Saturday, October 15, 2011

Miata Mods - Wheels

What a difference a month makes. Back when the Miata was acquired, I had planned on upgrading the 18.1lb, 14" x 5.5" stock steel wheels...
...with lighter (13.1 lbs), wider and larger 15" x 6" '99 Miata Sport Package five-spoke alloy wheels:
I found the five spokes locally and bought the set shortly after buying the car. After doing a bit more research on the fantastic forum, I had a change of heart about the 5-spokes. My plan all along was to hold on to the OEM steel wheels, either to put back on if/when I get bored of the car or to simply save as they're original to a very original car. However, the steelies are wrapped in 10 month old rubber - and the thought of having four nearly-new tires sitting, aging and drying out (not to mention taking up space) in the garage just didn't seem right. Secondly, I discovered the Enkei RPF1 wheel:
So the 15" 5-spokes were put up on Craigslist and sold with ease for my initial purchase price. To my eyes, RPF1s have a simple design with a nice lip and should also be easy to keep clean. The 14" tires would swap over from the steelies, saving me the hassle of storing tires as they slowly deteriorated. And, most importantly, the 14" x 7" size weigh in at all of 8.5 lbs each.
And here they are, finally installed on the car:
Not only do they look great and give the car a much more-sporting appearance, the ride and performance was transformational. Reducing unsprung and rotational weight by a whopping 38 lbs, the car feels more lively with additional steering feedback - especially since this car has a manual rack. The "butt dyno" confirms that it's a bit more sprightly when accelerating and braking as well. A set of McGard Spline Drive lug nuts hold the wheels on.

The stock steelies are now sitting, boxed, in the garage rafters. Next up: suspension freshening.

UPDATE: My friend Ron thinks I missed a great opportunity to run some truly classy wheels:
Spinners look great on everything, right?


Ron R said...

Hoonage videos of you doing donuts in the snow in the Jehovah's Witness parking lot on a Sunday morning or those wheels didn't happen.

Keith said...

My what large wheel gaps you have, Grandma.

Green Laker said...

@Keith - that's one of the reasons that suspension is next on the project list.

Brian said...

I was going to say the same thing about the gap. And as we all know Chris, it was only going to be a matter of time until the lil red wagon is dropped a bit.


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