really a trunk rack guy. I’d rather have either a spoiler on there or nothing at all. I really like the bare trunk lid look on an NA. Just never been into having anything back there.
But I’ve got a reason to have a trunk rack. Sharka’s gonna drive to California!
This blog post is a random collection of prep pix spread out over a couple months. Sorry for it being disjointed.
Since we’re gonna be driving a decent distance, I wanted a spare tire. And not just the donut spare that came with the car… it takes up a lot of trunk room and is nearly useless. I wanted a real spare.
And that meant trunk rack time.
I didn’t wanna damage Sharka’s pretty paint, so out came the post it notes.
Some quicky clear bra on the trunk lid protects it from the rack. It’s not the prettiest, but it’ll be gone soon and not leave any trace of the rack (I hope).
Back story – There’s a company who designed and manufactured this beautiful trunk rack. Looks just like the one above. It bolts on and comes right back off. I dig the 2 “stripes” that it mounts with. They’re about $400 and are apparently always sold out. I tried over several months to give this company my money. Never succeeded.
There’s another company called Raceland who made a copy of the rack (among other things). It’s all of $125 and possibly came off the same assembly line as the original. They keep them in stock.
I ordered one. It arrived. It looks to be great quality. Everything bolted together well and it’s very strong.
Sharka will drive with a Raceland product for a few months…
The next step was some tint. I’ve wanted to tint Sharka for years, but just have kept putting it off. I finally had a reason.
I had some “buddies” tint the car. They showed up with a van and a box of no-name purple tint. It was… well, you’ll see.
The side windows went well, but the hardtop was not at all good. I mean, it looked good when applied, but the next day the stars came out.
No amount of time sitting in the hot NM sun cured things. The bubbles were there to stay.
Add to the fact that the tint did not look to be decent quality material and I paid very very little for the (bad) install… I decided to re-tint it the next week.
Goodbye crappy tint. I hardly knew ya.
I had 3M Crystalline 40 installed all the way around by Tint and Trim Works here in Albuquerque. It’s pretty damn amazing tint. Very thick, blocks everything, and still has decent light transmission.
I didn’t want dark limo tint. That stuff looks pretty odd when the windows and top are down and there’s just the front quarters super dark. Nope, I just wanted some heat and skin cancer protection.
Heh, I’m old.
The 3M stuff looks really good. Very OEM+. And it blocks heat amazingly.
Also, no bubbles.
Next stop was Keith’s Wheel Alignment here in ABQ. Nothing was too off. I just wanted to get everything squared back up and ready for a trip.
Keith’s is great. I’ve gone to him all of my Miata-driving life. I’ve followed Keith through 3 or 4 shops. He’s a wizard and the only one I’d trust to align Sharka.
Now back to the trunk rack.
YES! That’s a reason to have a trunk rack mounted.
The wheel is a spare 14″ RPF1 I had made. See, those wheels used to be rare and special order. I ordered 5 years ago so that I would have a spare if anything happened to one. And then Enkei started making them as a regular size…
The tire is also a spare I had rattling around. I got some grey market Potenza G3s for Bucky (who wears the 14″ RPF1s daily) a few years ago. I ordered 5 just in case one got a sidewall hole or something. Good thing too since those tires are long gone.
Put the extra wheel and extra tire together and now have a lightweight spare for Sharka’s California trip.
I originally planned to fabricate a wheel mount for that trunk rack. I got a huge chunk of aluminum, some all-thread, various bolts, and other things. I measured and made plans. I was just about to start cutting things.
And then I strapped the tire to the trunk, just to see how the straps worked by themselves.
It’s ON there. Not moving. I mean, the whole car moves when you try to shove the tire around. It’s solid. So I’m just gonna use these two lashing straps for the trip.
I’ve got two more spare straps in case I need them, but they’re REALLY good. I can get the tire off in a few seconds and back on in about a minute. No big bolts sticking up when the tire is off. Win all around.
Yeah, these lashing straps are fantastic. I don’t think I’ll have any problems with the spare over the 1500 mile journey.
Just one more thing…
There’s ZERO visibility with the spare back there. I considered a camera and monitor system, but the huge stock mirrors are a much better solution. They can be angled to show the rear view out of both mirrors and the bubbles take care of lane changes.
No cameras or technology needed. $0 solution.
Sharka will wear his 15×8 RPF1s for the trip. They’re round and road force balanced. No 70mph shake at all. They’re not anything near as pretty as the Star Sharks (I’ve never even blogged about these 15x8s…) but they’re round. They’ll be good for the trip.
I even got some center caps to fit and made inserts for them. Can’t expect me to roll without center caps!
Overkill? Probably. But I like fiddling with the car. I don’t wanna be unprepared. And I don’t wanna have to drive with a tire in the seat next to me.
Next stop: California!