I later decided to abandon this route altogether because I felt that the adapter would place the wheel slightly too close for my liking.
My other priority was to ensure that the Mazdaspeed horn button would have enough back clearance to fit, and I started to doubt if the 10mm thickness of the spacer would be enough. Of course, all of this second guessing happened while I was multiple cities away from the car, so I couldn’t take a few steps into the garage and measure for certain. As I would eventually find out, 10mm was exactly enough spacing for the horn button to seat. Oh well, that’s what happens when you overthink and lack patience.
All of this meant that I had to part ways with the venerable Rothsport quick release. It is still my favorite quick release due to its simplicity and ease of engagement. On the plus side, this allowed me to change up the flavor and try something different.
And by different, I mean going back to the Works Bell GTC flip up hub that I had on my old Miata. I realized I rarely utilized the quick release to remove the wheel on a conventional basis. I guess the idea of detaching a part seemed like a hassle or overhead. I figured the mechanics of a flip up hub would better serve my usage. Namely, to aid in ingress and egress. The RX-7 is not a large car and the interior is very cramped. In order to not feel like an overgrown gorilla riding a tricycle, enhancements to the ergonomics are worthwhile tweaks.
I could have saved $100 by ordering the Works Bell GTC hub from Japan directly, but there was a 5-6 week backorder. I waited long enough for the steering wheel to get made, so I bit the bullet and bought the hub locally.
Rothsport Quick Release on the left and the GTC in Silver on the right.
Interestingly, the stack height of the Rothsport is the same as the GTC. I was always under the impression that the former was relatively compact in size, but that is not the case. This works out great because the dish of the Nardi is about the same as the Sparco, so overall the distance of the wheel away from the hub is retained.
While the GTC is a pricey piece, especially domestically, a flip up hub is far more complex in design than a quick release. Its intricacy is apparent by observing the number of parts that make up the construction.
Mounted in the car. Works Bell Short Boss hub to Works Bell GTC.
And at last, the new steering wheel is installed!
The red Mazdaspeed horn button I’ve been vying for ended up not making the cut. For some reason, its diameter is too small to fit. Perhaps there is another piece that is missing or I need to get an adapter. In the interim, I’m using the OEM Nardi horn button… which is not a bad alternative.
The wheel has a full range of motion to flip and narrowly clears the tip of the gauge panel.
Zoomed out interior view.
After going for a drive, the difference in feel with the 350mm wheel was immediately apparent. The confidence in steering was increased dramatically. The 330mm wheel was too “go-kart” like and did not provide enough leverage or control for manual steering. I’m amazed at the impact 20mm in diameter can make. The way a car steers is subjective to a degree, but 350mm is definitely the ideal size for me.