Frank H. Cicerale
November 1, 2007

One thing to note is that the larger wheel and tire combo will affect the gear ratio. If we ever got Project MILF to hook on the new tires and wheels, we'd probably lose a little e.t. and speed.

In addition to shipping us the wheels, Discount Tire Direct also kicked over a set of corresponding Nitto NT555 Extreme tires. The Nittos would replace the stock tires, which were sized at 235/55ZR-17 on all four corners. The new meats were sized 275/35ZR-20 out back, while the front hoops came in at a slightly smaller 255/35ZR-20. Either way, both the front and the rear tires had a larger tread width, meaning that more rubber would meet the road. This would aid in cornering and braking, as the contact patches are greater. In addition, the sidewalls for the new Nittos were much shorter than stock, so we knew that once we got the tires on the wheels and took Project MILF down the road, the feel of the car and its ride quality would (or should) be a bit different.

The tread design of the Nitto NT555 is aggressive, supplying plenty of dry-weather performance. The tread pattern was designed to optimize maximum contact under hard acceleration, braking, and cornering. At the same time, though, the tread design is also effective when the skies open up. This tire is arguably the closest thing to being a competition track tire that's still suitable for everyday driving. We planned on flogging Project MILF on the road course at some point in the future, so we knew the NT555s would be perfect for taking the kids to soccer practice as well as turning a few hot laps around the twisty Old Bridge Township Raceway Park road course.

We loaded up Project MILF (and a chase car) with all of the parts and pieces for the installation and cruised back to South Amboy, New Jersey, where Chris Winter of Crazy Horse Racing performed the brake makeover. Once the brakes were on and bled, and the tires and wheels were bolted on the car, we took Project MILF for a brief ride on the roads around the shop to bed the brake pads. We made a couple of gradual stops from 40 mph to 20 mph, let the brakes cool, and then a few hard stops from 60 mph to 20 mph. Once Winter felt comfortable that the brakes were bedded correctly and everything was in order, we drove the car to get a feel for the new rolling stock and braking hardware.

Originally, there were questions as to how the car, with the Handling Pack's lowering springs and the shorter-sidewall 20-inch rims and tires, would perform on the street in terms of driveability and ride quality. While the ride isn't as cushy as a stock Mustang GT's with the factory suspension components and rolling stock, the overall ride of Project MILF with the new gear and the performance suspension components that are a part of the Handling Pack wasn't diminished enough to knock out our fillings.

The larger tires and wheels allow the car to cut into the corners with more authority. Just ask the driver of the Honda S2000 we dusted on a windy road. Best of all were the thumbs-up we got from a few drivers at stoplights.