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What do Original 240Z Wheels Look Like?

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I have tried to search for original 240Z wheels to get an idea of what they look like. I have not really found any information that lists this with pictures, names or descriptions. I have seen some of the cars that have hubcaps with a D in them and others with what looks like a four spoke wheel (no hubcaps). What was standard (or at least a factory upgrade) on a '70 240Z? Did it change for '71 or '72?

If I buy a '70 - '71 car that does not have the original wheels, can these be purchased? If so, what do they usually cost?

Thanks,

James

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As far as I know they all came with narrow steel wheels and hubcaps. The early hubcaps had the D as you mention. The later hubcaps had a Z emblem in the center. An eBay search for "240Z hubcaps" shows three sets there right now.

Most of the original wheels were replaced, often at the dealer before the car was even sold. Slotted "Mag" wheels were popular at the time. The fact that so many of the original wheels and hubcaps were tossed out is what is causing people to pay high prices for originals in good condition.

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if ur lookin for slotted mags i have a set of 4 in nice shape. can be viewed in my photo gallery.

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Standard wheel and standard D hubcap for American imports up to around 7/71

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And to clarify, here in the US at least, there was no such thing as a "factory" mag wheel option for a 240Z. There were lots of dealer installed mags, but none were offered or approved by the factory, and every dealer had different choices, depending on what they could get the best buy on.

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I have tried to search for original 240Z wheels to get an idea of what they look like. I have not really found any information that lists this with pictures, names or descriptions. I have seen some of the cars that have hubcaps with a D in them and others with what looks like a four spoke wheel (no hubcaps). What was standard (or at least a factory upgrade) on a '70 240Z? Did it change for '71 or '72?

If I buy a '70 - '71 car that does not have the original wheels, can these be purchased? If so, what do they usually cost?

Thanks,

James

Hi James:

I'd put it this way... All regular production 240-Z's shipped to North America were equipped with steel wheels and hubcaps. The 70/71 Model Year Z's had 4.5" x 14" steel wheels with the "D" hubcaps and the 72/73 Model Year Z's had 5"x14" steel wheels with the "Z" hubcaps.

See: The Z Car Home Page: <a href=http://zhome.com/Classic/Restore/HubCaps.htm TARGET=NEW>http://zhome.com/Classic/Restore/HubCaps.htm</a>

So to answer your question - they (wheels and hubcaps) changed at the 72 Model Year.

However as an interesting side note: - a 5.5"x14" Steel Road Wheel was FMVSS Approved prior to 2 June 1970 for sale by Nissan Motors USA, in the U.S. Part Number 40300-E4600. (priced at $16.20 each). So far, we haven't found anyone that did order them, and receive them. (but I'll bet there is at least one person out there somewhere that did..).

There was also a 5.5"x14" aluminum Road Wheel listed in the early Parts Catalogs, but not FMVSS approved and if put on order - they would always be back-ordered...I tried every year for several years to order a set though our Parts Dept., ... but no luck.

Cost?... depends on the level of perfection you are willing to pay for. In general - a NOS set of "D" hubcaps are now in the $1200.00 to $1400.00 price range. Excellent used... about $175.00 to $200.00 each. Well used - but restorable (not rusted to death and beat up) are usually at least $100.00 each.

The "Z" hubcaps for the 72/73 Z's run about $150.00 each for a set of 4 ($600.00).. used but excellent condition they are around $95.00 to $115.00 each. Of course "restorable" examples are always far less...

Steel wheels - depends on the condition and date stamps. Used 1969 production steel wheels can be $100.00 to $150.00 each (and sometimes you can buy them for ten bucks). The 5" wheels are in the $50.00 to $75.00 range if they are in excellent condition.

FWIW,

Carl B.

Clearwater, FL USA

http://ZHome.com

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However as an interesting side note: - a 5.5"x14" Steel Road Wheel was FMVSS Approved prior to 2 June 1970 for sale by Nissan Motors USA, in the U.S. Part Number 40300-E4600. (priced at $16.20 each). So far, we haven't found anyone that did order them, and receive them. (but I'll bet there is at least one person out there somewhere that did..).
See the attached scan from the Road & Track comparison test of the 240Z, MGB GT, Opel GT and Triumph GT6. (About May, 1970, I think. Corrected issue to July '71.)

post-8596-1415079721249_thumb.png

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The mags that Fun-In-My-Z has shown look totally different than the ones that 26th-Z has pictured. Are the black ones what you are referring to as the "factory steel" and the Fun-In-My-Z just a dealer installed option?

Thanks,

James

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The mags that Fun-In-My-Z has shown look totally different than the ones that 26th-Z has pictured. Are the black ones what you are referring to as the "factory steel" and the Fun-In-My-Z just a dealer installed option?

Thanks,

James

"Fun In My Z" posted a link to a picture of a car with the black steel wheels which are hidden behind the Hubcaps that you see in that picture.

FWIW, the mags (actually aluminum wheels) on the car in the other picture "Fun in my Z" linked to are in fact on "26th Z"'s car. I don't see that "26th Z" posted any pics of mags.

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There was also a 5.5"x14" aluminum Road Wheel listed in the early Parts Catalogs, but not FMVSS approved and if put on order - they would always be back-ordered...I tried every year for several years to order a set though our Parts Dept., ... but no luck.

FWIW,

Carl B.

Carl, do you have a picture of those? I'd be curious to see what they looked like.

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The wheels on 26th in that picture are Japanese spun aluminum 14x6. They were the wheels originally installed by the dealer and they are commonly referred to as "Slots". The black and silver wheel I posted is the orignal steel wheel from 26th. The 'D' hubcaps I posted are actually the later version of the "D" hubcap. Notice on the back, the many closely spaced tabs for gripping the wheel. Earlier versions of this hub cap had less tabs and they were more widely spaced. They had a tendency to fall off.

And one comment about the slang being used: "Mag" is short for magnesium, a common material used for casting wheels - very light weight - and not the best of terms to use for commonly discssing wheels.

Now, the Japanese cars did not get "D" hubcaps because they were not Datsuns. They got this hubcap. The Japanese option wheel originally available was manufacured for Nissan by Kobe Seiko. Here is a racing version in magnesium. You will commonly see this optional wheel style (in aluminum) on the PS30 / Z432.

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That Kobe Seiko wheel that you posted a picture of Chris, I believe is of an optional wheel for the "street version" Z432. However, I do believe that those were the narrower wheels used on the Works rally cars. Your picture is of the 14 by 6j and it was magnesium. The standard Z432 wheels were 14 by 5.5j, and they looked slightly different than the picture of the one that you posted. (Correct me if I am wrong, but I believe that picture is from an old Yahoo Japan auction. I wonder how much they sold for?)

I don't think you would commonly see aluminum Kobe Seiko reproductions on Z's in Japan, but I could be wrong as I have never been there. The aluminum wheels that you are referring to were reproduced by a company I am sure Alan knows of. I am not sure if Kobe Seiko ever made a wheel for the Z's in aluminum.

When I was talking with Matsuo-san, he told me that Kobe Seiko was an outside company that made wheels for Nissan. I wonder what other manufactures' Kobe Seiko made wheels for? Off the top of my head, I know of quite a few wheels that Kobe Seiko made for the S30 both on the street and track. Someday I would love to get a set for my car, but I am sure that a nice set of 14 by 7j works wheels would be worth more than my car. "I got a 260z for my Kobe Seiko wheels!" I will keep dreaming. Hahaha. Take care everyone. I really would love to learn more about these wheels and Kobe Seiko's history with Nissan and other companies(?). Maybe we should start a new thread.

Please correct any information that I have posted as I am not an authority on this.

-Ben :)

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The wheels on 26th in that picture are Japanese spun aluminum 14x6.

Really? I didn't know that US Datsun dealers sourced aftermarket "add-on" wheels from Japan. I thought that all of them were sourced locally. (in the USA). Which company made those Japanese spun aluminum wheel shown in the picture Bill posted?

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The Japanese option wheel originally available was manufacured for Nissan by Kobe Seiko. Here is a racing version in magnesium. You will commonly see this optional wheel style (in aluminum) on the PS30 / Z432.

Hold on, let's get this straightened up before it gets out of hand. The picture that you posted is of a Kobe Seiko 'Maglloy' wheel - which Kobe Seiko manufactured and sold to the general public as their own design from the mid 1970s. This was essentially the same pattern that they manufactured for Nissan ( used as standard equipment on the Fairlady Z432 ) but with some small detail alterations and some added lettering to differentiate it from the OEM Nissan items.

Kobe Seiko made a number of different wheel designs for Nissan to use on the S30-series Z:

*Original 432 wheel. Cast magnesium. Fixing points for a small centre cap. Also quoted as an 'Option' part for the S30 Fairlady Z-L and S30-S Fairlady Z. Manufacturing date was stamped onto each wheel, as magnesium was recognised as having a limited life expectancy for safe road use. Usually painted dull gunmetal colour.

( Chief Designer Yoshihiko Matsuo wanted all models of the S30-series Z to have 4-spoke alloy wheels, but this was overruled for reasons of cost - so only the 432 got them in the end ).

*Works 'Rally Mag' wheel. Cast magnesium. No centre cap fixing points, and 'vented' spoke castings. Manufactured in 6jj x 14 and ( more commonly used ) 7jj x 14. No manufacturing date stamps. Never sold to the general public, and supplied only to Nissan for their 'Works' rally cars. Usually painted dull gunmetal colour.

And then in the mid to late 1970s, after the above wheels were no longer being made for Nissan, Kobe Seiko dusted off the original design and made some modifications. They sold these wheels as:

*Kobe Seiko 'Maglloy' wheel. Cast magnesium ( some also later manufactured in aluminium ) and fully tested / licensed for use on road cars. Clip-on centre caps. Usually painted silver.

Private restoration companies have in the past recreated both the '432' mag and the Works 'Rally Mag' in limited editions ( made from aluminium for longer life ). These pop up from time to time to confuse matters - but the fact that they are aluminium and not magnesium usually indicates their status as replicas.

See pictures below for illustrations of the above three 'types' of Kobe Seiko wheel.

Trivia department: Kobe Seiko were active during the Pacific War years, and manufactured all sorts of castings and forging for the Japanese military. One of their specialities was wheel manufacture, and they made many of the magnesium wheels for Japanese army and navy aircraft - including those on the legendary Mitsubishi A6 'Zero Sen' fighter..........

Alan T.

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Really? I didn't know that US Datsun dealers sourced aftermarket "add-on" wheels from Japan. I thought that all of them were sourced locally. (in the USA).

Maybe they were "sourced" locally ( and from USA-based companies ), but I'll bet that more than half of the wheels sold in the USA by American companies during that period were actually manufactured in Japan - and many of them even designed there too. Japan was a wheel manufacturing powerhouse during that period.

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Maybe they were "sourced" locally ( and from USA-based companies ), but I'll bet that more than half of the wheels sold in the USA by American companies during that period were actually manufactured in Japan - and many of them even designed there too. Japan was a wheel manufacturing powerhouse during that period.
No, actually I sold custom wheels for a living during part of the '70s, and imported wheels of any kind were VERY uncommon, and the few imports that were on the market here were almost exclusively expensive and European. As a purchasing agent, I visited most of the bigger name companies' production facilities - all here in the states.

You see, the obvious quality and production efficiencies of the Japanese not withstanding, the Japanese wheel makers couldn't compete in the commodity wheel market, because they were more regulated than the US aftermarket was in those days. The US-based companies were not required (at that time) to do much if any testing. So it was very easy to crank out cheap aluminum wheels at prices the Japanese makers could not compete with. Therefore 99% or more of the custom wheels fitted by either the dealers or by new owners were of US manufacture.

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See the attached scan from the Road & Track comparison test of the 240Z, MGB GT, Opel GT and Triumph Spitfire. (About May, 1970, I think.)

Hi Arne:

Yieks.. how did I forget that!! Road & Track July of 71.

Now all we have to do is track that car down and see if the wheels are still on it!

thanks,

Carl B.

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No, actually I sold custom wheels for a living during part of the '70s, and imported wheels of any kind were VERY uncommon, and the few imports that were on the market here were almost exclusively expensive and European. As a purchasing agent, I visited most of the bigger name companies' production facilities - all here in the states.

I'm surprised to hear this, Arne.

I grew up in the Sixties and Seventies looking over my dad's shoulder whilst he was reading magazines such as Motor Sport, Autosport and Motoring News, as well as very glamorous 'import' magazines such as 'Hot Rod', 'Popular Hot Rodding' and even 'Hop Up'. There was a period when I would have sold my soul for a set of Halibrands to go on my Thames panel truck ( dreaming that it would become a 'Gasser' ), but a set of Appliance 'dish mags' or Superior 'slot mags' were as close as I could get. I used to go to my local - and not so local - speed shops just to stand open-mouthed and watery-eyed in front of their selection of custom wheels. Many of these were from American companies, but even then I noted that a few of these were wearing 'Made In Japan' stickers on the inside rim....... This was so surprising to me that I made a mental note of it at the time. I also noted that the ones wearing those 'Made In Japan' stickers were often the cheaper designs ( and therefore more likely to be within my reach )......

I even remember ( after later getting into old Porsches and VWs ) that some of the early Empi wheels were made by BRM here in the UK, but were then farmed out to Japanese manufacturers who could make them more cheaply for the USA market.

Do you think it is possible that some of the USA wheel manufacturers were having some of their wheels manufactured ( or part-manufactured ) in Japan, and then finishing / re-packaging them as a 'Made In USA' product? I'm talking about the 1970s here.

The wheel aftermarket in Japan became absolutely HUGE through the mid-Seventies and the Eighties. The array of manufacturers, 'design' and 'character' brands and 'tie-ups' with known brands ( such as March for instance ) was mind boggling. Look through a 1970s Japanese car magazine such as Auto Technic or Car Graphic and you would see what seemed like at least half of the magazine consisting of flashy advertisements for aftermarket wheels.

I find it hard to believe that this did not spill over into the USA market.

Alan T.

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Carl, do you have a picture of those? I'd be curious to see what they looked like.

Hi Stephen:

I don't believe I've ever seen a picture of them.

There is a 5.5"x14" Road Wheel- Aluminium listed in the Parts Catalog as:

40300-N3225 with a drawing of an aluminium wheel, but that drawing shows cars up through 78...

Maybe Chris can check an earlier copy of the parts catalog and see if it's the same..

FWIW

Carl B.

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Do you think it is possible that some of the USA wheel manufacturers were having some of their wheels manufactured ( or part-manufactured ) in Japan, and then finishing / re-packaging them as a 'Made In USA' product? I'm talking about the 1970s here.
It's certainly possible, Alan. Especially for what we would have called the 'export' market. Because the sad truth is that back then very few US-made wheels were of a quality sufficient to meet the standards and testing that was required in pretty much the rest of the civilized world. So if an American wheel company wanted to sell one of their better wheels that might meet standards overseas, they may have needed additional wheels to fill out the line. After all, if Appliance wanted to sell their dish mag (arguably their best product in the day) in the UK, a UK distrbutor may want a more complete line-up before they'd be willing to devote much floor space to them. So an easy way to get a more complete line into that market would be to private label wheels (many Japanese) that already met the standards.

But for us here in the states, we never saw those private-label imports. All we would get would be the cheap US made stuff.

This started changing in the early '80s, partly due to tighter regulation of the aftermarket wheel industry, but primarily due to a So. Cal distributor called Golden Wheel, who started importing Enkei wheels and marketing them as a higher quality premium wheel. (And they were much higher quality than your typical US-made custom wheel.) It didn't take long for all the big US wheel companies to scramble to offer a similar product, in most cases Japanese imports that were re-labeled here in the states.

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