The Hoonigans have returned with another insane test: replacing wheels with a set made out of wood.
Last time we saw the Hoonigans at work was when they made a set of twin-turbos that were actually just industrial fans taped to the intake manifold. It worked, surprisingly, increasing a beat-up Pontiac Trans-Am’s performance by a few dozen horses.
Now they’ve decided to test the merits of an ancient technology on modern automobiles: a wheel made out of wood. Sort of like how you’d find on a horse-drawn wagon a century ago or two ago.
To test their theory that wood is still good, they got an old Audi 200 with all-wheel-drive and a 5-cylinder turbocharged engine with roughly 163 horses when it was new. God knows how many it has now, or how many will be lost to scraping wood particles on the pavement.
The interior has been ripped out and replaced with a roll cage and safety harness because everyone expects this to end in a crash or fire or both.
Each wooden wheel is roughly 24-inches in diameter but not particularly wide which won’t do anything to help their grip.
Three tests were performed: a start/stop test, a donut test, and a proximity test. The start/stop is simply accelerating as quickly as possible and then stomping on the brakes to see where the car stops. The donut test is exactly as it sounds, and the proximity test involves performing a wide, sweeping curve and using the car to knock out some light bulbs without hitting the obstacles.
As you probably expected, the wooden wheels weren’t particularly good at any of these tests.
The start/stop test ended with the Audi hitting the final barrier and then going even further to stop some 5 times as far as regular rubber tires. The donut test went surprisingly well, but that might have had more to do with the control lap being botched. And even though the donuts were performed admirably, the Audi still lost a wheel at the end.
The proximity test was a complete disaster. Both passenger-side wheels broke off and sent the Audi skidding beyond the obstacles.
On the plus side, the wooden tires reportedly smelled great after their runs.