Have I gone mad?…
…or is it just the sex appeal of those five spoke “Teledial” wheels on the 2000’s Alfa Romeo 156?
I have a fondness for wheels with simple geometric shapes. It must be because one of my first car obsessions; the 1990 Lamborghini Diablo. The wheels on that car had a simple five spoke design that consisted of basically a solid wheel with five circular holes cut out of it. It was so simple, when I sketched cars in my composition book during class, I always drew those wheels. In fact, I still do!
Recently I was chewing the fat with one of my best friends, and the subject of wheels came up. I’ve been toying with the idea of getting something a little more eye-catching for my Shinsen Miata, but finding wheels that I think look better than the stock five-spoke alloys is easier said than done. I could do what everyone else is doing and buy some JDM-style rims, but that option can get pretty pricey. Plus, I’m not exactly standing out at any Cars and Coffee events since there’s always a Miata with JDM rims anyway.
I started to lament that there weren’t a lot of aftermarket options that looked like my ideal design. I’d love to put Teledial-style wheels on the Shinsen, but my options were severely limited. Then, I had a thought: Why not look at used wheels from cars that used the Teledial design? I started doing more research, and almost immediately I found the ideal wheel.
And it belongs to a car never sold in the USA.
The (near) Perfect Wheels
Alfa Romeo has been using the Teledial-style wheel designs for decades, especially most recently in their current lineup of US-import vehicles. Of course, those newer wheels are pricey and too big for my diminutive Miata. Thankfully, Alfa Romeo made a 16-inch wheel that is nearly identical to the Miata’s stock wheels, and they’re pretty inexpensive (not factoring shipping)! The 2003 Alfa 156 and 147 had the option of a lightweight aluminum wheel with five circular “Teledial” spokes, and they look gorgeous. Aside from being based on a classic Alfa design, the treatment of the wheels is also nearly identical to the Miata’s, so they aren’t gaudy or too distracting like some other wheels I’ve seen.
I dug deeper trying to learn as much as I can about these particular wheels. I was worried that the wheel size and the lug pattern was too different from the stock Miata wheels to even consider as a replacement, but then I stumbled across Wheel-Size.com; a massive database for wheel fitment and tire sizes. With it, I was able to find the the exact specifications for both my Shinsen Miata’s Wheels, and the Alfa Romeo Teledial Wheels:
2003 Shinsen Miata 1.8L 5spd:
- Wheel Size: 16in x 6.5in J
- Lug Pattern: 4x100mm
- Offset: 40mm
- Center Bore: 54.1mm
- Tire Size: P205/45R16
2003 Alfa Romeo 156 1.6L-2.5L
- Wheel Size: 16in x 6.5in J
- Lug Pattern: 5x98mm
- Offset: 41.5mm
- Center Bore: 58.1mm
- Tire Size: P205/55R16
As you can see, not only is the rim size practically the same, but the Offset, Center Bore and Tire Size are incredibly similar! The only drawback to these wheels however is the lug pattern. Instead of the 4 lug, 100mm diameter pattern, Alfa Romeo utilized a 5 lug pattern 98mm in diameter. This means that if I were to find these wheels somewhere, I would need to rely on a PCD Wheel Adapter that changes the lug pattern from 4x100mm to 5x98mm. And that’s even if I find the wheels; because Alfa Romeo never sold this car in the states, all examples of this particular wheel is sold overseas. That means more shipping costs!
Alas, it might be more trouble than it’s actually worth. Still, I’d like to imagine how surprised people would get when I roll up with a Shinsen Miata using Alfa Romeo rims!
I’ve always liked Kei-Cars…
Designed to skirt around engine size regulations, Kei Cars are an interesting by-product of Japan’s need for personal transportation. These JDM-only cars are as unique as the country itself, often with interesting features that we could only dream about in the North American Market. Because of the regulations that birthed these cars, Japan ended up with a widely diverse group of vehicles designed with a certain-size footprint, and a maximum engine capacity of 660 cubic centimeters (0.66 liters). The Autozam AZ-1 was Mazda’s sportier interpretation of these regulations.
Designed with a mid-mounted transverse 657cc Inline-3 motor making 63 horses, a fiberglass reinforced plastic body on a steel chassis weighing 1600 pounds, a 5-speed transaxle, and gullwing (!) doors, the AZ-1 had exotic looks and features in a minuscule package.
And I’ve got to have one.
Mazda only made about 4500 for the Japanese Domestic Market, but now that the car is more than 25 years old, you could legally import them into the United States and get them registered as a “gray market” import. In fact, there are several importers around the United States that would help you locate a foreign car, take care of the paperwork, and have the car shipped to you!
After some looking around, I found a pretty decent if not heavily used example with around 120,000 miles on the odometer, and some body modifications. For a rare JDM-only car, this doesn’t seem that much of a bad deal for around $7,300! These cars are appreciating though as they’re now past the 25-year import rule, so now it isn’t uncommon for seeing low-mileage examples fetch around $15,000.
I guess I better start saving some money!
I’ve been so busy…
… and yet, I still found the time to get access to The 2018 San Francisco Auto Show VIP Preview Party!
In addition to that, I’ve been working on writing more articles for this blog. I should be putting something up very soon!
Check out the new gallery!
I don’t exactly know what it is about Gulf Liveries that makes me like them so much. Maybe it’s the variations of the baby blue and orange scheme across the different race cars that’s had them? Maybe it’s because the there hasn’t really ever been an ugly version of the Gulf Livery? Whether its the famous stripes that adorned the Ford GT40 Mk1 in 1966, the stripes on the Gulf-Porsche 917, or the orange on baby-blue arrows on a Porsche 911 I recently saw, just seeing this paint scheme makes me giddy!
See the car in question at the The 14th Annual Orinda Car Show photo gallery!
Well, It’s official; You CAN actually get hungover from processing photos all day! Granted, these days it’s much easier with programs like Adobe Lightroom, but sometimes it can take forever. I’m still going through photos I took from the different events I attended during Monterey Car Week!
Here’s some of the galleries that you’ll be seeing soon:
- The Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion 2018: I already have most of photos up, but I still need to go through what was taken with my phone, like I did with the The Rolex Monterey Pre-Reunion.
- The 2018 Concorso Italiano: I managed to score a ticket to the Concorso Italiano this year instead of sneaking in and crashing the reception like I did last year! I can’t wait to go through those photos!
- Exotics on Cannery Row: I managed to check out the famous Exotics on Cannery Row this year. It was amazing to see some insanely rare and expensive cars just parading down cannery row and spitting flames out of their exhaust! I think I might have developed tinnitus though.
- The Annual Morgan Club Dinner: Thanks to a friend I was able to attend the Morgan Club Dinner and hang out with some really cool car Morgan Enthusiasts, Photographers, and even one of the drivers that was racing that weekend at Laguna Seca (See the #33 Morgan Plus 4)!
- The 2018 Pebble Beach Concours D’Elegance: This was one of the most exclusive events I’ve ever been a part of, and some of the machines that were on display were incredible! I’ve never been close to a multi-million dollar Ferrari before, but there were THREE Ferrari 250 Testarossas on the lawn! Not to mention the largest display of Tucker’s I’ve ever seen! I can’t wait to get through those photos!
On top of that, I’m going to be selling prints of my favorite shots on my Visual Society profile! You can access my print galleries by going to the “Shop” link on the menu bar. These are large files though, so it might take a while to get everything up!
- UPDATE: The gallery for the 2018 Concorso Italiano was just added to the Portfolio!
- UPDATE 2: I just added the gallery for this year’s Exotics On Cannery Row. Follow the link to check it out!
- UPDATE 3: I just added the photo gallery for The 2018 Pebble Beach Concours D’Elegance! Follow the link to see the gallery.
- UPDATE 4: Just added the photos from The 2018 Annual Morgan Club Dinner. You can see the gallery by clicking on the link!
Imagine how I felt when a freakin’ McLaren MP4-12C parked right next to my Miata. It’s easy to feel out of place when something like that happens. And then I remembered I was at Orinda Cars and Coffee, and my car was also on display. There are no winners or losers when everyone loves what they drive!
Ever since Blackhawk Cars and Coffee ended, a lot of the smaller local shows will get a little bit more attention as enthusiasts look for another gathering place to show off their cars and talk to other like-minded individuals. It’s a great opportunity to just relax, hang out, and talk about cars. Orinda is one of those smaller shows that I think will get bigger as time goes on and word spreads. Hopefully I’ll get to document this show as it slowly grows into something bigger!
Come see the new gallery!