Out on the street and at the shows, the factory chrome Road Wheels and Coker Classic Redline radials maintained that '60s look. The redline radials also provide a better ride and handling over bias-ply tires. For years, we have wanted to strip test a set of front skinnies (lightweight front wheels and tires), so we scored a set of 3 1/2x15-inch Weld Draglites at the Englishtown fall swap meet. Hoosier provided us with a set of their lightweight, low rolling resistant front runners (26x4.5-15, PN 18105). Now we were fully armed, ready, and waiting for our test day at E-Town.

It was October and the track would be closing soon for the winter. [Oh, I miss those days. -Ed.]

Traction Reaction
Our goal was to show how easy it is to improve the hook at the track, through simple bolt-ons and adjustments. Our test day was a windy fall day at the famous E-Town facility. For a baseline, the well-used 28x9 Hoosier slicks mounted on the cop-car wheels were placed on the R/T. Air-shock pressure was set, the pinion snubber was adjusted, and the front sway bar was disconnected. On our first pass, the R/T made its quickest 60-foot time ever with a 1.61. Thanks to the new leaf springs, a quick stomp on the gas pedal was now possible. A backup run produced an identical 60-foot with an 11.21 e.t. Now, consistent bite was established.

Next, the five-year-old 28x9 Hoosiers were swapped for a set of the same size meats on the lighter Centerline rims. After the swap, we were still spinning slightly (hazing) and thought the new rubber would have added grip. After four passes-two back to back and two with a half-hour cooldown-the ol' Dodge ran four 1.61 60-foots, with a pair of 11.20s and 11.21s. We definitely needed new sneakers-the tread wear indicators were hardly visible on the old slicks!

We didn't realize the added traction from the new slicks and lighter wheels reduced sprung weight. Lighter wheels make it easier for a tire to unload and lose surface contact. We were sure a quick change to the QA1 rear shocks would help plant the tires. The air shocks were tossed, and we set our initial shock setting on the QA1s knob three clicks clockwise. Right out of the hole, the scoreboard read a 1.58 60-foot. We were on a good pass and turned an 11.18 e.t. A hot-lap backup pass produced an identical 1.58 60-foot, but at a slower 11.19 e.t.

After the usual half-hour cooldown, the adjustment knobs were turned three more clicks for additional shock stiffness. It worked-we hooked up with a 1.56 60-foot and an 11.16 quarter-mile e.t. A half-hour-later a backup run showed us dead-nuts-consistent traction with another 1.56 60-foot. We wanted to try a few more clicks, but were running out of track time.

We moved to the front shocks and set them at zero to retain the worn-out, old-school feature (easy to extend, hard to compress). Unfortunately, we didn't realize any gains in e.t. The old front shocks were trick units (easy to compress and extend), but they were dangerous on the road (excessive dive, rise, and body lean). For the ride home, we set the adjustment at six clicks (compression firmness doesn't change; extension stiffens with each increase in the adjustment) and the Coronet never held the road better in its 25 years of ownership.

Up front, we were anxious to try out the new set of front skinnies. The lightweight wheel and tire combo weighed 58 pounds less than the Road Wheels with redlines. We added 8 gallons of pump gas in an attempt to keep the test weight fair. The reduced rotational weight and rolling resistance scored us a similar 60-foot time, but a much quicker 11.06 at 122.08 mph. Trap speed increased by 1.25 mph from the previous best of the day. High-speed stability improved thanks to the Hoosier front-runners and QA1 shocks.