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Putin Searches for His Tires While Quebec Takes a Stance

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A couple of palate cleansers before we hit the weekend….

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Laughed my head off at a report in the Moscow Times (yes, that Moscow) that parties unknown made off with 215 tires from the Kremlin motor pool. The tires, valued at 1.2 million rubles or around $35,000, went missing from the automobile department warehouse last week.

There were no signs of forced entry to the property, and authorities are still investigating.

We’re waiting to see who Vladimir Putin blames for this.

* * * * * * * *

A little closer to home, the Province of Quebec is trying to outlaw “hellaflush,” a car/wheel modification some in the States call “stanced.”

In basic terms, hellaflush involves lowering a car’s suspension, adding oversized and offset wheels, and using smaller width tires that literally must be stretched to seat the beads. The result should be that the outboard sidewalls are on a line contiguous with the body line of the car.

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I saw this trick a few years ago at SEMA, and in my old codger way wondered aloud why any sane individual would even want to do that, or think that was the least bit safe.

The Quebec government feels the same way, saying “hellaflush” compromises a car’s handling capabilities, rendering the vehicle unsafe for the driver, any passengers and any other vehicle sharing that same patch of road. And that tire companies didn’t intend their products to be so mistreated.

Huzzah!

The government, though, did not vote an outright ban. Instead, it said that police can now stop such modified cars and order them to be safety inspected. If these cars are found wanting, the driver will have to undo the modifications to make it road-worthy again.

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And to throw more salt on, the government also agreed that insurance firms are now permitted to refuse claims on cars that have been modified outside of carmaker standards.

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