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Classic Maserati - Modern wheels

Discussion in 'Maserati' started by Jorgen Andersson, Dec 6, 2008.

  1. Jorgen Andersson

    Dec 1, 2008
    77
    Hello

    I am interested in trying some modern tyres on my Merak.

    Some classic Maseratis like Merak, Bora and Indy have a bolt pattern that is 4/130.
    Today most patterns are smaller diameter and most wheels can not be drilled to 4/130.

    1. I would be interested in what wheels that avilable today in 16" and 17" that will fit this pattern.

    2. Other options like wheel adaptors to fit other bolt patterns.

    3. Other thoughts and ideas.

    All the best
    Jorgen
     
  2. alberto

    alberto Formula 3
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    Custom wheels might be the best choice here. I looked at putting new wheels on a Lamborghini Espada and the modern available wheels don't really fit the character of the older car.

    I'm interested in the responses.
     
  3. Ron S

    Ron S Karting

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  4. Peconga

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    #4 Peconga, Dec 8, 2008
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 7, 2017
    One semi-custom option would be Superlite wheels, which are patterned after the classic Minilite eight-spoke design. They are available in sizes up to 16x7 (16x8 available soon), with bolt pattern drilled to customer specification. Available offsets are 12mm, 25mm, and 35mm ET. These are cast aluminum alloy wheels, with hardened steel lug inserts. Mounting is lug-centric with a 73mm centerbore for standard caps. Wheels are made in Australia to ISO-9002 quality standard and are certified by DOT, TUV, etc and other safety agencies.

    Superlite wheels are available in the USA through VTO Performance (formerly Pack Racking) at www.vtoperformance.com or 866-855-3473. I just spoke with their main guy (Terry), who confirmed that drilling wheels for 4x130 bolt pattern with 14x1.5 lug holes is no problem at all (same as the old VW and Porsche 914 pattern, BTW). He also confirmed price at $195 each plus shipping, including chrome lug nuts, valve stem, and (plastic) centercap. Current availability (i.e. turnaround time) is less than one week for machining holes for the 16x7 wheels, which they keep in stock at their warehouse in Prescott, AZ.

    On the plus side, Superlite wheels are a quality product with a traditional appearance, appropriate for 1960s and 70s era cars. They are also a bargain compared to full-out custom wheels. Of course they only come in one style (see pictures below), but until someone else tools up to make reproduction Campy or Borrani Record style wheels in modern sizes, our choices for vintage Maseratis will remain limited.

    For the record, I am not affiliated with Superlite or VTO in any way. I pulled the picture of the Alfa Romeo GTV from the www.alfabb.com site, and superimposed the wheels using Photoshop onto the picture of the white Khamsin to get an idea what they would look like.

    Cheers,
    Doug in Boise, Idaho USA
    www.peconga.com
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    1960 Vignale Spider 101-1043 (former)
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  5. Fenivision

    Fenivision Formula Junior

    Sep 25, 2008
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    Mhmmm ... that GTV looks tasty ...

    I wonder how much better the Khamsin would handle with modern tires. I know I'll never find out with "our" Khamsin as my uncle (understandably) is all about originality. It would be interesting though. (The Ghibli SS I don't have that much hope for, but I think the Khamsin would be a surprise with modern tires)
     
  6. Jorgen Andersson

    Dec 1, 2008
    77
    Great, keep the ideas coming!

    Jorgen
     
  7. staatsof

    staatsof Five Time F1 World Champ
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    I think the ones on Rob Scarboro's car look great and some of that has to do with them not revealing the caliper/rotor/suspension bits.
    On older cars these parts were not meant as jewelry like they are on modern cars. So open design wheels in an 18" rim look silly to me with the small rotors behind them.
    I would think it would be best to have 18" rims so that you will continue to have access to a great tire selection.

    Years ago I had Michelin XGT tires 235-60VR15 front and 245-60VR15 rear on the stock rims. I even managed to fit 255-6-VR15 BFGs on the rear. Those were fabulous tires that totally tranformed the cars handling compared to the still available XWX tires. So I think having access to modern perfromance tires via new rims would be great. That link Ron supplied has a couple of nice looking rims on it.

    Here's compomotive USA http://www.usacomp.com/

    Bob S.
     
  8. Jorgen Andersson

    Dec 1, 2008
    77
    I agree, todays fashion with very open wheel design will not fit well on a classic car.

    If it is possible to find a wheel you like in 17" that will fit, this size have several tires to choice from in order to get the same outer diameter as the original tires.

    Thanks
    Jorgen
     
  9. senna21

    senna21 F1 Rookie

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    What's the bolt pattern?
     
  10. Jorgen Andersson

    Dec 1, 2008
    77
    Hello Senna

    Please look at the first post in this thread.

    Thanks
    Jorgen
     
  11. gcmerak

    gcmerak Formula 3

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    #11 gcmerak, Dec 10, 2008
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 7, 2017
    Hi Bob and all,

    Long time no hear, how's the weather up in New Jersey, but I digress. Seems we had this discussion a long time ago IIRC.

    Several factors to take into account. Regarding the open wheel/brake components issue, 17" wheels you can probably squeak by on, but just barely...an 18" wheel IMHO no way.

    If you have a good amount of discretionary funds you can go with larger Brembo drilled rotors, custom hubs, 6 piston calipers, and drop the suspension, then the 17" would look really good! The 18" would still look like you mounted wagon wheels on the car. Minilites look good on 280Zs, Minis, Triumphs, Volvo 1800s and MGs, but not on Italian exotics, just my spin on it folks.

    A 16" wheel would look good, very proportional to the car without having to do too much, even if the wheel is an open design. 8" wide for the rear and front, maybe even 9" wide for the rear. The Merak has huge wheel wells don't you know! If you go with a 4 hole bolt pattern, a single plate wheel adapter is available from Skulte Performance Designs.com [for $139/pair] and can be coupled to any other 4 bolt wheel.. You would then definitely have a better performance option in hand, with much better tire choices, and have it all looking very proper, all in one package.

    Ciao,
    George
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  12. staatsof

    staatsof Five Time F1 World Champ
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    The adapters are interesting but why do you think 18" rims are not possible?

    Bob S.
     
  13. staatsof

    staatsof Five Time F1 World Champ
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    #13 staatsof, Dec 11, 2008
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  14. gcmerak

    gcmerak Formula 3

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    Hi Bob,

    I think 18" wheels could certainly be put on a Merak, but as per our previous discussion...as you correctly pointed out, big wheels and little rotors [comparatively speaking] would look incongruous.

    Check out Wil's thread in the 308 section under Supercharged 308 Almost Ready. Wil's awesome car may have 18" on it, I'm not sure. Those do look great, he has put in so much work into it to have the correct balance. So, yes with enough $ you could do the same for a Merak.

    I have had 17" on my 280Z for the last 8 years or so....drive it every day. Performance and handling are awesome, but the funny thing is, sometimes I think the wheels are too big, and other times I think they look just right....go figure! The Merak will more than likely get 16"s with the aforementioned adaptors in the future. The 16" should look respectfully correct relative to the rest of the hardware and with a handling improvement to boot. Time will tell.

    Ciao,
    George
     
  15. staatsof

    staatsof Five Time F1 World Champ
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    Oh I thought you meant for a technical reason. These are very old cars now, very old. So this sort of a change with a potentially much lighter wheel/rim combination and a vastly different aspect ratio might make the stock suspension tuning improper?

    But if you want decent tires these days you have to go for a rim change. I have similarly sized P4000E tires on my Espada which do work but those tires do not perform like the old Michelin XGT series did. The car really wobbles on the flimsy side walls. I'm not a fan of the XWX tires and they're outrageously priced anyway. I haven't looked at what's available these days in 16" tires but I imagine 17" still has a decent selection? Hopefully it will stay that way.

    I don't think I would change the the hub/rotor/calipers on one of these cars unless I could easily change it all back and on the Bora at least the brakes are already powerfull enough with little fade.

    Bob S.
     
  16. gcmerak

    gcmerak Formula 3

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    #16 gcmerak, Dec 12, 2008
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  17. staatsof

    staatsof Five Time F1 World Champ
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    I'm not a fan of that look even on modern cars. That car's been "improved" a bit too much for me.
     
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  18. maranello71

    maranello71 Formula 3

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    You've nailed the problem there. The tires that are available today on yesterday's "performance" sizes are now, at best, suitable for trucks and MPVs. They are totally unsuitable for cars that, however old, still have 300+ HP.

    At 17'' you can find an excellent selection of top quality performance tires (e.g. the Lotus Exige runs on 17''). Even on 16'' you can find very good tires, the problem is that you need to keep the same rolling diameter as the originals on your classic - and that means using 16'' with fairly tall profiles, which are generally not meant as performance tires.

    IMO the aftermarket rims that look good with most '70s supercars are the classic BBS "cross-wire" design. They were used on racing versions of the Porsche 911, 935 and 956, so they can be justified as "period accessories" by purists.

    As for handling, I once saw a comparison on a German (or Italian?) magazine between a Miura on original rims/tires and one on bigger BBS with modern low-profile tires... the difference was staggering, the Miura on modern tires was much safer and more stable, its braking distances improved massively, and even straight line acceleration improved (I seem to remember the original doing the 1/4 mile in about 14s, with modern tires it did it in the mid-13s).

    Conclusion: leave the originals for classic shows and concours juries. For driving, go for a modern choice. The technology improvement has been staggering.
     
  19. gcmerak

    gcmerak Formula 3

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    #19 gcmerak, Dec 13, 2008
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 7, 2017
    The above red Dino is sitting on 18", way too much for me.

    17"s would be a maybe in my book, rotors and calipers would be dwarfed by the wheel. 16" would look much more appropriate with a stock braking system [could always upgrade later on], and I think the tire profile would be performance looking given the tire is 11" wide or so.

    Here is Wil de Groot's awesome supercharged 308 on 17", remember though, he has the six piston calipers and upgraded cross drilled rotors to go along with the larger wheels.

    The last picture is of a Bora with 17" wheels as well , that car needs some lowering and wheel spacers to fill out the wheel wells or at least wider tires to really look correct IMHO. The wheels are CompoMotive.

    Ciao,
    George
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  20. maranello71

    maranello71 Formula 3

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    I think that Bora looks great!

    Those Compomotive wheels are very similar to the traditional BBS design - it fits '70s cars perfectly.
     
  21. staatsof

    staatsof Five Time F1 World Champ
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    George, I'm just wondering if you're taking the original tire diameter into consideration. I can't believe you are not but when you talk about lowering the car to fill out the wheel wells I'm not so sure.
    Now on the Bora I tried to stay as close to the original O.D. as possible especially on the rears. I agree, that Dino looks stupid. But I saw some pretty nice aftermarket wheels on Khamsins and Boras at the 1994 Maserati International meet. I thought they were 18" but they might have been 17". My track car has 18" rims, two different sets and I use both DOT racing tires and pure slicks on that car. They look nothing like that silly Dino.

    I looked at Tirerack the other day to quickly survey tire sizes and OMG are there a lot of tires in innumerable size variations these days in the 17" and 18" range. I think it would be a lot of work figuring out:

    A. The correct sizes for both width and diameter.
    B. Also, select nicely performing tires that don't break the bank.
    C. Lastly, which of these sizes isn't going to vanish in a few years?

    It was very painful to have the old 235 & 245 VR tire sizes vanish overnight. Then they got rid of the great Comp T/A R1 competition tires as well. Argh!!!!
    Some of these were great modern tires and probably ones you'd be willing to use today. I cant say that about the P4000 or P4000E tire.
    Yes they fit and yes they are properly load/speed rated. They are a high quality tire. But they feel like a sloppy pair of slippers if you try to drive the car in a spirited manner.

    On a Bora 235's on stock rims always rubbed slightly on the front sway bar link at full lock. The 245's on the rear required a 1/4" spacer and they also rubbed on those brilliantly designed ridges on the inner fender wall. The ridges allowed for as gentle a contact as possible. The tires would rub under hard cornering if you simultaneously hit a big bump. It wasn't a big issue. It never happened at the track even with R1 255's on there.

    Lot's of work to get things right but today you have a ton of options that were not available 15 years ago.

    I don't know that I'd be inclined to futz with the suspension on a Bora very much. It's never going to be the equivalent of a modern track rat and I wouldn't want to spoil it's wonderful (for an old mid engined car) ride.
    It does OK at the track but it does LEAN LIKE HELL. Even so I had lots of fun out driving a ton of Countachs on the talent portions of the track. They always looked so damned surprised.

    As Mananello71 pointed out, when I put the then modern rubber on my Bora it was like night and day. So if you're driving one around today with these wimpy 215/70V15 tires available today you are missing a LOT!

    Besides, I think Bora's look great with bigger agressive looking tires. Purists might not agree. :>))

    Bob S.
     
  22. gcmerak

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    Great post Bob!

    Yes, definitely taking OD into account. Mine leans too....larger sway bars are needed for better lateral stability. Did that on the Z and OMG what a difference for the better.

    I may start a Racing My Bora thread just to hear about your track exploits, Bob. Pleeeeeze post some of your Bora pictures.

    Ciao,
    George
     
  23. gcmerak

    gcmerak Formula 3

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    #23 gcmerak, Dec 14, 2008
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  24. alberto

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    Bob:

    I have Pirelli P4000 Super Touring on my Miura. They handle very well even driven hard, I'm very happy with them. Did you try the super touring or the regular P4000's? Perhaps they feel differently on a Miura than on a Bora? Either that, or you drive harder than I do?
     
  25. staatsof

    staatsof Five Time F1 World Champ
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    Hi Alberto,

    I don't know about the driving thing? Give your Miura a push from the side and start rocking it back and forth then you'lll see what I mean. This makes for a sloppy pair of shoes when your trying to drive hard. The old 60 series performance tires didn't do this and with the even more modern tires there are more improvements. I have the P4000E tires on my Espada and they're a very nice touring tire but the sidewalls on them aren't even as stiff as an XWX tire which are legendary amongst tire professionals for being a PITA to deal with.

    Bob S.
     

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