Here’s what modern cars would look like with their predecessors’ wheels

There’s a new Facebook page that seems to have nothing but photochops of new cars with old wheels. Specifically, the images on the aptly named Unnecessary Wheel Swaps are of modern vehicles wearing the wheels of their predecessors. The ND Mazda Miata, for example, looks a bit friendlier with the 7-spoke rims of the NA. It works surprisingly well, even though these wheels would have to be enlarged to 16 inchers at least. Here are some others.

A modern Honda Civic with AP1 S2000 wheels doesn’t look quite as good as the Miata. The wheels are kind of plain, and when mixed with the messy styling of a 2020 Civic it makes the package looks like a cheapo econobox.

On the other hand, a new Acura NSX with the wheels from an 2002 and up NA2 NSX looks pretty darn good. I don’t know if they’re better than the wheels it comes with, but they’re nice.

An R35 Nissan GT-R with the wheels from an R32 Skyline GT-R Vspec II isn’t half bad, either. These wheels would have to be gigantic, but the lesson here is that light split-spoke BBS-style wheels are a pretty timeless design.

Likewise, the Enkei RPF1 looks good on anything. Technically, this isn’t an OEM Honda wheel, but it was such a popular aftermarket and racing option for Hondas that we’ll let it slide .

The original Lexus IS 300 had one of the best OEM wheel designs of the era, and so it’s only natural those 17-inchers would look good expanded to 20 inches on a Lexus LFA. They give the car a more solid feel and seems to reduce the body mass.

We have no empirical evidence, but it’s probably a truism that for every old wheel that looks good on a new car, a new wheel  ends up ruining the look of an old car.

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11 Responses to Here’s what modern cars would look like with their predecessors’ wheels

  1. BlitzPig said:

    Big improvements for the most part. Today’s over styled, directional wheels are frankly, hideous. Honda, I’m looking at you here.

  2. CycoPablo said:

    Coming: Aerodisks
    Going: Diamond-cuts

  3. vic said:

    Yes, agree with BlitzPig and Lee L.
    Some new styles are OK, but most are over worked. Too busy.
    Plus, not really understanding the fascination of total black wheels. Gloss or matte. Just looks like decades of brake dust. :o)

    • Mark F Newton-John said:

      そーです!Spend thousands on black wheels, can’t see them, and you can’t tell them from painted over Pep Boys hubcaps…

  4. Ant said:

    Honda E works great, but not convinced by the rest of them. I think the trouble is most OEM wheels in particular are very era-specific. I’ve seen a few non-Miatas on daisies before (the mk1 Daihatsu Sirion really suits them) but stick them on a 30-year newer car and they look out of place. The NSX up there has a similar issue to my eyes.

    One I’ve seen that does work are early FD RX-7 wheels on the NC Miata. The rounded spokes look great and the size is about right too with some chunky-sidewalled tyres.

    But yeah, gimme that E on RPF1s…

  5. I think the car that benefits most from the simpler wheel styles of past models is the NSX. The current rims are the epitome of over-styling that Blitz and Lee find so offensive. The clean appearance of the later Gen 1 NSX rims really lets the design of the car itself shine.

  6. Mark F Newton-John said:

    Corolla TE27 SR5 steelies on a MZEA12 XSE hatchback would be, ehhh, not as good.

    • nlpnt said:

      They’d look like snow-tire wheels. T/AE72 Deluxe pale silver-painted steelies with the black trim pieces around the lug nuts would look more intentional. It’d look good with Smoked Paprika or Oxide Bronze which are almost ’80s-retro colors and with Rival Blue but less strikingly so with the grayscales.

      For that matter the Civic looks to me like someone bought an LX and some older take-offs (or generic/tasteful aftermarket 5-spoke alloys) for their summer tires, with plans to use the stock steelies with snow tires.

  7. Mark F Newton-John said:

    Doesn’t that LFA look like a ZZT231Celica with a body kit? 😉

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