I’m not quite sure exactly how this happened, but I’m about to share an absolutely obscene photo with you all.
I didn’t start out with this goal in mind, but having every Watanabe Falcon steering wheel variant? Oh man. So sweet.
Let’s back up.
Back in 2015, I got the silver Falcon. And it remains the only one I’ve personally seen for sale. I know two other individuals with silver ones. They seem rare as hen’s teeth.
It was my first Falcon steering wheel.
A while back, I found myself with a legit black Falcon horn button in hand. I compared it to my chrome one and discovered they were from the same mold.
This is the chrome Falcon horn button I’ve seen photos of. It is likely the most rare Falcon accessory.
Then I added a “Wood Falcon” to my collection. It’s made by Arigorni (Ammigoni?) and is identical to the leather-wrapped Watanabe steering wheels. Clearly they came from the same factory.
The wood Arigorni wheels are not too rare. I see them pop up on auction sites once in a while. If you’re a fan of Watanabe or the Falcon steering wheel, you need one. It feels just as good as the leather one and is made exactly the same way with the angled grip.
My own Arigorni wheel is a 330mm. It has the “Made in Italy” stamp on the back. I know there are some in the 340mm and 350mm range. The small one feels really great.
Mine has a split in the wood all the way around where the two halves attach. I need to repair it and fill that crack. That’ll be a future blog post. I’ve not had time to learn that skill just yet.
Even with the crack, it’s a fantastic wheel. It feels better than any wood wheel I’ve ever used.
And that brings us up to my most recent addition – a black Watanabe Falcon.
These pop up on auction sites once in a great while. The black ones seem to be the most common.
Not that a 1-of-250 wheel made in the 80s is really a common thing…
Just like the silver, this one is 340mm. No “Made in Italy” stamp on the back. Pristine leather with wonderful grip. Squishy thumb depressions. Angled grip with finger recesses.
I added a legit black horn button to my collection and paired it with a replica trim ring. The rings themselves are becoming super rare in that the originals are disintegrating. The plastic gets gooey and requires special care to re-surface.
At least there are replicas.
With the trim ring and legit horn button, this black Falcon just looks the business. I wish I had something more intelligent to say about it, but words are failing me.
The hex trim ring looked okay on the silver wheel, but on the black it just looks perfect. Proper. Like it was meant to be.
I actually prefer a black center wheel in Sharka. I love my silver Falcon and won’t be getting rid of it at all, but the black center just matches much more nicely. It seems more harmonious.
And if it’s possible, this black wheel FEELS better than the silver. The leather finish is not as glove-soft as on the silver. And while soft leather is one of the best things in the world, this ever-so-slightly rougher finish gives better grip.
Yeah, it’s gonna be a long time before one of my MOMO or Nardi wheels will be back in rotation in Sharka.
Thanks to my three friends who helped me put this together – Bo, Chris, and Christian. You guys rock!
All I wanna do is sit in that driver’s seat for a couple thousand miles and become one with this new-to-me wheel. Anyone have a Miata event planned?