When it comes to JDM cars, style can be just as important as performance. Sometimes the style comes from the performance itself. As the saying goes, “form follows function.” That being said, one of the most popular modifications for JDM project cars is wheels. There is a whole world of limited edition, hard to find JDM wheels out there that fans covet.
In a subculture where style is so essential, wheels are a lot like shoes. Like “sneakerhead” culture, fans do their best to hunt down the newest and rare vintage JDM wheels. Some people resell limited JDM wheels for exorbitant amounts of money. Some shops strike deals with JDM wheel manufacturers to create a custom color or become the exclusive retailer for a special edition drop. There are so many layers that we could talk about it for a very long time.
Instead, we’ll just fill you in on three of the most coveted JDM wheels on the market today to give you an idea of what wheel enthusiasts hunt for.
Work Meister S1
The first wheel we’re looking at is from a company producing aftermarket wheels since the 1970s. Work Wheels is one of the most respected Japanese brands, and the thirst for their designs is proof. If you meet a Japanese car enthusiast and ask for their personal top five list of JDM wheels, it is almost certain that something from Work Wheels will make that list.
Among all of their designs, the Work Meister S1 is the most sought-after. The Work Meister S1 features three-piece construction, which makes them nearly infinitely customizable. If someone has the right contacts, they can commission a custom set of Work Meister S1’s specific to the buyer’s project car. Barrel lengths, offsets, and more are interchangeable. Furthermore, the curved five-spoke wheel face is perfect for accommodating large aftermarket brake calipers.
Enkei is a brand that has had deep roots in motorsports since the very beginnings of its company. Enkei has been involved in WRC, GT racing, drifting, but they are most recognizable from their participation in F1. Most casual fans do not know this, but Enkei has provided F1 team wheels for a long time.
To commemorate their involvement in Formula 1, Enkei developed the RPF1 for road cars. The RPF1 shares a similar design to the wheel that Enkei provided for Formula 1. The RPF1 features the same split six-spoke, one-piece design as Enkei’s Formula 1 wheel but much less concave and larger diameter. The RPF1 has remained in Enkei’s lineup for the better part of a decade and is easily one of the most wanted JDM wheels someone can get their hands on.
Volk Racing TE37
If there was ever a design that deserves to be on everyone’s favorite JDM wheels list, it is the TE37. If JDM wheels are like sneakers, then TE37s are like “Air Jordans”. Everyone wants a set; they are very expensive and come in endless colors and editions.
Like the Enkei RPF1, the TE37 is commonly found in motorsport applications, and the road car version is virtually unchanged. While not used in Formula 1, the TE37 is a staple of GT racing in Japan and was famously used by Nissan’s factory NISMO race team on the Nissan Skyline R34 GT race car. There was a time when customers could buy a set of magnesium TE37s called “TE37 MAG,” but due to the high cost, Volk Racing eventually took them off the market. That makes TE37 MAG wheels extremely rare and very expensive on the second-hand market. They also equal instant cred for anyone who can find them.
Now that you know a little more about JDM wheels make sure you keep an eye out the next time you visit your local car meet. You might just catch a glimpse of some of the rarest wheels on the planet.
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