Rite of Spring

Though it certainly lacks the artistry and profundity of a Stravinsky ballet, one of the very joyous signs marking the true arrival of spring for car geeks is the day you decide to exchange the squirmy, mushy winter tires in favor of a set of proper summer wheels.

It’s subtle, of course. But it really does transform the stance of the car. Car designers didn’t really discover the way wheels and tires could be used as design elements until the late sixties and early seventies. Some of this change was functional, of course; big advances in tire technology made much wider tires possible on production cars, and manufacturers modified their cars to suit. Just compare the spindly stance of this 1965 Porsche 911 with the more menacing, planted look of the 1973 911 Carrera RS, made just 8 years later:

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