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frenchyd
frenchyd GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
10/4/20 2:09 p.m.

In reply to wspohn :

Halibrand started casting his wheels in 1947 but he used magnesium instead of Aluminum. 
Magnesium isn't the terrifying quick to fail wheel some seem to think it is.  The US Navy gets about 20   Years out of them in spite of slamming tens of thousands of pounds on a rolling pitching aircraft carrier  going from 130-150 mph to a dead stop in a couple of seconds. Using nothing more than a simple coat of paint.  
I've got a set from the first Chapparel cast by Halibrand for Troutman and Barnes 

Oldboy Speedwell
Oldboy Speedwell New Reader
10/4/20 2:56 p.m.
wspohn said:

Mid 1970s, my car with American Racing magnesium wheels, a Minilite lookalike (they were also available in aluminum and were offered back in the 1960s as dealer options for new cars like the TR3 and TR4).  I have always liked the look of the 8 spoke version to the 5 spoke ones used on the cars with 5 bolt hubs.

 

 

 

Awesome.

The ARE Silverstone design was quite early and may have actually been produced before the Minilite version --- that's a question I'd love to get an answer for.

This ad is from 1965:

I have read that they started making them in 1962 which I think would be before Minilite.

 

Here's a neat pdf with an article about the Shell 4000 Rally in 1964 and a Triumph TR4 running the magnesium Silverstones:

http://www.shell-4000-rally.org/4000_web/1964/pdf/1964_TSOA.pdf

keithedwards
keithedwards Reader
10/4/20 4:37 p.m.

I always liked the Minilite look. I don't have a very good picture of the set I acquired in the early '80s. They were made by American Racing Equipment (ARE), and they were factory-authorized, dealer-installed options for Triumph TR4s and TR4As (maybe some others). The Competition Manual (by Kas Kastner)  had a picture or 2 of them. They were available in aluminum or magnesium. Mine were magnesium.

Here's a better picture of the wheels (not mine). I can't tell whether this is aluminum or magnesium.

The new MINI Coopers had a few different 8-spokes but I liked the optional R82 wheels, so I have them on all 3 of our early MINIs.

paddygarcia
paddygarcia GRM+ Memberand New Reader
10/4/20 6:59 p.m.

In reply to wspohn :

I'm kind of the opposite, odd spoke # for me (5 spokes perfect) but even # is good at 8 and above. Always loved the wheels on the Mopar Trans Am cars and now I have a set of mystery wheels on a Volvo that I like a lot. 

This is a great thread, thanks Old boy Speedwell.

Wally (Forum Supporter)
Wally (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
10/4/20 8:34 p.m.

In reply to mad_machine (Forum Supporter) :

I have a set of 15" that need paint you're welcome to.

02Pilot
02Pilot UltraDork
10/4/20 8:46 p.m.

More than once I've contemplated Minilites or similar (Panasports) for my 2002. Great classic look.

Oldboy Speedwell
Oldboy Speedwell New Reader
10/5/20 7:09 a.m.
02Pilot said:

More than once I've contemplated Minilites or similar (Panasports) for my 2002. Great classic look.

 

Speaking of 2002...

...in the early days of Alpina, they offered Minilites in their catalog.

So here's some random pix of 02's shod with them found online (not mine)...

 

Also, whenever the topic of 2002 comes up I am reminded of that classic C&D article which is written in a wild gonzo style that's fun to read:

Turn Your Hymnals to 2002

I always loved reading Satch Carlson in the old Autoweek too, I wasn't buying them at the time but I had a great model shop close to home and the owner had stacks and stacks of various car mags and I got piles of them because they were only $1 or 2$ per copy, the early Autoweek & Competition Press was really good.

Bonus video!

smiley

 

Oldboy Speedwell
Oldboy Speedwell New Reader
10/5/20 9:41 a.m.
chandler said:


this is my set, not sure what brand they ACTUALLY are, bought as Western Superlites but not sure they really are. 15x7 5x5.5 planned for a slammed Ramcharger but the build fell apart before I started it.

 

Looking back at these because I think that there's a strong possibility they may be made by Shelby.

Known as Mini-Europa but I've also seen them called Anaconda.

Old ad for Datsun application:

Surprisingly they seem to lack stamped indentifiers which seems strange because Shelby was a master at marketing.

The old Saab minilites were clearly stamped with his name:

But the earlier examples of the Mini-Europa that I've seen have minimal markings --- do yours happen to have stampings similar to this:

If so,

then you got yourself some Shelbys!

 

Dunno if they command a collectible premium but regardless very cool.

CS centercaps would add an extra punch too.

 

 

iansane (Forum Supporter)
iansane (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand Reader
10/5/20 9:55 a.m.

Wow. I've had it backwards for a long time. I was always under the impression that the straight spoked variants came first and the "banana spokes" were replicas/imitations. I guess that's because I like the straight spokes better than the curved ones. Cool info! Thanks!

My daily e30 rocks a similar set.

DeadSkunk  (Warren)
DeadSkunk (Warren) PowerDork
10/5/20 10:12 a.m.

I have a set of Panasports on the shelf and Rota RBs on my MINI and my son's Fiat 500.

Oldboy Speedwell
Oldboy Speedwell New Reader
10/5/20 10:22 a.m.
iansane (Forum Supporter) said:

Wow. I've had it backwards for a long time. I was always under the impression that the straight spoked variants came first and the "banana spokes" were replicas/imitations. I guess that's because I like the straight spokes better than the curved ones. Cool info! Thanks!

My daily e30 rocks a similar set.

Killer pic of a rad ride!

Love how the brooding grey skies match up.

 

Was waiting to see if RS Watanabe would enter the discussion --- their design is indeed a unique take on the classic 8-spoke.

Revered and highly sought after wheels for sure.

Here's a cool pdf which shows their manufacturing process:

https://www.rs-watanabe.co.jp/images/Daytona/day266_.pdf

Pretty neat.

Bonus video!

 

chandler
chandler UltimaDork
10/5/20 10:28 a.m.
Oldboy Speedwell said:
chandler said:


this is my set, not sure what brand they ACTUALLY are, bought as Western Superlites but not sure they really are. 15x7 5x5.5 planned for a slammed Ramcharger but the build fell apart before I started it.

 

Looking back at these because I think that there's a strong possibility they may be made by Shelby.

Known as Mini-Europa but I've also seen them called Anaconda.

Old ad for Datsun application:

Surprisingly they seem to lack stamped indentifiers which seems strange because Shelby was a master at marketing.

The old Saab minilites were clearly stamped with his name:

But the earlier examples of the Mini-Europa that I've seen have minimal markings --- do yours happen to have stampings similar to this:

If so,

then you got yourself some Shelbys!

 

Dunno if they command a collectible premium but regardless very cool.

CS centercaps would add an extra punch too.

 

 

Nailed it, I've pored over pictures and that never came up! Cool

wspohn
wspohn Dork
10/5/20 11:27 a.m.

Not Minilite styles. but two other stock wheels (one aluminum, one magnesium) from my cars:

 

NOHOME
NOHOME MegaDork
10/5/20 11:49 a.m.

I really like the center lock Minilite knockoffs on the MGB GT They don,t leak or wobble like spokes, and allow for the center lock hub; one of my favorite things on Brit cars. These are the Minotaur brand, there is another option from Australia called Superlight.

 

maschinenbau (I live here)
maschinenbau (I live here) GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
10/5/20 12:10 p.m.

chandler
chandler UltimaDork
10/5/20 12:39 p.m.

I think my favorite banana spoke wheel is the panasport C5R, this is my set. They may go on my Dakota when the time comes

paddygarcia
paddygarcia GRM+ Memberand New Reader
10/5/20 2:27 p.m.
Oldboy Speedwell said:

Looking back at these because I think that there's a strong possibility they may be made by Shelby.

Known as Mini-Europa but I've also seen them called Anaconda.

Old ad for Datsun application:

Surprisingly they seem to lack stamped indentifiers which seems strange because Shelby was a master at marketing.

The old Saab minilites were clearly stamped with his name:

...

But the earlier examples of the Mini-Europa that I've seen have minimal markings --- do yours happen to have stampings similar to this:

If so,

then you got yourself some Shelbys!

 

Dunno if they command a collectible premium but regardless very cool.

CS centercaps would add an extra punch too.

You are a peach, dear Oldboy Speedwell - the no-name wheels on my Volvo have exactly these markings, and further looking at pix of Shelby Anaconda wheels shows them to be identical. A mystery answered, with great thanks!

dabird
dabird Reader
10/5/20 2:46 p.m.

although I don't necessarily love the wheels on my 914 (mostly because they are VW offset) the definitely for into the minilite inspired category. 

Oldboy Speedwell
Oldboy Speedwell New Reader
10/5/20 3:04 p.m.

Goodstuff everyone!

 

Loving how this thread is getting fleshed out.

 

As mentioned, knock-offs are really cool.

 

I especially like these oldies because of the clever name:

And since C5R was mentioned, we can open can 'o worms about the modular variants of which there are many but here's a few...

Panasport C8

 

Watanabe RS Eight

 

Minilite proper has the modular style available as well.

 

 

Image from England, quite pricey but look very nice.

 

Smoor, I think from Germany?

 

I've always wanted a Fiat 126 because I'm a huge fan of utilitarian workingclass hatchbacks, but must admit I don't think I'd be happy with the anemic stock power and would be driven to do something bonkers like this: smileyheart

 

irish44j (Forum Supporter)
irish44j (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
10/5/20 7:13 p.m.

To get custom staggered fitment for my GT6, I got some Superlites (from Australia), which are similar in appearance.

Not sure why i didn't have the centercaps on for the fronts for these pics....

 

Oldboy Speedwell
Oldboy Speedwell New Reader
10/6/20 6:40 a.m.

Superlites are goodstuff.

 

There once was also a UK company who used a similar logo and everything, but apparently the quality was questionable and they ran into various problems.

The topic of the tradename "superlite" though, allows for a bit more expansion because there are a few different variants of such.

Western Wheels in the 1970's may have been the first to use the name:

And ever since it's been an open option to call such wheels that since the MINILITE name is a trademark, even though one could argue that it has become a catchall word to define a type of wheel in the style, similar to how Xerox came to mean "photocopy", i.e.: "Let's go and xerox a fanzine" or similarly in UKEnglish, the brand name Hoover became verbified to mean the act of vacuuming, and et cetera et cetera -- quite a few examples of that phenomena out there in our lexicon.

Superlight

 

Supalight

Ultralite

Maxilite

Minilite itself also made a Maxilite:

chandler
chandler UltimaDork
10/6/20 6:44 a.m.

I'm impressed by your depth of knowledge and courtesy. Thank for sharing!

gunner (Forum Supporter)
gunner (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
10/6/20 7:08 a.m.

In the early 2000's I wanted only one wheel for my corolla, panasports just like these. I called an ad in the back of GRM that proclaimed we have panasports, can build to any size. I was like awesome, because I cant find any that fit. When I called I was told that none of our wheels will fit your car and basically hung up on. so the next month I bought a set of wheels from tire rack that fit but were five spoke. The next year Rota comes out with the RB in the exact size I wanted. I never bought them, but I still think they would look amazing.

Edit: Thanks for the great write up. I read every word.

84FSP
84FSP UltraDork
10/6/20 7:26 a.m.

Keep it coming all - I have learned more about these wheels in a couple of days than I could imagine.  Also all the hot cars wearing them are an added bonus.  I would trade my Ronal Turbos in a second to find some multi peice panasports in a 15x7 or 8.

Oldboy Speedwell
Oldboy Speedwell New Reader
10/6/20 7:29 a.m.
chandler said:

I'm impressed by your depth of knowledge and courtesy. Thank for sharing!

Thanks Chandler!

I really got deep in the weeds on this topic and bounced around everywhere looking on the infinite library of the internet at all the diverse variants available over the years, but what I gathered is more of a surficial knowledge through reading/looking as opposed to the much better hands-on knowledge with which comes wisdom by direct experience.

This thread exists on 2 other forums - it started out on North American Motoring as a survey to document all the available options for minilite-style fitments for modern MINI, as well as the intro theory of design development with the Charles Cooper/Bugatti angle...

...then sort of expanded and migrated to reach further out by posting the same topic at VWVortex's The Car Lounge where I've been a longtime member and it really blossomed there due to a greater variety and number of enthusiasts.

 

I thought it'd be a perfect fit here at GRM.

I've been a longtime reader of GRM mag and recently a subscriber, and also a casual reader of this forum but I was somewhat intimidated to join here because I've never been involved in actual sanctioned motorsport, I'm just a B-road bomber.

Got over it and finally joined up, I think the spirit of GRM transcends motorsport and exists as a shining light for anyone who loves cars --- GRM is a unique entity being that although the focus is realworld competitive racing/rallying, it also greatly appeals to any engaged enthusiast who's interested in performance/technique/setup and plus has a wonderful bluecollar everyman vibe that has always resonated with me.

GRM is proper champion trueblue.

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