It took me less than a month to grow tired of the Work XD9‘s that were on the car. They were simply too generic and lacked a certain element I was looking for. Picking the right wheels is extremely important, they can single-handedly transform your car. This is probably why it’s common to see people go through multiple sets of wheels – and it’s definitely not an area you want to skimp out on.
Aside from feeling that the XD9’s were bland, there was something off about their sizing to me. Maybe it was just the design of the face on those wheels, but in 18″, they seemed too big on the car. I’m taking the opportunity to step down to 17″ wheels. I think the larger sidewalls will balance out the proportions on this car when fit right, we’ll see how it goes.
I also wanted to find wheels that were more worthy, so I reverted to my short-list of favorites and picked the choice at the top: RegaMasters. I love the simplicity in their design, it’s almost utilitarian like. They are also more period correct to the RX-7 and have long been discontinued – which increases their rarity. This is a plus although adds to the challenge of sourcing them, as you’ll read…
I had to turn to looking overseas to find what I needed. I initially bought a set of 17×9’s from a seller in Japan. I really wanted 17×10’s but it was almost impossible to find a +40 offset for the fronts, so I settled on the 17×9’s instead. I had expressed this intention to the seller, and this lead to a tip from him a month and a half later. Apparently, as luck would have it, a 17×10 +40 pair popped up on a Yahoo Japan auction.
Since this seller wasn’t the cheapest (it would have cost me around $2500-2700 to go through him), I decided to take his information and go behind his back to save a few bucks. I had to work fast because the auction was ending soon. I did my research and quickly contacted Jesse Streeter, who specializes in proxy services. We moved fast, a bet was placed on the 17×10 +40 pair and another 17×10 +20 pair (for the rears). The next thing I know, my 17×10 RegaMasters were at my doorstep a week and half later.
I decided to spring for EMS shipping. The funny thing is, my first 17×9 set was shipped through a container, and didn’t arrive until almost a month later.
Forged in Russia, with love.
Note: Desmond made 2 types of RegaMasters, the Evo and the Marquis Promada. The former is slightly more rare and especially so in many of the larger sizings. To tell the difference between Evos and Marquis Promadas (MP), look at the hub. MP’s will have a raised hub bore area for the center caps. Evos have a flat center and feature an optional silver, domed center cap. The recessed groove that circumvents the inside edge of the spokes may not be apparent on the smaller Evo sizes. The majority of RegaMasters I’ve seen for sale as Evos are actually Marquis Promadas with Evo stickers, do not be fooled.
A few of the wheels had minor curb rashes, but curb rashes nonetheless. This meant that I couldn’t simply drop them off to the powder coaters to be repainted… they needed to be refinished first. I decided to keep to the color of the silver pair for the set (equivalent of Prismatic Powder’s Porsche Silver). This should help “tame” the car’s appearance, although I will miss the black on black look.
I chose Wheel Techniques in Santa Clara to do the refinishing, because they weld on new material to the curb rashes rather than simply fill them like some other shops do. Unfortunately, the refinishing process took far longer than anticipated. One of the wheels came out with a bad clear coat and needed to be redone, and I noticed minor inconsistencies on a couple of the other wheels. One thing led to another, it took over 4 weeks to finally get all of the wheels down to a satisfactory result.
I wasn’t in any rush so it worked out to that end. I’m appreciative that Wheel Techniques was willing to work with me and see it through by continuing to redo their work. They’re a busy shop, and Jeff, the co-owner, even personally extended an offer to redo a wheel, when I was about to just accept it and go… so I thought that was a classy act and gets major kudos in my book.
Let’s cut to the chase here…
Here’s a picture of both sets of my RegaMasters, with the 17×9’s in the foreground. You can see the small difference in the step lip depth between the 10″ and 9″. This difference was reason enough to make me buy 2 sets of these wheels.
Mounted on Hankook RS-3’s.
Whether I go with 17″ or 18″ wheels, one thing I will always keep is the fitment. I will continue to stay with a squared set up and with 10″ wide wheels all around with 255 width tires. I think 255’s on a 10″ is perfect. The pinch and stretch are just right. If the tires did not have a rim protector, the cross-sectional widths would basically be squared on the 10″ wheel.