Our customer Kaan’s full authentic Amuse GT1-kitted S2K was recently featured on Canibeat. Check out the shoot; it’s that classic combo of beautiful car with gorgeous scenery!
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My first post back after the awesome blogger contest entries! Thank you again to everyone who participated!
The new Gram Lights 57G is one of the hottest new Rays wheels I’ve seen in a while (from the first look at the pictures released) and I think is worthy of a post here. It is refreshing to see a new rim by Rays that I can get excited about. There just has not been much to get crazy over when it comes to new rim designs out of Japan in recent years.
Rays clearly has a tough job when it comes to making impactful new wheel design trends. I say that because the TE37 is still one of the hottest wheels from any manufacturer in any country after more than 10 years. I had a set of Bronze TE37s on my Honda Prelude in the late 1990s, and after all of the trends and innovation the TEs are still at the top of my list of rims I’d select to do a build with. I cant think of many products I can say that about over that long a period in time. Its damn near an impossible feat.
So on one hand I feel a little bad for the product designers at Rays because they’re having a hard time eclipsing the desirably of the TE37 which is more than a decade old. Not to lay any fault on them…they still have made some really great wheels over the years, but to me, only the CE28N has been at the same level as the TE37 when it comes to classic wheel greatness. There are plenty of honorable mentions, but only two certified timeless classics in my opinion. (thats still two more than most wheel companies will ever get)
Put the Meister S1 2pc and 3pc wheels, the TE37s or the CE28Ns on any car and they will always look great. Forever.
So the modern wheel game consists of some very big shoes to fill. The VR G2 wheels were one of Rays newer releases and has the makings of a wheel with good design longevity. But honestly, I cant ever say that I felt excited about them…they always felt like a safe play, and if you were to think of them as TE37 Generation 2s, they feel a bit like a letdown. Like remakes of classic movies, sometimes sequels are hard to do…especially when comparing to a set of concave TE37s in 18×10.5+15 GT-R offsets. That’s like doing a remake of Scarface without Al Pacino, pretty much an impossible task to eclipse the original.
So maybe me hoping that they will make a rim more classic than the TE37 someday is nothing more than a pipe dream.
I’m at least excited to make this post and show two new rims which I’d say are some of their best designs in years. I really wish the 57G posted above would have been a Volk Racing branded wheel since my experience with Gram Lights has for the most part been an inferior product when compared to Volk Racing. I still dont understand why they use the word light in a brand that has heavier rims than Volk Racing. That always from a marketing point of view turned me off on Gram Lights, from the very first time I picked up a wheel in Japan and wondered how a light wheel could be so heavy. I used to call them Gram Heavies when talking with my friends. I mean, I get that Volk need a more economy line but I always felt the name was a bit misleading.
Give me a set of these 57G wheels under the Volk Racing brand with forged production (these are cast for cost savings reasons) and a concave face. That would be a classic winner. Until that never happens, this is still one of the hottest new rims out. Certified.
These 57G wheels by the way have a concave face available it seems (not pictured). They actually have 3 different face profiles which is a GREAT idea. Sizes max out at 18″ with offsets going down to +12 on the 10.5s. Makes me still want to run a set on my S2000 widebody in 18×10.5+12 Face-3. Hmm…if only they were the forged Volk Racing versions I wish they were.
And for those old school Honda heads out there, this variation below might just be even cooler for you. The 57 Vintage offered in 16″ with 4×100 bolt pattern only. A “new classic” wheel if you will…Put on the right car, this would be certified hotness. (Mugened out EF Civic HB and Slammed DC2 Integra Type R quickly come to mind)
Here’s another post from Patrick Callahan! I had to fight the temptation to not rename it too “A Morgan With Volk Racing Wheels!!!” Just the idea of seeing Volks on a Morgan was something I never thought I’d see. Anyway, on to Patrick’s post!
Before tuners, before carbon fiber, before automated assembly and interchangeable parts there were craftsmen. These craftsmen kept the machines of their day running without the luxuries of mechanics today. One of these craftsmen was H.F.S. Morgan. In 1910 he started the Morgan Motor Company. Today Morgan is the oldest privately owned manufacturer in the world and they and their clients recognize that some things are still best done the old-fashioned way. One of their models has been in production relatively unchanged for over 70 years. However, that doesn’t mean Morgan is afraid of technology. In their own words, “our emphasis is on only using technology where it counts, resulting in lightweight high performance cars.” An admirable aim but quite different from the Japanese fascination with technology.
In the late ’90’s Morgan decided to introduce a new model, the Aero 8. While it retains much of the classic Morgan shape it is significantly updated and does the job of bringing the marque into the new millennium in terms of design and performance. More recently Morgan released the AeroMax which is designed to advance the Aero 8’s design that much more.
Morgan’s stated philosophy is “pure, elegant, light and fast.” While it looks like it’s from another world many of Morgan’s suppliers are familiar names; Koni, Eibach, AP Racing. With those things in mind it’s really no surprise that they chose Volk Progressiv ME’s for their newest car. While the corporate cultures of Morgan and Volk may seem to be at odds with each other, the wheels could hardly be a more perfect fit for the vehicle. Morgan clearly understands the universal language of JDM and perhaps many in the JDM scene will appreciate the mentality of Morgan.
Being what I consider a purveyor of quality JDM tuning I often challenge myself to great degrees as I aim to push the boundaries of how we see conventional tuning. At the same time I must also balance the respect of the core principals that I love. These wheels simply put, are pushing the boundary.
For the latest car project I’m completing, I must satisfy my clients desire for bling and showmanship while retaining my hardcore JDM roots. Later on I’ll release my original concept for the project, which ultimately was changed as I was required last minute to paint the car to the new specification of the client (Red). Personally I dont like red cars at all so that posed a lot of frustrating challenges on its own. But working with the needs of the project, I wanted to find a wheel spec and style to match a show car quality red paint hue that unexpectedly forced on to the project. So, what did I do? I decided to embrace the bling and set out to do the first set I’ve ever seen of 24 karat gold racing wheels.
Knowing that adding the gold plating would increase the weight slightly I set out for the lightest wheel with the most agressive size I could find. 19×10 and 19×11 Volk Racing RE30s were the answer. After refinishing the wheel in real 24K gold, the result was still a very impressive weight of 21.55lbs, damn good for any wheel of that size!
While keeping strength and light weight function in tact, I can still say the famous Chappelle quote: This wheel is “The Most Baller S#!T Ever!”
Feel free to comment about how sacrilegious it is to take a racing wheel and gold plate it, I’m ok with the love and the hate mail. Sometimes I’m confident enough to go against my own theories and still reach the desired result…same goes with my gold S2000 when I made my own aero parts by mixing and matching and modifying while at the same time I always talk about the proven theory that mix and match aero doesnt function properly.
I feel that if the confidence, strategy and skill is there then rules are meant to be broken from time to time.