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HTSpec TSX Redeux: Part 4, New old wheels

  • Posted: 03-05-2014 11:34 PM
  • HTSpec TSX

Choosing wheels can be a strenuous part of a vehicle build. While sometimes a car comes together around a wheel, we did not have a wheel planned for this build. This HTSpec TSX build, with the aero kit we are using and the color we are painting the car, presented a bit of a challenge.

There are a few favorites of ours that we considered. Of course, any Mugen wheel is a stylistic “win,” but after such a long run on 9” wide wheels the thought of going any narrower just feels absurd. Work, SSR, and Wedsport all produce wheels that we know are fantastic, but finding a balance between originality and visual compliment on a TSX was eluding us. Volk Racing wheels are impossible not to drool over until you get a price quote. We’d be lying if we said we didn’t care to spend $3000+ on a set of wheels. Enkei was in contention for the performance versus cost no-brainer side of things; but we are back in commonality again. Had a right-sized set of used Desmonds in gunmetal (not a fan of white wheels) or old school Manaray Sport MS-6s come up (found an NSX spec set, no good for us), we could stop here.

Anyone can whip out a credit card and go nuts. Hell, they’ll even take a set of afore-mentioned Volks and powdercoat them hot pink with a blueberry-camo scheme lip. Unforgivable enough is that sin, they then buy them in widths and offsets that are destined as expensive garden-hose reels in the next five years.

Heeltoe has been in this game for more than twelve years. Your humble author has been tuning Hondas since the late 90s. Something a little more classic would best portray our ties to the past, but making an older wheel work on a newer can be a challenge. Luckily, a 2004 TSX is merely “middle aged.” We recalled an earlier TSX adopter in the forums installed 19” Volk Racing GT-7s on his car, and we’ve yet to see a combo that works as well. That was our choice: The Volk GT-7.

Multi-piece GT series Volks stand apart from the monoblock models with a higher class-quotient. They were 2-piece wheels featuring stylized but sporty-looking forged centers. To name a few, there was a mesh GT-U, split 5-spoke GT-V, 10-spoke GT-N (never liked this one), and the GT-7 with an aggressive 7-spoke design.

Just deciding one day you want an older set of wheels in a specific size, color, and price range is easy. Finding one is sometimes a challenge. However as it just so happened, a set popped up on an Evo forum that checked all the boxes. 18x9.0 will setup up the class of our current 17x9 949Racing 6ULR set without the width compromise. An offset of +38mm was going to push the wheel out from our current wheels for a little more showy fitment (without requiring excessive camber or fender monkeying or tire stretching, etc). And the price was right at just under $1000.


Our elation was soon tempered when we realized that the previous owner had not maintained the wheels exceptionally well, and they attempted to disassemble one to clean it prior to shipping. *shudder* No sir, please just send them off! No bother. We were expecting to refinish these wheels anyway.

Freshly in hand, we can think of no reason NOT to toss one on the HTSpec TSX just to see how they would look, and we could not be more pleased, even with the horrid state of our paint after our recent "Hella Slush" experience.

This wheel just works on a TSX. The car itself is somewhere between sport and luxury. The 7-spoke design evokes performance while the stylization of the spokes and the mounting flange in the barrel are mesmerizing. A bright, machined finish inside the hub mirrors the polished, raw alloy lips. The silver color perfectly highlights the contours of the wheel while not over-blowing the polished areas. The wheel came in a gunmetal and a gold color as well, but the sliver is so classic, we think we’ll stick with it.

But how will they fit against the fenders?

Here is the current 17x9 +48 with 255-series tires.

Here is the new wheel.

We know many of you won’t be impressed by this setup on paper, nor will we be pushing any sort of boundaries. We don’t mind, though. This is a GT car. Function and form need to come together to provide the best of both worlds. This car, in addition to turning heads, will need to haul ass. For tires we are planning on installing 245-series tires, but this is a bit in the air at the time being.

These wheels need to be properly checked out and refurbished. After a little poking around on the internet we found Skip’s Wheel Werks, and with a quick call it was clear we found a great candidate for taking on our refurbish.

Skip is an older man, and his shop has been working on wheels for 40 years. Skip's is full of wheels in various states of repair. Frankly, it is an honor having our wheels being redone in the presence of those from the likes of Porsche, BMW, and Ferrari.

First the wheels were spun up to check runout (roundness). Skip then graded the wheels 1-10 for straightness.

Pleasantly, three of our four wheels were 10s, and the forth was an 8 (a defect minor enough not to require correction).

Here is Skip’s grandson, popping the center caps out of our wheels. GT-7 wheel caps are held in with o-rings and they are wedged in the hubs quite snugly.

The caps themselves are a little weathered. The logo is not blurred there, it is wear from elements fogging the carbon-backed detail. The backsides have damage from being beaten out. New ones are on order.

Here is a shot of another work area. Tire changer, some lemony-fresh Saleen wheels, customer tires…Skip’s service includes tire installation and removal. There were a whole bunch more out back. Unfortunately we didn’t grab pics of the other wheels. But there were old Fuchs, 911 wheels, and various other sparkling examples of

Implements to make wheels shiny.

More shiny implements.

And now we bid adieu to our GT-7s. It will be three or four weeks before they are ready. Apparently, Skip is in demand. We asked for some pics and stuff of the progress, but we aren’t holding our breath. However, we felt fine not impressing on him the importance of not messing up the wheels or losing the hardware. That means more than the pics.


03-05-2014 03:23 PM at 3:23 PM
You should get those beauties anodized! Would do the same with mine but salt resistance isn't really good. Scared that it might eat through. Have em painted for now.
03-05-2014 02:10 PM at 2:10 PM
You realize these are 7 spokes, not 6, right? :D
MrHeeltoe: Shh...making sure people are paying attention. Clearly we aren't.
03-05-2014 01:59 PM at 1:59 PM
Gonna look great! Good read!

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