Yeah. Wheels. I bought wheels for a car I only bought to make gauges and other parts.
I couldn’t help myself. I… I love cars. And Stormy deserved a nice set of wheels.
These are 16×8 +50 wheels off an FD RX-7 of the early 90s. They bolt up to the NC (5×4.5 bolt pattern or 5×114.3 more properly written out) and fit under the fenders without any modification.
And they weigh 13.8 lbs.
Thirteen POUNDS for a 16×8. That’s… insane. For comparison, the RP-F1 (usually the weight champ on the block) in 16×7 trim comes in at 13.5 lbs. Adding an inch of metal usually adds around a lb to a wheel. The FD stock alloys manage to add an inch and only three tenths of a pound.
And they look nice!
I had to have them.
I got the wheels on a Saturday night. I opened them and made sure they were round. I closed them up and took them immediately to Carmer’s, the shop that painted Sharka and Blue Car. And Sharka’s rollbar. And every other paint project I can find.
A quick shout out to Corey, a good friend and someone with an amazing talent for finding goddamn anything in the world with only a few minutes work. I sent him an off-hand email about the car and that I was looking for wheels. Within an hour, he got me in contact with someone selling a set for a good price.
A couple days passed and the wheels were in my hands. And they were fantastic. Thank you Corey!!
Back to the paint.
Carmer’s works fast. Blindingly fast. I dropped off the wheels and was chatting with Ken, the owner. I turned back around and one wheel was already scuffed and ready for primer.
And… man, does it look nice with a flat silver finish. I almost considered leaving them that way. But it wouldn’t have been much contast against white paint and I wanted contrast.
But what color to paint them?
I posed this question on ClubRoadster and the answer was immediately hit out of the park. A guy named Louros (who also goes by John, another buddy and customer) suggested Porsche Platinum Satin.
I googled a bit. I found many examples. I was smitten.
Boom. That’s what Porsche Satin Platinum looks like. Gorgeous, yes?
I barely had to wait any longer than that to see them myself. I got the wheels, I brought them to Carmer’s and they were painted by the next paragraph.
I wanted something dark for the Stormtrooper. White and black is kinda what I’m going for with the car. Maybe not too imaginative but I think it’ll look really good.
I love this finish. It’s paint. It’s not black. It’s not the ever-popular gunmetal finish either. It’s… got so much depth. And it’s not too shiny.
In this finish, the wheels will still exist when you look at the car (and when I take a photo). They won’t be just featureless black areas under the wheel wells. The wheels will still have depth and detail.
I owe John something for this suggestion. Thanks again my friend!
And now for tires.
I opted for some Continental DWS in 225/50 size. They’re on super-sale right now at Tire Rack due to a new model coming out and I’ve had them on the Mazda3 for a couple years. For all season tires, they’re fantastic. Just the thing for Stormy.
That’s right. Sharka did tire duty. He didn’t complain either. This is my favorite game in the world, and Sharka’s my favorite game board.
We call it “What can we shove in a Miata?”
While it’s not a fullsize Christmas tree or a 6′ bookcase, getting all four of these wide tires and wheels in the car was a decent win. One of the guys at the Mazda dealer even said “you’re NEVER getting those tires in that car.”
And then we won the game and drove home.
A few words about Stormy’s old tires – yuck. Ouch. Holy shit. And perhaps “no.”
The rears were 3 year old Coopers. Nothing wrong with those, they just weren’t nearly as sticky as the DWS all seasons going on the car. But the fronts?
8 year old Michelin tires. Totally dry rotted and cracked to hell. There were cracks INSIDE the tread. Just… horrible.
There was even a nice gash in the sidwall that I never noticed until removing them.
Bye bye old tires.
McGard lug nuts in black with the fancy spinning seat? Yes please. The spinning seat will help ensure that the nice Platinum Satin paint doesn’t go away with every wheel on/off cycle.
And one more thing before the reveal.
I wanted to do a quick reminder of where Stormy used to be. This was snapped so very long ago. 9 days prior to the writing of this blog entry.
Look at those wagon wheels. That ride height. The lack of attitude.
That’s so much better.
That’s a Miata.
That color. Those tires. OMG.
Just what I wanted. (you can click on all of these pix to see them a bit larger.)
Let me try to get some thoughts together and stop gushing about the wheel and color choice.
They ride SO MUCH BETTER than the dead 17s. Holy crap. No comparison. Bumps are not jarring and the suspension is easily able to control the weight. The old wheel/tire combo was 41 lbs. The new one is 34. That’s a huge difference.
And the extra grip? Yes sir. Though I feel a bit silly talking about “grip” when all season tires are in the room, but these Continentals grip nicely. Especially in 225 size. They’re nothing like Sharka’s Toyos, but they are night and day between what used to be on the car.
And they look so nice under the fenders. The extra rubber, the extra wheel offset, and the color. So very good.
(those red toenails have to go.)
I’d like to thank my photographer for shooting the pix in this blog post. She’s got quite the eye. I understand her rates are pretty reasonable if anyone out there would like to hire her.
All she asks for is a top down drive once in a while.
The first comment made me realize that my little joke above probably wasn’t obvious. No, the above shots were NOT taken by my daughter. They were by me. But here are a few that she took while we were out shooting Stormy.
Nikon D40 with the kit lens as held by a 5 year old. I edited color levels a bit and resized for the blog.
And… of course…
She’s pretty amazing IMHO.