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Thread: Watanabe are restored and fitted... Photos inside.

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    The Lone Potter v12horse's Avatar
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    Smile Watanabe wheels are restored and fitted... Photos inside.

    I am not one to boast about my car or anything for that matter. However, I thought I would make a thread in regards to my car with Watanabe wheels in hopes that it may spark interest in some members for these largely unknown wheels.

    First off, I chose these wheels as I really have a heart for the home market cars and style that many of them have. These wheels were very popular in Japan and were the wheel of choice for many Z's during the 1970's. They are still popular amoung enthusiasts in Japan and around the world today. You can look at them as the slot mags of the US, Aus, and UK of Japan. Someone told me that the very best dealerships in Japan sold Fairlady Z's with Watanabe's just like many US dealers sold Z's with slot mags new.

    When I was with Kats at the 2004 Z convention, we came across a 70' Bluebird 1800SSS that had Watanabes. It was one of 5 cars at that show with Watanabes and Kats said that he always sees those wheels. We then came across a Z with slot mags, and he loved them. I guess that is the difference because many people outside Japan try to make their cars Japanese-esq while many Japanese enthusiasts give their cars export ques and styles. I am not trying to put down slot mags either. I had them on my car and I loved them too.

    Here are the wheel and tire specifications on my car:

    Wheels: The color of the wheels is very close to the original Watanabe paint. It is a flat gunmetal metallic color. It is almost semi-gloss. I will get the paint code soon.

    F : 14 X 7J type B (+ 8 mm)

    R : 14 X 7.5J type B (+ 1.5 mm)

    Tires : 195 X 70 Kumho speed star all around

    The employees of the wheel shop that restored and fitted the wheels were great. They were very meticulous about what they did. After they had restored the wheels, I brought the car to have them fitted. They did not use a gun at all to take the lug nuts off or put them on. They balanced the wheels on a machine and put the wheel weights on the backside. They then fitted the front wheels and torqued the wheels nuts to 85lbs. Then they balanced the wheels on the car to ensure that there would be no front end sway or shake. The price was very reasonable for the work that they did. I highly recommend this place. I will only work with them in the future for any wheel and tire service on any of my cars. The place is called Riteway Wire and Wheel, and they are located in Walnut Creek, California. I am not trying to advertise here, but they impressed me that much.

    I am really happy with how the wheels came out. The stretch is safe and I think it looks really nice. These wheels were just about the widest and deepest that I could go without modifications.

    Without this forum I would not have made the friends that I did who inspired me to get these wheels and car for that matter.

    Regards,

    Ben
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    Last edited by v12horse; 01-17-2006 at 10:13 PM.
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    Registered User Pennyman's Avatar
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    Simply stunning. I love them. Any reason why you prefer all gunmetal w/o the polished lip? I've always debated that myself, but those are sweet. Quite a step up from the wheel covers you had before (even though those were cool too).

    I've got 14x7 slotted mags on my Z, haha!

    I keep swinging between wats or rewinds or SSR mesh...argh!....You definitally made a good choice though.

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    Deftly daft Alfadog's Avatar
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    Woohoo!! So good to see them on now Ben. Well done, they look just perfect. I know how long you took to ensure everything looked just right - and it really paid off. I am sure I'll be hitting you up for that colour code one day. How do you like the ride now? Do you notice much difference? I bet you do. Will you continue to run without centrecaps?

    Oh and by the way you're very lucky to have found a good wheel and tyre shop. I am still searching... The guys at one shop even put weights on the outside of dad's Porsche mags!! I would have cried... Anyway, wheels look hot. Your car is now a perfect mix of American and JDM. Gorgeous! So what next, exhaust or seat?

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    The Lone Potter v12horse's Avatar
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    Pennyman

    The race cars of the time fitted with Watanabe almost always had the all gunmetal finish. Besides that, I think they look really cool all gunmetal. From the factory, Watanabe does not polish the lip; they are machine cut. They look like a music record with groves, but from about 2' and up they appear to be polished.

    I really like the look of the hubcaps and the slots. If I had had 14 X 7 slots and not 14 X 5.5, I would have liked them a lot more.

    The rewinds are very nice looking to me and they have the perfect offset. I was thinking about getting them before I found these Watanabe's, but I decided to hold off and get what I really wanted. Make sure that when you get wheels, get the exact ones you want. If it takes a little more time, it will be worth it.

    Thanks for the compliments.

    -Ben
    Last edited by v12horse; 01-17-2006 at 11:44 PM.
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    The Lone Potter v12horse's Avatar
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    Lachlan,

    The car does feel like it rides better because the steering is so tame now. There is no shake at all. I haven't pushed the car yet as I had the wheels put one this morning and its raining here. I will keep you posted.

    It took me along time to find a good wheel and tyre shop.

    I will not be using center caps as I do not have any. I think the center caps look really cool, but I don't have to have them. Someday I will get a set to put on now and then. I would like to find the old metal type. Are your center caps metal or plastic?

    p.s. I really like the picture in your sig.

    -Ben
    Last edited by v12horse; 01-18-2006 at 12:07 AM.
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    The Lone Potter v12horse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alfadog
    Your car is now a perfect mix of American and JDM.
    For the most part, it is going to stay stock. I have done a lot of maintenance, but not a whole lot of modifications. I want it to be know that it is a 260Z. I am not ashamed that it is not a 240z, 280z, or Fairlady Z. Thus, my intentions are to not modify the body in any way, that means I will keep the same emblems, lights, etc. I may add a factory decklid spoiler, and or oem headlight covers, but nothing more than that.

    -Ben
    "A real sports car chooses its owner because it has a soul. If you're chosen, you'll love it, and the more it requires care and maintenance the more you love it." -Mr. Morita (Z432 owner)

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    The Lone Potter v12horse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alfadog
    So what next, exhaust or seat?

    I have done enough for now, but I would like a new exhaust eventually. The seat will go in too, but I do not have a headrest. I have to keep looking on yahoo Japan auctions, but things are going to start getting busy with school and work starting this week.

    Take care,

    Ben
    "A real sports car chooses its owner because it has a soul. If you're chosen, you'll love it, and the more it requires care and maintenance the more you love it." -Mr. Morita (Z432 owner)

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    I agree with you. I want my Z to be stock appearing. I have added the early front spook and a rear spoiler because this things were on the early rally and race cars. I do not like the aerodynamic stuff everyone is putting on their Z's trying to make them look updated. I like the classic look! Nice car and wheels. I tried to buy some of the these and gave up. I have a set of Panasports with the grey centers. I like the look!
    Last edited by ZSaint; 01-18-2006 at 11:38 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ZSaint
    I agree with you. I want my Z to be stock appearing. I have added the early front spook and a rear spoiler because this things were on the early rally and race cars. I do not like the aerodynamic stuff everyone is putting on their Z's trying to make them look updated. I like the classic look! Nice car and wheels. I tried to buy some of the these and gave up. I have a set of Panasonics with the grey centers. I like the look!
    Is that a "Panasonic" TV, Stereo, VCR, or some other appliance?

    Probably you meant Panasports?

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    Panasports... DUH! How stupid of me. Well I thought Panasports and typed 'sonics. That's what having a stroke will do for you. Gawd I hate getting old!
    Z Saint, the vintage racer! I've traveled a long way and some of the roads weren't paved.

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    of the Silver Shield Soc. dogma420's Avatar
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    Alfadog--

    Putting weights on the outside of the wheel gives you much more accurate balance, regardless of how fancy the car or wheel is. If a tire shop puts the weights on the outside, this doesn't reflect badly on the wheel shop.
    --Dave aka Dogma420 My Gallery
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    Default Weights

    Quote Originally Posted by dogma420
    Alfadog--

    Putting weights on the outside of the wheel gives you much more accurate balance, regardless of how fancy the car or wheel is. If a tire shop puts the weights on the outside, this doesn't reflect badly on the wheel shop.
    yeah but it looks ugly.

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    I have a tire shop that does all of my balancing. The guy always puts the weights on the inner rim. It makes the wheels look great. If I was going for a LSR or driving over 100 mph, I would ask him to put the weights evenly on both inner and outer lips. At 75, my cars are smooth as glass. No fighting weights on the outside. With the tires and wheels on modern cars, their tolerances are very tight. I have not had more than 1/2 oz on any tire for years. If you have more weight required, change tires!
    Z Saint, the vintage racer! I've traveled a long way and some of the roads weren't paved.

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    V12Horse,

    Are those Watanabe lug nuts too?
    Miles

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    Ben,
    My centrecaps are plastic. Metal ones are nice and all but I'd rather spend the extra money on something a little more noticeable!

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    The Lone Potter v12horse's Avatar
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    Sakijo, my lug nuts are Watanabe lug nuts.

    Lachlan, I thought the metal center caps were the same shape as the plastic ones?

    The wheel weights are on the inner lip, not really the back. I agree with what you had to say Zsaint about putting them on the front and back if I was going 100+mph.

    -Ben
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    Sorry Ben I was probably unclear - yes they look exactly the same. That's why I chose plastic. Be careful if you ever try to buy centre caps for your car. They come in different sizes...

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    The Lone Potter v12horse's Avatar
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    Thanks for telling me that Lachlan. Are the ones on your C110 the ones that would work on my car?
    "A real sports car chooses its owner because it has a soul. If you're chosen, you'll love it, and the more it requires care and maintenance the more you love it." -Mr. Morita (Z432 owner)

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    Car looks great Ben.
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    I'm not sure... the difference is the distance between the inner tabs that go into the hole in the centre of the wheel. I got the wrong ones to begin with... but had the wheel shop bore out the centre holes a bit when restoring the wheels to make them fit. The diameter of the cap is measured in mm and is moulded (mirrored!) on the back inside of the cap. These are 70mm ones --

    P.S. I think your car looks just perfect without them anyway.
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    first class Ben! the car is really coming together! looks great with the new wheels!

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    Your car looks awesome Ben, alot of time and effort has really paid off.
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    Can't wait to see your car again! I'm taking great interest in this as I am about to do the same thing. And for the same reasons, Ben! Your car looks great.
    Enjoy the Ride
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    Ben--I am very jealous--those wheels look like they are stock as far as looking perfect! Awesome wheels!

    I missed all the initial info you might've posted; I was wondering if you could give us (me) a refresher on:

    1. where you got them (imported or ?)
    2. what shop restored them, what did they do?
    3. how much total did you pay in the end...
    4. so far, in your opinion (and I know what you'll say, just want to hear it) are you glad you got these, as opposed to rewinds or panasports? I personally think they are so much rarer in the USA that man, they are AWESOME!

    Thanks! and congrats on making your Zed look so perfect!!!!
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    Hi Ben,

    Great wheels on an even greater car. Very Nice!!

    Chris A.
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    Ben,

    Great work! Since I bought your 14 x 5.5 slots, I feel I may have helped (in some small way) fund the upgrade.....

    Steve
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    Quote Originally Posted by dogma420
    1. where you got them (imported or ?)
    2. what shop restored them, what did they do?
    3. how much total did you pay in the end...
    4. so far, in your opinion (and I know what you'll say, just want to hear it) are you glad you got these, as opposed to rewinds or panasports? I personally think they are so much rarer in the USA that man, they are AWESOME!

    Thanks! and congrats on making your Zed look so perfect!!!!

    Hello Dave,

    1. I got them actually off of ebay about a year and a half ago from a guy on the east coast who imported them from Japan.

    2. I had them done at a shop in Walnut Creek (Northern California). They are called Riteway Wire and Wheels
    *They bead blasted the wheels.
    * Machine cut the back of the wheels to factory spec. (made the groves
    like a record on them.)
    * Primed the front and backs(the Front wheels had original paint, so I had them just paint the front side of the front wheels.)
    * Color matched the paint as best they could using a computer. This was to the original flat Watanabe gunmetal paint. The wheels are slightly more shiney, but I am really happy with how they came out.
    * They balanced the wheels on the tires using a machine. They put the weights on the reverse side of the lip.
    * They fitted the wheels to the car and balanced the front wheels on the car.
    * And they did all this with a hand jack and a hand wrench to be as careful as possible. NO lug nut guns!!!

    3. All this was done for 300USD even.

    4. As you would guess, I am really glad I chose Watanabes over the other 8-spoke style wheels. I can guaruntee that the Watanabes were a little bit more money than Panasports or Rewinds, but I was in no rush. The Pans and Rewinds look very nice, but my ultimate goal was to get Watanabe's. It took me 1.5 years to find the right set (offset, condition, size), but it was well worth it. I am sure that I would of been happy with Panasports or Rewinds, but I am interested in Japan in many ways and it was only natural for me to get these.

    If you or anyone wants to get a set of Watanabes, but is worried about price, availibility, just talk to me and I will try to help/encourage. I thought of buying Pans or Konigs while in search for Watanabes, and money was an issue for me. I don't have that many connections, but I would like to think that I know where and what to look for. I have a certain pride for these wheels, that I don't think I would have had for another wheel (besides Kobe Sieko wheels). I know that Panasports are excellent wheels, and I have heard Konigs are pretty good too, but I went with Watanabe for the look, Japanese influence, excellent quality, and its heritage with Nissan. This is just my opinion, so it is neither right or wrong. I am not trying to offend anyone on wheels either. It is just different strokes for different folks as many would say.

    Please, whether you want Panasports, Konigs, 14 by 7 slots, steelies and caps, Watanabes, Libres, etc. Please get exactly what you want, even if you have to wait because you will be so much happier with your choice.

    Thanks for the complement Dave, Steve, Ron, Chris, Chris, and Pete for the compliments.

    I still have my steel wheels and caps in a safe spot in storage.

    -Ben
    Last edited by v12horse; 01-20-2006 at 01:36 PM.
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    Registered User Victor Laury's Avatar
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    Ben's got his his JDM street cred hapenen now!

    It was worth the wait and effort, good for you!

    Will we see it at MSA THIS year??? uh? Will we? Well?
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    This is the good side ncz's Avatar
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    Ben, the wheels look great, and the shop fees seemed real reasonable for the work. Do you know if these exist in 15's?. Again, looks great!!
    Tom Moore
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    Quote Originally Posted by ncz
    Ben, the wheels look great, and the shop fees seemed real reasonable for the work. Do you know if these exist in 15's?. Again, looks great!!
    They come in 15" and 16" for nice fitment on a Z.

    Check out the website. It is in Japanese, but find the eight-spoke style and you will see the sizes and offsets. There is a fitment page and scroll to S30 and it will give you a list of the recommended sizes. EricB is a member here and he has some really nice 15" Watanabe's on his car. He has over-fender flares though, so his wheels are DEEEEEP .

    www.rs-watanabe.co.jp


    Thanks for giving me the JDM street cred Victor. You got JDM street Cred too X2. I am not sure if I will be at MSA. It all depends on my schedule. I would love to go again.

    -Ben
    Last edited by v12horse; 01-20-2006 at 02:28 PM.
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    Anybody know the color code?

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