Complete Custom Wheels
John Purner owns and operates Complete Custom Wheel in Daytona, FL. John has been providing racers with quality, lightweight, and very strong wheels for many years. He claims that his wheels have never experienced a failure in over 4 years of racing (probably 5 or 6 by now). These may not be the most attractive wheels in the world, but you'd have to spend at least twice as much elsewhere for a forged 3-piece wheel that weighs the same.
John is also very familiar with third gen RX-7s, and can squeeze 18x10s all around using 285-30 rubber and no fender modifications. I decided to get a set. When they arrived, they weighed 20.5 lbs and looked like this (pic courtesy of Max Cooper):
Not a bad looking wheel, but awfully shiny :). When I ordered the wheels from John in 2001, he mentioned that he was offering a newer, lightweight wheel center which was lightened on the outside. This amounted to drilling have way through between wheel fasteners as well as between the lug holes. After using the wheels for a year, I became obsessed with removing more weight from the car, and this included unsprung mass. I came upon an even newer design that John was offering that supposedly got the 18x10 wheel down to 20 lbs. This, in effect, resulted from drilling through the entire wheel between the wheel fasteners and the lug nuts. I thought about doing the same, but wasn't thrilled with the rim halves showing through the outsides of the wheel center. I decided on a compromise- I'd have John drill between the lug nuts and would replace the 30 steel fasteners with titanium. Not chea, but still more economical than a set from BBS. While he was at it, I instructed John to shot peen and anodize the wheel centers black too.
Lightened wheel center in new black finish. Looks a bit grey as I took this shot during sunset.
Back of wheel center showing partial drilling between the fastener holes.
I ordered the titanium fasteners and chrome moly jet nuts from Mettec. I was able to get a deal on dished head aircraft quality titanium in the exact size I needed (5/16"x24x1.25"). Even with the discount, I don't think I've ever purchased $200 worth of bolts before. These fasteners saved over 12 ounces per wheel. Coupled with the lightened centers, the wheels lost a pound each. The final results are below.
Finished wheel with titanium fasteners. Wheel weighs 19.5 lbs.
Kinesis Wheels (street)
I decided to bite the bullet and get a nice set of street wheels. I wanted something nice and wide all around, with really wide rears as the car is now very squirrely with over 400 HP. Several brands were considered, but I really like the 5 spoke design of the Kinesis as well as thier fitment flexibility with any width or offset you desire.
I special ordered these with textured black power coasted centers. Sizes are 18 x10 front with +48 offset and 18x11 rear with +48 offset. Tires are Pirelli P Zero Assymetico, 285-30-18 front and 295-30-18 rear. It's not evident from the pictures below, but the tread of the 295s are a full inch wider than the fat 285s!
To fit these tires, you must have a conservative drop (close to stock) up front and must have 2.5" coilover springs as well as tubular trailing arms on the rear. The rear fender lips must be removed too and a fair amount of negative cambers helps (I have -1.5 rear). Rolling the RX-7 fenders will not work in the rear as the inner fender is welded to the outer right on the lip, thereby limiting the amount of material that can be rolled to about a quarter to a third of an inch. You need at least a half to make this works.
Front wheel (click for bigger)
Note how the rears fill out the fenders- and the limited amount of clearance (click for bigger).