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Oldboy Speedwell
Oldboy Speedwell New Reader
10/6/20 7:40 a.m.
gunner (Forum Supporter) said:

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.

I had the exact same problem when I wanted Panasports for my old Saab.

Why are they so ridiculously difficult to source?

I was lucky to be living in Atlanta and got hooked up by Paul Spruell Alfa Romeo thankfully.

He runs a great outfit and is responsible for one of my favorite test-drives of all time, with his son --- when I picked up my wheels he had a '73  GTV 2000 for sale and asking price was only $4,800 so I was very interested and he encouraged a test-drive --- wow, what fun it was! At first I was kinda grandma low rev gentle and he egged me on like c'mon! give it some juice! and jeepers did that car capture my heart. In retrospect I should have bought it especially considering now they are priced astronomically, but it had been repainted in a truly horrific  plum metallic that would have required correction because underneath originally it was my fave color for the 105 Alfas which is yellow ochre. Kicking myself for letting that one go, but the memory is deeply etched in my psyche.

 

Anyway,

has the situation changed with Panasport availability?

Their website is way way way out-of-date.

It boggles my mind because there is great demand for their product, yet seemingly they are hard to get a hold of.

Oldboy Speedwell
Oldboy Speedwell New Reader
10/6/20 7:50 a.m.

I need to find my old photo albums which are buried somewhere, but I did find this raggedly ripped picture at the bottom of one of my toolboxes, the Panasport Pro Rallys really did pop on my old Saab!

Oldboy Speedwell
Oldboy Speedwell New Reader
10/6/20 8:25 a.m.

Speaking of Panasport...

...they seemed to have made the scene around 1980, at least in the USA:

 

Can anyone here verify or confirm when they first became available?

In Japan they were made by Formula-One and called Pana Sport, and perhaps available at an earlier date over there?

 

 

They had the blue center caps:

As did the early USA variant:

 

I once saw this early NOS set on ebay:

They had a date code too, but it wasn't until a bit later that I could decode the esoteric JDM mystery of it.

Although most people in Japan use, or at least are familiar with, the Western calendar (seireki), the traditional calendar is used for official documents. A conversion chart is provided below.

The traditional Japanese calendar is based on the reign period of the emperor. Each time a different emperor begins to rule, a new counting of the years begins and the period acquires a new name

2019 - Present = Reiwa Era
1989 - 2019 = Heisei Era
1926 - 1989 = Showa Era
1912 - 1926 = Taisho Era

The 55 indicates Shōwa era, and more precisely the year 1980.

Those are indeed very early examples of Panasport wheels.

 

Ad from 1984:

 

 

fanfoy
fanfoy SuperDork
10/6/20 9:12 a.m.

I LOVE minilites and I think they look great on anything:

BUT......

Oldboy Speedwell
Oldboy Speedwell New Reader
10/6/20 9:41 a.m.
fanfoy said:

I LOVE minilites and I think they look great on anything:

BUT......

laughLOL

I think you make a very very good point with which I cannot argue against logically as far as weight savings are concerned, so mindchanging likely won't happen from me...

...from my perspective it is a romantic nostalgia where heart beats brain just because I love the look.

The previous owner of my car had great taste and was running Konig Feathers when I first bought it...

...and although I love the Feathers because they are sort of a thin 8-spoke modern minilite, I still yearned for the classic retro styling of the oldschool so took around a 3lb. per corner penalty and fitted the Rota RB's.

No regerts.

Yourself
Yourself New Reader
10/6/20 10:10 a.m.

Photo from 30+ years ago. I still have the car and wheels and they still look the same. Wish I could say that about me!

Panasport center lock wheels.

 

I never noticed before, but if I squint a bit there might be some MiniLite influence in the design of the stock wheels on my FD. What do you think?

RoddyMac17
RoddyMac17 Reader
10/6/20 10:10 a.m.

Here's my contribution (KN Minator) :

 

I was going to use a set of Rota RB's on my B GT project, but a) they were the wrong bolt pattern, and b) I sold them last night.  I do really like Minilites and I'm sure if the Rota's were the right bolt pattern I would have kept them.

Oldboy Speedwell
Oldboy Speedwell New Reader
10/6/20 10:12 a.m.

Another wheel that I consider a modern 8-spoke minilite variant is the Mugen MF8 and I discovered them while looking into all the various variants because I never knew they existed --- they are extremely lightweight at around 11.7 lbs. I think in my favored size of 16x7, but man are they mega-rare and mega-expensive --- this set is currently on ebay in my fitment but I could never afford to pay such a high price and that's about the current market value too due to Honda love...

Rota does make the Circuit 8 replica, but it's cast and not forged so weighs fairly close to the RB's anyway...

...therefore I think I'll stick with the fat spoked RB's unless I happen to somehow get lucky on an affordable  set of genuine Mugen MF8's which I highly doubt will ever happen.

 

keithedwards
keithedwards Reader
10/6/20 10:58 a.m.
Oldboy Speedwell said:

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:

SNIP

The American Racing Equipment magnesium wheels I had on my yellow TR3 racecar (pictured earlier) would have had "handed" fake knockoffs, left and right. I tried calling ARE in the early '80s to try to get them, with no success. As I recall, right-handed fake knockoffs weren't too hard to find. I eventually located a company in California, I believe. The left-handed knockoffs were labeled something like "LEFT SIDE OFF-->".

 

Scott_H
Scott_H Reader
10/6/20 11:09 a.m.

I bought this back in 1981 and it had 13" Panasports on it.  I kept it until 1986 and sold it with the same wheels.  I am not really sure but I think the wheel spokes were gold back then.  Jump ahead to 2004 and the same car pops up on Ebay and this is a photo from that ad.  Always loved the 8 spoke Panasports.  They are still 13" but are now are silver.  Yes, I won the auction.

With 13" tires getting impossible to source I wanted to move up to 16" but still liked the look.   I also needed the bigger wheels to fit a larger rotor than the stock 9" ones.   Somewhere around 2006 I found Pack Racing in Prescott, AZ.  They were a distributor for Performance Wheels out of Australia and they called these wheels Superlight.  The thing I was looking for was to not use a spacer, the OE setup had 1/4" ones stock, and no bolt pattern adapters.  Lancia being Lancia (and FIAT) they were still using the 4x98 PCD.   Performance Wheels and Pack racing were super easy to work with where I could spec the offset and the bolt pattern.  And they were priced right.  They bolted up perfectly and fit without rubbing anywhere.

This is right after I installed them.

I think those are the 13" Panasports and tires behind it in the garage.  The center caps they provided were way too tall, way too chrome,  and looked like they belonged on a chariot or something.  I refused to drive with them on.

Those stuck out beyond the outer edge of the tire.  Ughh.

I chucked them up in the little 3 in 1 lathe, shortened and sanded off the dreadful chrome.

I epoxied in a plastic circle that just so happened to be the correct ID from a hole saw.

Painted them in fake aluminum and stuck on an Abarth Scorpion.

The 16" wheel opened up (at that time) a bunch of tire sizes.  The wheels are 16 x 7 all around and running 215/40/R16 and 225/45/R16 front and rear.   Later I installed 12" rotors with Wilwood calipers and really like how they turned out.

Photo gallery.

Chicago:

The Montecarlo/Scorpion was supposed to be the next step up from the X1/9.  Being closer to the camera makes it look even bigger.  It's not that much bigger as my much older body tells me when I get into it.

 

Tail of the Dragon

In AZ.

 

TurnerX19
TurnerX19 SuperDork
10/6/20 5:30 p.m.

Panasport availability remains spotty. They no longer offer the fitment for my Volvo 240. when I bought them in 2004 I had to order and wait until they had enough orders to run a batch of 50 wheels. Since the 2011 earth quake they will not make them period. I inquired through my local dealer RD Enterprises, a GRM advertiser and good friend, who had supplied my first set.

chandler
chandler UltimaDork
10/7/20 5:20 a.m.

I don't get tired of pics of your Scorpion Scott, perfection!

Powar (Forum Supporter)
Powar (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
10/7/20 9:27 a.m.

I've seen the Shelby version of the Saab Minilite-style wheel mentioned in this thread a few times, but Ronal also made one for Saab. I have them on my '85 900S, actually.

I also had a set on my '78 99 daily back in 2011 or so:

I later found a set of Western Superlights(?) that kinda sorta fit my '85 EXP. The looked awesome but rubbed after installing the old school Ford Motorsport springs:

My junk R53 (maybe parts car, undecided) has the Minilite-inspired stock wheels on it:

 

This was a very interesting read and I've enjoyed seeing the photos. Great thread idea.

Ian F (Forum Supporter)
Ian F (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
10/7/20 9:45 a.m.
fanfoy said:

I LOVE minilites and I think they look great on anything:

BUT......

LOL! I love Panasports, but there's no way I can argue with your second point:

I just bought a set of 13x5.5" Western Wheel "minilites" off eBay... at least I thought they were a set until after I clicked the BIN button, processed the payment and then noticed it was only for two wheels.  Berk. Which means if I can't cancel the order, as soon as they arrive they'll go right back on eBay since two wheels are essentially worthless to me... sad

93EXCivic
93EXCivic MegaDork
10/7/20 9:56 a.m.

All I know is I wish I had the money and a car that made sense to run Watanabe RS on.

Scott_H
Scott_H Reader
10/7/20 11:46 a.m.
chandler said:

I don't get tired of pics of your Scorpion Scott, perfection!

Thanks, Chandler.  I drive when I can (Just did Sat) and the paint is probably close to 20 years old on it.  Looks best from a few feet away.  It is a true low cost exotic.

pinchvalve (Forum Supporter)
pinchvalve (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
10/7/20 1:33 p.m.

An interesting variation with increased material at the hub and rim for added strength I assume.

Scott_H
Scott_H Reader
10/7/20 2:13 p.m.
pinchvalve (Forum Supporter) said:

An interesting variation with increased material at the hub and rim for added strength I assume.

Nope, try again.  Look at each spoke.  These would compliment truck nuts.

paddygarcia
paddygarcia GRM+ Memberand New Reader
10/7/20 3:23 p.m.

Someone misread "Panasport"

Oldboy Speedwell
Oldboy Speedwell New Reader
5/24/21 8:43 a.m.

 

The mutts nuts, those deepdish Minilites are tuff AF.

 

 

Wish my pockets were deeper and my wallet was fatter.

 

 

Woody (Forum Supportum)
Woody (Forum Supportum) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
5/24/21 10:28 a.m.

I wish there was a Minilite/Panasport option for the 1998 Volvo V70R (16"), but I don't think one exists.

 

racerdave600
racerdave600 UltraDork
5/24/21 11:08 a.m.

By far my favorite type of wheel, and a lot of nice, nice cars here!  Here is my old BRG Miata.  

frenchyd
frenchyd GRM+ Memberand UltimaDork
5/24/21 11:36 a.m.

Any source for 15x 10 with a Chevy bolt pattern ? 
either Panna Sport or Minilight. 

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
5/24/21 11:42 a.m.

How timely. Falkens just arrived for these. laugh

06HHR (Forum Supporter)
06HHR (Forum Supporter) Dork
5/24/21 11:57 a.m.

In reply to David S. Wallens :

I'm trying really hard to not buy a new set of wheels for my POS 30 year old work beater.  You aren't helping, those look great! 

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