Ok, the latest addition to the project are a new set of Watanabes, and here's why.
The front pair of watanabes that came with the car are cracked. Quite a few of the spokes have a little fracture right in this same spot.
This actually isn't the first set of Watanabes which have cracked on me. The set I had on the MX5 did it too, but those were the "race only" magnesium ones, and at the time I thought that hey, it figures.
But it would seem that it happens to the aluminium ones too. I don't know if it's a difference in the castings between production years, or if it's core shift from poor quality control, but you can see that the cracked wheel on the right is a bit thinner in the casting than the new one on the left. The new wheel is about 1.5mm thicker-walled in the spoke.
The rear pair seem to be ok. The front pair are the "A" model eight-spoke Watanabe, which is the most common kind. The rears are the "R" model, which are generally only in much wider sizes, and the spoke is a lot thicker at the spot where the A's crack.
Having to get new wheels was a dark cloud with a silver lining though. The front cracked wheels are 14x7 +8 offset, which wasn't enough dish/offset to fill out the flares at the front, so the previous owner fitted these 25mm thick KICS spacers.
Say what you like about spacers, but the key thing to me, is that a 25mm spacer is a wasted opportunity to fit wheels with 25mm more dish!
So the new wheels are 14x7.5 -3, which means they stick out 11mm more than the old ones did.
...and without the spacer in place, the new wheels will stick out 12mm less than the old ones did with the spacer. Since the old wheels actually protruded past the flare, I think these new ones will be a good compromise.
The other thing I wanted to do was spruce up the centre console a little, with its torn and old shift gaiter.
The gaiter is vinyl, which is clipped to the plastichrome trim surround.
...which is sadly broken (and I couldn't find a new one in Japan)
I did however, managed to track down a new shift gaiter...
And clipped in place, with the plastichrome surround reinforced with some tape, it doesn't look too bad...I'll definitely be on the lookout for a new trim surround the next time I'm in Japan tho
Here's another weird Hako-ism....the centre console is only bolted down at the front. At the back, there is no facility to screw it down to the tunnel at all. So when you rest your arm on the console it does feel quite wobbly.
So they have these in Japan, which are springs which tie the console down to this convenient little hole in the seat mount. Works brilliantly, I'm not sure if it's a factory solution or an aftermarket one though. Pretty expensive little springs at $15ea
At the moment, a pair of the new wheels are being refinished in gold to match the rear wheels, and the good samaritan who's offering me the new inlet manifold and I keep missing each other. It'll happen soon though, and then the manifold can be ported out to match the head and we'll be in business again.
No Kev, you are eating a duck fetus.