Author Topic: Promising Lead on 16" Aluminum "Steelies"  (Read 6757 times)

Jack the Knife

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Promising Lead on 16" Aluminum "Steelies"
« on: January 04, 2023, 22:15:39 »
I spoke today with Brian McNamara from Hatch & Sons to just ask questions about the 3.5 SLR. What an amazing car. We extensively discussed the R&D his boss has put into trying to improve the enjoyment and drivability of these cars as well as their W108 and W111 projects. He told me how two years ago he had contacted Fuchs (or their parent) to discuss manufacturing a run of 16" aluminum wheels that could take a hubcap. These would be our ordinary hubcaps, not the larger and expensive limousine hubcaps.

Unfortunately, Fuchs told him that he would need to commit to a run of 500 sets -- or 2000 wheels. Hatch is not willing to allocate that much of their working capital to commissioning and storing that many wheels, so they lost interest in the project. I would certainly be interested in such wheels, as the benefits are obvious. Currently, every wheel option for our cars is a compromise in some way:
  • 14" steel wheel, the standard one, is very heavy and tire selection is lackluster
  • 14" Barock wheel is certainly lighter but has the tire selection issue still
  • 14" aluminum wheel that takes the hubcap is still a compromise on tires, but not too bad
  • 15" Barock wheel is a common choice, and not a bad one, but the wheel looks more appropriate on the 107s
  • 15" steel wheel that takes a hub is heavy and the hubs that work are expensive
A 15" aluminum wheel that takes a hubcap would be very nice, though I suppose a 16" option would be great, too, provided its looks can jibe with the car.

What do you all think? Is this something that would interest the userbase here enough for a group buy, supposing the price is relatively reasonable?
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Cees Klumper

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Re: Promising Lead on 16" Aluminum "Steelies"
« Reply #1 on: January 04, 2023, 23:12:17 »
There would certainly be interest, although I doubt for 500 sets or close to it on this forum. Personally, I don't think I would go for a 16 inch 'look', 14 being the stock size. Even 15 might be a stretch for many, originality in mind as well.
'Relatively reasonable cost' for me would mean a price per wheel of around $100-150? So $400-600 for a set. Hopefully the existing (14 inch based) hubcaps could be used, otherwise the cost goes to a whole new level. People are asking for over $1,000 a set of old used aluminum 14 inch wheels on Ebay but that price is based on scarcity. You can get a very nice looking set of brand new 14 inch aluminum wheels for $500-600.
Those would be my 2 cents, others I am sure will weigh in.
Cees Klumper
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rwmastel

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Re: Promising Lead on 16" Aluminum "Steelies"
« Reply #2 on: January 05, 2023, 00:44:16 »
What do you all think? Is this something that would interest the userbase here enough for a group buy, supposing the price is relatively reasonable?
This forum has a polling feature, so start a poll and find out!   8)
Rodd

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mdsalemi

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Re: Promising Lead on 16" Aluminum "Steelies"
« Reply #3 on: January 05, 2023, 14:35:04 »
The late Fernando Castanheira, a/k/a "Hauser" on our forums who passed away last year, had 15" wheels with full wheel covers. I don't think "the look" whatever that may be, was impacted in any negative way by this. The outward appearance was pretty normal and it would take a number of, shall we say, nit-pickers with a red pen and clipboard to really see a difference--and they'd probably have to look at tire size and or another Pagoda with more conventional 14" sizing to discern a difference.

I agree with Cees that it would be challenging to get 500 people to commit to sets of these wheels here on this forum, nearly regardless of price.

I think that doing wheels in appropriate sized 16" may solve the ever increasing problem of finding appropriate tires. However, "be careful what you wish for". People here have been complaining, some vociferously, about the price of tires for the Pagoda. When the Coker Phoenix was one of the only remaining "appropriate" tires nearly 20 years ago, they were "only" $170 each, and few takers here because of the price. Now they are significantly more costly. Even the Vredestein and Blockley tires are too costly for some.

A stock tire for a later model SLK is about $220 when I bought a pair a few years ago for my Aunt's car. I cannot remember if this was a 16" or 17" or the exact profile, but I do remember that it was going to be about $1,000 to get a full set of four. That's still WAY too high for many here, who seek out no-name, or Hankook, or Kumho or some other brand in the $100 range.

My guess is the best answer since this would be a low-volume product, to find a 16" rim with the MB bolt pattern that may fit our car. I don't know if this exists but someone would have to do some research or speak with or go to a knowledgable wheel retailer or distributor and see if any can be fitted. THEN find an appropriate tire not too varying (meaning you probably don't want really low profile tires) that may work. Yeah, it's an investment in time and trouble with no guarantee of success.
Michael Salemi
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JamesL

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Re: Promising Lead on 16" Aluminum "Steelies"
« Reply #4 on: January 05, 2023, 16:18:01 »
Interesting

The single cap for the later cars, that fit the standard 14" steelies (or allys) is actually nearer 15" in diameter so it (slightly) more than covers the rim. The bigger 15" wheel (the 600/123Limo wheel) has the more expensive 1 piece caps that are themselves nearer 16" diameter (41cm IIRC).

Given the price/rarity of the later, any initiative would have more success using our existing hubcaps - so I'd argue that would make the 16" wheel a very difficult proposition as the cap would be that much smaller than the rim.
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Cees Klumper

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Re: Promising Lead on 16" Aluminum "Steelies"
« Reply #5 on: January 05, 2023, 16:55:29 »
The late Fernando Castanheira, a/k/a "Hauser" on our forums who passed away last year, had 15" wheels with full wheel covers. I don't think "the look" whatever that may be, was impacted in any negative way by this. The outward appearance was pretty normal and it would take a number of, shall we say, nit-pickers with a red pen and clipboard to really see a difference--and they'd probably have to look at tire size and or another Pagoda with more conventional 14" sizing to discern a difference.

In this 2005 thread, Hauser posted a photo of a Pagoda on 15 inch wheels - 4th post down. For me at least, the difference with the original 14 inch wheels is immediately apparent:

https://www.sl113.org/forums/index.php?topic=2827.0
Cees Klumper
1969 Mercedes 280 SL automatic
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kampala

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Re: Promising Lead on 16" Aluminum "Steelies"
« Reply #6 on: January 05, 2023, 17:35:44 »
Austria Pagoda Event 2021

A few of us drove through Germany together to the Event in Austria.    One of the cars had 15 inch wheels with 15 inch hubcaps - Reinhard's car in the front.




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mdsalemi

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Re: Promising Lead on 16" Aluminum "Steelies"
« Reply #7 on: January 05, 2023, 17:59:38 »
I couldn't find any photos of Hauser's car with the 15". Just one he posted of a bundt cake 15".

If you see the thread dating back over 15 years now, it's been a long time since that was posted...and still tires aren't easy to find in 14".
I see the photo that Kampala posted, and sorry to disagree with anyone but Reinhard's car with 15" regular wheels and wheel covers looks entirely fine to me. If that does NOT look OK to anyone then I guess it's 14" wheels and the perpetual issue of finding tires.
Michael Salemi
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Jack the Knife

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Re: Promising Lead on 16" Aluminum "Steelies"
« Reply #8 on: January 05, 2023, 18:12:48 »
My guess is the best answer since this would be a low-volume product, to find a 16" rim with the MB bolt pattern that may fit our car. I don't know if this exists but someone would have to do some research or speak with or go to a knowledgable wheel retailer or distributor and see if any can be fitted. THEN find an appropriate tire not too varying (meaning you probably don't want really low profile tires) that may work. Yeah, it's an investment in time and trouble with no guarantee of success.

A wheel I've seen posted on old threads around here is the 16" CLK wheel. It is also quite light, at 13lbs. These will need some spacers, of course. The attached car was posted on here some time ago, can't remember by who. My belief is these could be painted body-color and the hubcap attached somehow. There are many custom wheel cover companies out there. Perhaps an unobtrusive option could be created to adapt to these CLK wheels.
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bogeyman

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Re: Promising Lead on 16" Aluminum "Steelies"
« Reply #9 on: January 05, 2023, 21:36:15 »
Here's a photo I took during PUB in 2011. I don't remember whose car this was.

I found a set of these hubcaps and the 15" steel wheels back then but I have never mounted them.
Rick Bogart
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JamesL

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Re: Promising Lead on 16" Aluminum "Steelies"
« Reply #10 on: January 05, 2023, 21:36:33 »
https://www.sl113.org/forums/index.php?topic=9676.msg64579#msg64579

I found a 15" (R170) SLK200 wheel that fits, and would sort of take a hubcap, but only sort of. Clearance to the exhaust was also minimal and so I dropped the idea for both those reasons


Tom (Sargent) has 15" steel wheels on his Tunis car
James L
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Jack the Knife

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Re: Promising Lead on 16" Aluminum "Steelies"
« Reply #11 on: January 06, 2023, 22:24:37 »
I contacted Forgeline about producing wheels similar to their OE1 Heritage-series wheels. Those were designed to take the classic hubcaps of the American cars. The trouble is their custom wheels start at 17". However, the gentleman I spoke to feels their drag racing wheels, which start at 15", could be modified to have the one-piece caps. What would be even cooler for us 230SL owners is a beauty ring. Alas.

He will be speaking to the team next week and discussing options. Their wheels are MTO, which is expensive, but if the design exists, then the option exists. Such wheels would probably cost in the area of 1500/each, in line with all their other wheels. I'd pay it. And perhaps a larger subset of Pagoda and other vintage Benz owners would likewise.
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rwmastel

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Re: Promising Lead on 16" Aluminum "Steelies"
« Reply #12 on: January 07, 2023, 07:01:51 »
And perhaps a larger subset of Pagoda and other vintage Benz owners would likewise.
Again, I recommend you start a poll and find out.
Rodd

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bogeyman

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Re: Promising Lead on 16" Aluminum "Steelies"
« Reply #13 on: January 07, 2023, 12:46:33 »
This is a Youtube video from the guy at ICON restomodding a W109 6.3.

While I don't agree with what he did to this car, about 19 minutes into the vid there are pics and description of the wheels he had made.

They were made by a custom wheel company called Evod. I love the look.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XMOBECkR5lk&t=5s
Rick Bogart
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Jack the Knife

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Re: Promising Lead on 16" Aluminum "Steelies"
« Reply #14 on: January 07, 2023, 21:55:42 »
This is a Youtube video from the guy at ICON restomodding a W109 6.3.

While I don't agree with what he did to this car, about 19 minutes into the vid there are pics and description of the wheels he had made.

They were made by a custom wheel company called Evod. I love the look.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XMOBECkR5lk&t=5s

I had heard about that build, though I only looked at some of the photos and never watched the video. I watched it today. Quite amazing work. It is a shame how more R&D hasn't been put in over the years in improving the swing axle in our pagodas, as I do look at the suspension as a heavy drawback to this car. The entirely new chassis completely changes the nature of the conversation. At first, I kinda didn't care for the idea of the LS-swap, though I can respect his reasoning entirely. The LS9 is not a cheap motor by any means anyway, and it's not like M113k motors can't be had way cheaper by comparison, though such an engine would no doubt invite totally new technical difficulties. This car wouldn't please a purist no matter what -- perhaps a purist might have preferred for it to rest in peace out in the desert until the end of time, like some Tarim Basin mummy.

At any rate, I left a voicemail for Evod. It seems they did the wheels for that 190SL SEMA build. I do not like the way those look. I have often wondered why one couldn't make a simulated whitewall look on wheels like this, rather than exposing the metal like on the SEMA car. Their work on the 6.2, at any rate, is superlative.

I found an interesting option for 16" wheels upon which one can mount 14" hubcaps (later style). Fonzi, a moderator on BenzWorld, has 14" caps set inside 16" chrome Lorinser RS90 wheels on is R107. However, he never did devise a way to fasten them, they were just placed there for the picture. Makes me think.

Though this doesn't address the weight issue, it occurred to me today that various 16" steel options were made for the W460 and 461. I wonder if any of them could be made to work with a hubcap. http://www.rubicon-trail.com/G-Class/wheels/start.html Certainly very, very, very cheap.
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Jack the Knife

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Re: Promising Lead on 16" Aluminum "Steelies"
« Reply #15 on: January 09, 2023, 01:29:15 »
The original wheels of the Pininfarina coupe are intriguing with their painted center caps. I'm curious of the effect if I were to do the same in my light blue.
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Jack the Knife

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Re: Promising Lead on 16" Aluminum "Steelies"
« Reply #16 on: January 09, 2023, 17:32:23 »
Update from some manufacturers...

EVOD: Spoke with Sean from EVOD this morning. Basically they ask for $900 for a design fee. Once one is satisfied with that, the smaller wheels (15" and 16") can be machined from a piece of aluminum. They won't do the cheaper 3-piece wheels in that size. One can expect this to cost "close to $3000/wheel." The hubcap from the ICON car is actually built into the wheel. They advised against making a wheel upon which an OEM wheel cover could be mounted owing to proportion issues. If I were to pay $900 to go down that path, I'd ask that such a wheel would be designed anyway so I can at least see how it looks. Anyway, there's no way I'd pay $12000 for wheels on my car unless I was going to make something truly unique, like the dish-type wheels similar to the BMW Neue Klasse that were depicted on some of Bracq's design studies for the 113, which also appeared again on 107 design studies.

Mechatronik: While they are not currently entertaining making such wheels at the moment, they aren't against them in the future. If they decide to go down that path, they will let me know.

*EDIT* MACarbon: They have considered making these wheels before, though since the owner is no longer a 'spring chicken' and has scaled down, there isn't quite as much interest on there end as before. But as he has made a 16" Bundt for the 107 crowd at a cost of $2750 for a set of 4 wheels ($687.5/wheel) and is currently doing some custom option for a Japanese client's Pagoda, perhaps an option upon which one can at least mount the dog dish hubcap can be made for cheaper than the competition. I have some hope. Otherwise, I will be purchasing a set of the 16" Bundts in 7" width and mounting a nice set of Michelin Pilot SuperSports, which puts me within a 1/4" of stock wheel height. I believe these are ever so slightly smaller, rather than larger. An improvement regardless, as the P/O has some absolute trash Mastercraft tires that are way too small on here.
« Last Edit: January 09, 2023, 20:10:38 by Jack the Knife »
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Jack the Knife

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Re: Promising Lead on 16" Aluminum "Steelies"
« Reply #17 on: January 11, 2023, 19:52:53 »
Attached are two photos of drawings of a pre-production 113. The close-up was posted by Michael Salemi about fourteen years ago. Note how these photos depict a Pagoda with Rudge-type wheels.

It is interesting to imagine if AMG had modified a 113 for group 5 racing. It had to have been discussed.
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JamesL

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Re: Promising Lead on 16" Aluminum "Steelies"
« Reply #18 on: January 11, 2023, 19:56:56 »
Funny how the hardtop in the top drawing missed the 113 and landed on the 107
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Jack the Knife

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Re: Promising Lead on 16" Aluminum "Steelies"
« Reply #19 on: January 11, 2023, 20:08:10 »
Funny how the hardtop in the top drawing missed the 113 and landed on the 107

Imagine a world where the 107 and 113 shared a top. Would be a lot nicer on the wallet...

Perhaps unbeknownst to many, the 300SL utilized 15" wheels. The hubcap wheels used our standard dog bowl caps. It is interesting to look at them and see how our caps interacts with the 15" wheel. See here for a BaT listing with many pictures: https://bringatrailer.com/listing/300sl-roadster-wheels/

Here is an entirely painted wheel.

And here is a polished wheel.
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teahead

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Cees Klumper

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Re: Promising Lead on 16" Aluminum "Steelies"
« Reply #21 on: January 13, 2023, 19:46:13 »
A set of 4 new 15 inch Bundts for $880, that sounds like a reasonable price.
Cees Klumper
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Jack the Knife

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Re: Promising Lead on 16" Aluminum "Steelies"
« Reply #22 on: January 13, 2023, 20:52:38 »
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teahead

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Re: Promising Lead on 16" Aluminum "Steelies"
« Reply #23 on: January 13, 2023, 21:13:19 »
I currently have BBS RS008s installed, with 225/50-16s.



BBS RS008s are 16x7 with +24 offset.  PERFECT FIT with the above wheels/tires!

So those 16" Barocks with a +23 offset should work perfectly as well!

I say...go for it!
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