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Long story, but I got a set of 4 BBS Mahle 16x7 ET11 wheels to use on my 87 Esprit (and custom wheel spacers (front 12mm) and wheel adapters (rear 5x120 ET 41).

These wheels are OEM look (except the rear doesn't have the stepped lip of ET -20), but differ in the alignment holes and the 16" diameter.

Bought them off craigslist - they were modified from original (painted black and lips polished). Curb rash on 3 of 4 wheels (some pretty deep) so sanding down and repolishing with 2000 grit sand paper. Will clear coat the lip. Not interested in a concours finish but a 'driver' level of finish that suits my useage.

The plan is to use 195/55-16 front, either 225/60-16 rear or 215/60-16 rear (the narrower 215 has a stiffer side wall with a 7" wide wheel (OEM being 8" wide). I realize narrow rear is counter to normal, but I'm doing run flat tires as I've had situations where they are much better for how I drive.

Learned a few things.

1. BBS Mahle for BMWs come in a dizzying array of models, finishes, offsets, etc.
2. Giugiaro Esprits (at least Turbo or S3) use 12mm lug bolt (not 14mm lug bolt on Stevens)


Still working on the curb rash (and waiting the arrival of the wheel spacers/adapters).
 

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Sorry to tag on to such an old thread here, but this one seemed to be the most complete on the topic of wheels. (Eddie, I think you actually changed wheels since the above post.)

I have four dry rotted tires and scuffed up original silver wheels. I am not yet sure what I'm going to do with wheels/tires. Seems there are three choices many Giugiaro owners are faced with:

1) Stay with OEM fitment: If appropriate visual-match-from-10-feet tires were available, I would just fix my wheels and get 15" tires. But they are not. BFG (letters in, of course) seems to be the only solution and - in other threads - it has been indicated that they are just not so great.

2) Go crazy: I don't think I can afford CUSTOM rims with the correct ET and offset leaving the wheel face at the hub in the rear. And I don't like the options once I damage one of those custom rims. Maybe you know of a common multi-piece rim which is reversible? Like... remove the barrel from the face and make the inside the outside.. making the lip into the barrel and somehow solving the valve issue caused by this.

3) Hack (hacks are good): I certainly like the cost/availability of the BMW wheel solution. BUT, by putting in spacers, you are adding unsprung weight in the form of increased wheel diameter (probably) and spacers. And you are also repositioning the weight of the wheel face away from the hubs. I'd like to see a discussion from some of the engineers here on the added weight and the redistribution of it. Where would I see damage? What effect would there be on dynamics?

-Jason
 

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RE: Option 1 - The BFGs are fine for road use, actually quite sticky I think, but they aren't good enough for most track use (or so I've been told). I have the BFGs on my '86 and they're plenty good for the occasional twisty road carving I do. They also look "right" to me which matters IMHO. FWIW.
 

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(Eddie, I think you actually changed wheels since the above post.)
Not quite - I did grind/polish the curb rash on the wheels, but life got in the way (work, kitchen remodeling, shock/bushing upgrades, etc).

But I will be getting my run flats as mentioned for the 16" BBS in next few weeks.

Yes - you will be horrified to know my wheel spacer (12mm front aluminum disc) and rear wheel adapter (41mm STEEL adapter, not aluminum - for strength with lug bolts) - the rear steel adapters weigh a ton. The sizes I picked maintain the factory OEM centerline to minimize suspension weirdness from altered geometry (except for rear where I extended out 5mm from centerline due to 225/55-16 run flat tires - only one choice).While I modified OEM centerline by 5mm, I maintained factory rear TRACK WIDTH - hopefully will reduce the weirdness other report running with 10mm narrow tires on rear of Esprits.


But for a street/long distance cruiser like me, they are fine. And if I really want to rock it out, my 17" Fikse run nice sticky Dunlops AND the rear wheels are actually 2 lbs lighter than the 15" OEM BBS wheels AND use no spacers! Of course, the Fikse were expensive 3 piece custom wheels from a previous owner, so no additional cost there.

If you want originality, the 15" wheels are mostly limited to marginal 15" tires.
If you want better tire selections - 16" or 17" are best wheels, but all will require some kind of heavy adapter/spacer or expensive custom wheels.
The most cost-effective compromise is to use old BMW 5x120 PCD wheels (Giugiaro Esprit) or old Volvo/Ford 5x108 PCD wheels (Stevens Esprit).

There is no such thing as reversible multipiece Esprit wheel - the offsets would not make it feasible.

If you got the cash, Radinox lips on multipiece wheels are reputedly Superman-quality lips - look at YouTube videos for Radinox lips being abused and still look fine.

RE: weight distribution and dynamics - unless you're a track rat - don't bother - it's not going to matter that much on the street. But if you try to stick as close to OEM centerline, I imagine that reduces much of any anomalies you would get with severe changes in wheel offset.

Tirerack still have the BFG TAs in the correct sizes, but you have to wait for a batch to pop out. I put 29K miles on a set of BFG TAs on my late 88 - they were fine on street. Other Esprit folks say the turn in is horrible but seemed adequate for street use. I did unintentionally put my late 88 Esprit into a gentle 4 wheel drift (on a clover leaf ramp no less) - it was mild going in and came out gently as well. So the BFG TAs are good enough for safe and sane street driving.
 

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My BBS 16” and the steel rear wheel adapter. (5x120 PCD, ET20+11+5 for 225 tire to maintain OEM rear track) and front aluminum wheel spacer 12mm. To maintain ET 23 front offset.



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There is no such thing as reversible multipiece Esprit wheel - the offsets would not make it feasible.
What I was trying to suggest was taking some off-the-shelf product such as this set of $650 17" rims, removing the face, and reverse mounting it on the inside for the rear wheels. Or think if it as removing the barrel from the wheel face, flipping it and remounting. The math does not work with this particular set pictured here, but imagine the face unscrewed from the internal lip of the barrel and instead attached flipped onto the other side of that internal lip.

I realize the barrel side is often a different diameter than rims. Not always. Just trying to think outside the box and eliminate the spacer.

-Jason
1257968
 

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I'm getting LAZY (er) as I get older. The fixing bolts on the rims are a PAIN to keep clean. (Thank goodness our dentist always gives us complimentary toothbrushes, LOL) ?

I remember that cleaning up corrosion around the rim bolts of OZ split rim wheels (as below) is a major job. Ask @yellow hornet ...
1257984
 

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Note here I didn't say they were any good or the ones I would choose. But the first new example. Obs there are many used.

JNC Wheels - 18" JNC005 Silver Machine Lip Rim - 5x120 - 18x8 inch https://www.amazon.com/dp/B076SWPZZT/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apa_i_OCylEbY23A2A1

-Jason
This JNC is not a multi-piece wheel. At $183 that was my first clue. This is a faux look wheel with decorative bolts.

Multi piece wheels are far higher than $650/set and rest assured you’re not going to find any used multi piece wheels at that price that fit an Esprit.

Used multi piece wheels that would sell for $650 will likely require refinishing that far exceed the cost of those wheels.


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Without regard to specifics or financial due diligence, to re-state the question which has led to this rabbit hole:

Is it conceivable that there exists a 2-piece wheel with a barrel that is reversible? I do not have an example, yet I don't know why it would not exist. And I don't know why a manufacturer would not have accidentally created such a feature without even intending to.

-Jason

-Jason
 

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Wingless Wonder
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Jason, why not ASK a wheel manufacturer?

PM'd you with the guy who sourced Rotifom custom wheels for the Stevens Esprits.
 

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Without regard to specifics or financial due diligence, to re-state the question which has led to this rabbit hole:

Is it conceivable that there exists a 2-piece wheel with a barrel that is reversible? I do not have an example, yet I don't know why it would not exist. And I don't know why a manufacturer would not have accidentally created such a feature without even intending to.

-Jason

-Jason
No.


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Jason, why not ASK a wheel manufacturer?

PM'd you with the guy who sourced Rotifom custom wheels for the Stevens Esprits.
He wants a reversible multi piece wheel that fits an Esprit that is inexpensive. No such animal.


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BMW style 5s. Flip the rear barrels to achieve the deep dish oem look.

Here are some used style 5s. It seems that they can be had for the impossible price of 600 + refinishing.

Here is a complete idiot who flipped the barrels on all four, even though it is impossible:

(He actually is an idiot, because doing this in his application changes the vehicle dynamics whereas I'm trying to approximate oem et with a cheap used wheel.)

When I get around to doing this (in about six months), I will probably put together two sets so that I can better approximate the oem staggered width. I will post my impossible photos for you at that time.

-Jason
 

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I never said it was impossible. Not sure why you keep bringing that up. I am saying it won’t be possible get all with ‘ inexpensive’ being the key point.

Good luck with ‘saving’ money with that approach. If your time is worth zero then yes you might ‘save’ money. But while those BMW wheels might have an ET ‘close’ to Esprit dimensions, you still have to polish/finish that inner barrel. And I don’t know enough about the engineering strength of mounting a center face on the opposite side of the factory-intended way. If you’re assuming it was manufactured to be bolted either way, that could be dangerous on a wheel.

If you run with an ET that is ‘close enough’ to avoid using adapter, it’s definitely moving farther away in dynamics.

My adapters, particularly the rears, are bad enough being steel and 5mm out. This approach will be interesting. If it works I certainly would be interested. But I already have plenty of wheel choices


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