UK people - new wheels?
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  1. #1
    CelicaSupra.com Member
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    UK people - new wheels?

    Hi guys,

    I'm curious what other people are doing about the wheel/tyre situation now. As you might have noticed in my other threads, I'm coming to the conclusion that Dragon's tyres are becoming unsafe. The near-miss I had back in December has unsettled me a little, especially as the front wheels locked and those tyres were the newest ones I have in my stockpile. That's not saying a lot though, since they're dated 2002.

    I do have a set of 205s I can fall back on, but I found that when I went back to 225s, the car felt much better planted, particularly at the back. I also really like the stock wheel design and don't want to change them.

    Back when my dad first got Dragon 10 years ago, tyres were already rare, so he contacted a company about having larger wheels made for the car. While talking with my uncle (an ex-Supra owner himself) last week, I mentioned this and he suggested it's worth looking into. Obviously having wheels made out of billet is pretty expensive, but not as bad as I first thought - my dad got a quote from the company for 1,500 for all 5 wheels back in 2006. Okay, factor in inflation etc., but my uncle commented that was a good price.

    The suggestion is to see if anyone else would be interested in a new set of wheels in the same design, but 17" or bigger. I'm aware some of the guys States-side have gone the custom-larger wheel route with the original design. I'm going to start poking around and getting quotes, but if anyone is interested and would like to help out, please let me know. In the days of CNC milling machines, the biggest cost is going to be the design and programming... maybe they can stick one of my wheels under a laser scanner and drag it out to 17" The actual manufacturing costs are going to be pretty steady no matter the number made, but maybe we can spread some of the design cost.

    Any takers?
    Rob - 100% British
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  3. #2
    CelicaSupra.com Member drjim's Avatar
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    The custom rims were made by Boyd's, a well known place here in Southern California. Boyd Coddington was the guy who started the whole "Billet" crazy on Hot Rods by making all the brackets and things from aluminum billet. I think the rims were about US$3500 for a set. AFAIK, they'll still make them, but I don't know what the current price is, let alone shipping to the UK.

    I went with 16x8 "XXR" wheels which are quite affordable, at least here in the US. Unfortunately there aren't many "good" street tires available in 16", so if I had it to do over again I'd seriously consider 17" diameter wheels.

    How hard is it to buy aftermarket stuff in the UK? I know besides customs duties you guys get stuck with a VAT on most things.

    Can you get the B.F. Goodrich Radial T/A tires in the UK? They're not the best, but I was pretty satisfied with the ones I had on my Supra.

    - Jim
    1985 5-speed "Ms. Swan"

    OH, What A Feeling!

  4. #3
    CelicaSupra.com Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by drjim View Post
    The custom rims were made by Boyd's, a well known place here in Southern California. Boyd Coddington was the guy who started the whole "Billet" crazy on Hot Rods by making all the brackets and things from aluminum billet. I think the rims were about US$3500 for a set. AFAIK, they'll still make them, but I don't know what the current price is, let alone shipping to the UK.

    I went with 16x8 "XXR" wheels which are quite affordable, at least here in the US. Unfortunately there aren't many "good" street tires available in 16", so if I had it to do over again I'd seriously consider 17" diameter wheels.

    How hard is it to buy aftermarket stuff in the UK? I know besides customs duties you guys get stuck with a VAT on most things.

    Can you get the B.F. Goodrich Radial T/A tires in the UK? They're not the best, but I was pretty satisfied with the ones I had on my Supra.

    - Jim
    Yeah, I'd be getting quotes from UK firms. I know we do have companies over here making wheels; I had plenty of issues trying (and eventually giving up with) shipping some 15" wheels from the US.

    I've heard that 17" seems to be the minimum practical tyre size these days. At least one other person has recommended going larger, 18 or 19", but I think that'd start getting noticeable even under the mk2's wide arches. After all, going to have to drop the profile down on the tyres quite drastically, going much larger than 17" is going to be like driving on rubber bands!

    Taxes in the UK are quite unfavourable, VAT being the big one - 20% on just about everything, including imports above a certain threshold (which a set of wheels would exceed). There's additional import duty above 135. It's almost certainly going to be cheaper to have them made here.

    We can indeed get the Goodrich tyres, but they're pretty poor spec-wise (only H-rated to 113MPH) and damned expensive (150 per tyre), which is only going to get worse as fewer cars use these tyres. I personally dislike white-letter tyres, too.

    New wheels would be a big outlay, but they'd probably wind up being a good investment - especially as I know many UK owners who've sworn to keep their cars long-term, and me intending to keep Dragon forever.
    Rob - 100% British
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  5. #4
    CelicaSupra.com Member drjim's Avatar
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    Yeah, I knew between the duties and VAT it was extortionist to buy things from outside the UK, but didn't know how bad it was.

    The only "good" street tire in 16" here in the States is the Toyo Proxes T1R. Anything else is listed as "Track/Autocross ONLY", which means they have the lifetime of a piece of Kleenex.

    I didn't look into 17" rims because to me, that's the size when the rim starts to look too big, and by the time you get a tire with the same height you have the "rubber band" on it that you refer to. Maybe I could get used to a 17", but anything else is just too big IMO.

    The Radial T/A's are "OK", and you can mount them with the white letters to the inside. I wasn't too worried about the speed rating because I don't plan on driving the car over 100 MPH for long, if ever.

    My days of "I wonder how fast it will go" are long past!
    1985 5-speed "Ms. Swan"

    OH, What A Feeling!

  6. #5
    CelicaSupra.com Member SupraFiend's Avatar
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    Excuse the horrible pun, but "don't reinvent the wheel".

    Seriously, if you had any experience running group buys and having complex custom parts made you wouldn't even consider having another company make something that already exists. Factor in a year long gestation period, untold personal hours, tons of headaches and it will still cost you a fair bit at the end. Been there, done that 2x over.

    Or you could just wait for the exchange to improve (Cdn dollar has been gaining steadily on the Usd lately), whip out the check book and just order a set of these....




    Billet aluminum isn't cheap in any country.
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  7. #6
    CelicaSupra.com Member gamble's Avatar
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    Plenty of good 16" tires out there honestly, so long as you are under 300hp or so...
    225/50 16 is just about identical to stock, tons of options. Dunlop starspecs/bridgestone re-11 or re-71r are awesome summer tires, pilot sport/re970's for all seasons(love my re970's)

    245/45 16 has re-11's or the T1r's he mentioned, or the barely streetable r888's if you're a nutter.

    15's is where tires are nonexistent these days, damn shame too.

  8. #7
    CelicaSupra.com Member SupraFiend's Avatar
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    225/50/16 is actually substantially taller then stock, around half an inch. It complicates things when you lower beyond the range of drop in springs.

    Good selection still in that size. I would guess it will stick around for awhile still, but I could see it being phased out too eventually like 225/50-15 was. 245/45-16s are barely supported. I wouldn't buy wheels so that you can run that size, it could completely disappear anytime.

    Even in thinner tires 16s are getting phased out, the industry is moving to 17 inch or larger for sure.
    Last edited by SupraFiend; 01-27-2017 at 03:58 PM.
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  9. #8
    CelicaSupra.com Member drjim's Avatar
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    Fiend brings up the point I didn't make very well when I posted there weren't very many "good" 16" tires.

    Yes, I know there are some good ones, but I meant tires that had the same (or very close) height compared to OEM.

    I'm not sure what I'd pick if I did this over again.......
    1985 5-speed "Ms. Swan"

    OH, What A Feeling!

  10. #9
    CelicaSupra.com Member gamble's Avatar
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    I dunno, 225/60 is about as close to stock height in a 225 series as you'll get. If you want 17/18's you'll need 245's to get near stock height.

    Radial TA's in 225/60 14(only tire available in that size anymore) are listed as 24.7" and 842 revs per mile on tirerack.

    All 225/50 16's i found are within 2/10th's diameter, full blown race tires were actually a touch shorter than stock.
    A048's are 24.7" and 840 revs per mile
    RE-11's are 24.9" and 837 revs per mile
    Pilot sports are 24.8" and 836 revs per mile

  11. #10
    CelicaSupra.com Member SupraFiend's Avatar
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    24.9 is the norm. Yeah I guess its more like 1/4 inch. 245/45-16 is actually dead on. For me though, I prefer tires a little shorter then stock. Been running on 225/50-15s for years, and 225/50-16 is a huge jump in height from them.
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