My buddy Randy is perhaps the biggest hoarder of rare JDM parts that I know. And by rare, I don’t mean things like the Japanese market OEM sunglasses holder, or checkerboard floormats, or a discontinued FET quick release. Those are things anyone can get with a little searching and a little money. Nope, I mean the rare stuff. The parts that most normal people have never even heard of. Randy probably has two of those parts still in the factory baggy or box in his garage.
Randy has grown tired of his uber-dope USDM R2-Limited (that’s a white with red interior NA sold in Japan). He recently decided to move onto a 95M (merlot with tan interior) and part out a good 99% of his rare goodies. A fresh start and all that. And having just had a fresh start with Sharka 2 years ago, I can dig it. The chance to do everything BETTER with a new car is wonderful, and something many people never get to experience. Many, if not most enthusiasts finish a build and then move onto a new model. Trade up. Go from the Civic to the S2000 to the Lotus to the Ferrari. But staying with the same model and doing it all right the 2nd time? It’s wonderful.
But I digress. I typed the words “part out a good 99% of his rare goodies” just a moment ago. Guess who the first guy to jump on that pile of goodies was? Yeah. He’s typing right now. And the pic above is one of those rare goodies. Uber-rare. The rarest automotive part I’ve ever held in my hands.
M2 Corporation was a factory tuning shop in Japan in the early 90s when the Miata (Roadster over there) was still brand new. There’s a thread on ClubRoadster that explains everything. Be warned, it’s fascinating stuff and they made some beautiful cars. You may suddenly lose a half hour while looking at them.
M2 made 300 of their 1001 Cafe Roadster in 1991. The interior featured a black theme with polished aluminum parts. A vintage racer-inspired Miata interior. It’s a look that I enjoy with Sharka’s interior, and I’ve always loved the steering wheel on the M2-1001. I’m a big wheel whore. I’ve posted about my various steering wheels a few times. So when the chance to own one of these wheels came up, I was there. First in line. With bells on my ridiculous head and money in my eager hand. There was no way I was gonna let this pass me by.
M2 commissioned 300 of these wheels from Momo back in 1991. And indeed, mine is stamped with that date on the back of the wheel. As of this writing, it is one month until 2011. This wheel is 20 years old. And it looks nicer than my one-year-old Momo Prototipo!
My wheel came from Japan via a company called Garage Hundred One who was breaking a crashed M2-1001. Randy found out about this and managed to buy the steering wheel from the part-out. The car it came out of had less than 5000 miles on it. Randy babied this wheel during his time as its guardian. Always wearing driving gloves and keeping it clean. Always keeping the leather conditioned and perfect. And it shows.
(Sorry for gushing about the rarity and condition of the wheel. It’s just… so beautiful in person. My pix are poor and do it no justice.)
The wheel is 370 mm in diameter. That’s pretty big. That’s about an inch larger than my “daily driving” wheels and 10 mm larger than my Nardi Classico that I often refer to as my “cruising wheel.” This wheel is BIG and it has a thinner grip diameter than most modern wheels. And holding it is just…. an experience. It hearkens back to a day when sports cars came with big steering wheels and skinny tires. Driving gloves and scarves. No sat-nav or heated seats. And I love it.
I mentioned the Momo Monte Carlo earlier. That wheel shares many traits with this M2-1001 wheel. The center spoke style is identical. But the Montecarlo has never come in a 370mm size. It also has anatomic hand grips at 10 and 2. The M2-1001 does not have any hand grip protrusions. However, for those wanting a similar look to the M2-1001, a few hours of polishing the spokes and $150 spent on an ebay Montecarlo will get you very close.
Anyways. I’m thrilled to be able to share this steering wheel with the world via my blog. My photos and words don’t do it justice. But I’ve tried my hardest. Hope you’ve enjoyed it.
Thank you again, Randy, for letting me care for this rare beauty for a few years. When you want it back, just let me know.
Oh yeah. This shot? This is the light by which I shot these pix. Not bad, eh? It really beats my garage lighting.