Saturday, 27 July 2013

Aero Era

Aero or Turbo styling is possibly my favourite aspect of 80's wheels. Not that it makes a good design full-stop, but that its so specifically 80's - Coming in through racing in the late 70's, and just about totally gone by the early to mid 90's. So like tape-decks and excessive decals, they really help define the 80's automotive era..

Now there's two parts to this; full aero (and ideally directional!) wheels, or regular fin/mesh wheels with optional aero covers.
I just love idea of designing a wheel, then to almost completely cover it with a over-sized hubcap. Its the unnecessary detail like a popup headlight, that is nothing but extra effort. Awesome stuff..
The beautiful gold mesh on the Hayashi Techno R above had the option of being hidden away by a full cover...!

Originally, and in theory, the whole idea was totally functional - to channel air though the brakes; with wheel and cover setups as seen on things like a 935 Porsche or DR30 Skyline Silhouette..:
It then became more of a styling feature. Regardless of how functional some may seem, remember these are for road cars - brake temps between traffic lights on the way to work really aren't much of an issue..!

There were ones done by OEM's like Nissan, as used on the R31 Nissan Skyline Silhouette (1986 though 1990)..
..used on the standard finned 15x6" alloys..

..And Mugen (Honda) for the CF-48:

Then there are the range of aftermarket ones, such as the ones on the Hayashi Techno R mentioned above..

From Heroes Racing, to suit the CX-2 Fin and Mesh:
(link to more of the above picture sets here, and here)
(link to more of the above picture set here)

From Impul, for the Hoshino Racing Pro-Mesh wheels:
 The pro-mesh, with and without covers.
(more of the above hilarity here!)

From Work; these incredibly rare covers to suit the E-wing range..:
(pictures courtesy of skidmarks wheel and tire)

how about these relatively simple ones, marked Racing Saucer!
if anyone has more info on these, let me know!

From BBS were these fantastic mesh styled ones..
Styled to very closely imitate the ones used on period BBS racing wheels..

wait? plain!?

Ahh. So great..

From Enkei, the Aero Bortex M5 / M5F..

From Rays Engineering / Volk Racing - for the Artisan Spirit Fins:
 Unsure of significance of the '370' marked on the version above.
The covers to suit the smaller diameter faces used screws through the front of the face for mounting, rather than from the back.
The high-offet 'FF' covers above also have really neat fastener-clearance cutouts in every fin..

Tiny Kei version above. It didnt get much smaller than this!

Rays Engineering / Volk Racing C1..
The Carbon overlay on the aluminium face is pretty on its own; but the (very) rare aero trim pieces give it a completely different look.. and like the wheel faces, are properly directional. Dont lose one..

Also from Rays Engineering / Volk Racing; were the covers to suit the 84C wheel...
(More or the above picture set here)
These interestingly happen to look VERY similar to the SSR EX-C ones below. Would love to know more about this..

From SSR, to suit the EX-C fin and mesh.
Like the Volk 84C covers; theres multiple pieces, colours, great lettering, the small text around.. argh.. all good things. Unlike the Volk 84C covers however, I dont own a set.. and really, really want to fix that! ha
In Silver with the black text..
..or perhaps white with red (note the lower offset style centre)
Both white and red covers were available with either black or red text.

Like Rays Engineering, these also weren't the only aero covers Speed Star made.
There were also these VERY rare covers for the SSR Aero / Development:
..which happen to be the only complete set I've ever seen.

Better than that though, are the covers used on the SSR Starsorb wheels.
The Honeycoque..

 ..and what is perhaps known as the Fushimi..
Both are incredibly rare, and on likely one of the most technically-interesting wheels ever made. Seriously.. wow.

Dont have some fancy alloys with optional covers though? Well how about some period generic ones..

Dont have alloys? how about these Hella ones to pop on your steel wheels!
Pulls off the look surprisingly well - and not the only style Hella did either..!

There were also a couple different wheels in this era that had small aero extensions to the face, such as the ZONE ARX below..
..there seriously should have been more transparent covers made..
More of the Zone's above here.

Full sets of the aftermarket aero covers are now extremely hard to find, and I rarely see them for sale in any condition. 20+ years on, its not hard to understand that most would be damaged, lost, or even thrown away as they fell out of fashion. The search is worth it though.. my wheels feel incomplete without them.. :(

Thats it for pictures on this one anyway! At least now I can admire them all in one place.. :)

done! (that took a while..!)

Edit, December 2014.
Just spent another couple hours editing this post.. adding another 70 (!!) pictures I've collected over the last 18months. So sorry if it jumps around a bit when reading.. I'm bloody tired..

Thanks again to anyone who originally took any of the pictures above.

Edit, January 2018.
Added Enkei Aero Bortex M5/M5F pictures.
I've actually come across many others over the last few years - unfortunately I've just left it to the point sorting and adding them to this would be one helluva task..! I'll get to it eventually..


  1. Nice work on cropping out the watermarks from ...sharing is caring bro

    1. Would you feel guilty cropping watermarks *I* had stuck on other people's work?

    2. brb.. off to scan a copy of the Mona Lisa with my name on it..

    3. So you don't feel that him sourcing the catalogues, paying for them, and scanning and uploading them is worthy of funnelling a tiny bit of traffic to his site? But you feel that your blog full of click-save pictures is? That's harsh man.
      Incidentally, I do still like your article.

    4. Cheers. :P
      For the record, those pictures above were simply cropped to focus on a small part of the original (very large) image. Just look at them. Leaving the watermark off wasn’t intentional, but when I don't feel something like that was necessary on the image in the first place, I couldn't have begun to feel fazed about leaving it off.
      Like scanning a page from a book; the fact I had to go to the bookstore, buy the book, find the page, and bung it on the scanner; doesn't mean I should feel the need to pop my name over it. It’s not my damn work. I would be doing it to try and share the image/information without obviously taking any credit for it, just hoping that the author/owner understands!
      Maybe If i took a photo of the page of that book, with a little emphasis on the fact it was a photo of a book - I'd be able to take some personal pride in (and general credit for) the final image?
      I know I've done both styles before…
      Here, the catalogue images are a direct scan:
      Here, photos of a catalogue..
      Likely arguable; but the effort that I put into the background, lighting, framing, etc, in the second set; means I take a little more pride in the final images, compared to the direct-scans I had done for the first link. This is despite both requiring me to search and buy both catalogues the same way - hell I think the HKS brochure even cost more.
      ...But no watermarks on either. Tons of the photos on this blog (including a 20+ above) are my own photos - and there's no watermarks on any of it.
      I do it to share, not for credit. I don't advertise, sell shit, or even tell people. I just do this for the random few with similar interests, when they happen to stumble onto this all..
      The photos I collect from sales websites (Goo, Carsensor, Yahoo, ebay, etc) are images originally taken to do a job. Once whatever they're selling, sells - they're gone. I can only assume the people selling the item aren’t particularly attached to the pictures themselves, so I can only *hope* wouldn’t mind. If it is still for sale, I'll mention it too.. on the off chance I can steer any people towards them.
      This isnt some Tumblr/instagram/facebook thing. The pictures are really here to add more information to something I'm trying to describe - something that interests me, to people that I hope like it too. Like why a (Nissan Exa.. or Suzuki Alto.. or..) is cool to me, the pictures are to help others get onto the same page.
      Now I just hope the author of that site never comes across this; as I’m really not trying to have a go, just explaining what I would've done. Which is fairly irrelevant really..
      I’ll almost certainly never know you, and I know it doesnt matter; but please don’t think I’m being a prick. I try not to be anyway..

  2. A very good and informative article indeed. It helps me a lot to enhance my knowledge, I really like the way the writer presented his views. carbon fiber wheelset road bike

  3. Ok, I want details on one's I can get and install on my 18 inch bmw wheels. Somene has to be making these?

  4. I wish I could buy on of these sets of wheels.