RS Watanabe has revealed their latest wheel design, and it’s a gorgeous revival of the famed Toyota Works racing wheels of the 1960s and 1970s. The classic four-spoke crosshairs pattern is back, and is now available in a 15-inch size.
Though the casual observer might easily mistake these for the TOM’s Igeta, both are actually derived from Toyota’s works programs. The first use of this basic design was found on the 1968 Toyota 7 race car, but formed in a 5-spoke pattern for its 5-lug wheels.
Later, when Toyota began campaigning cars like the 4-lug TA22 Celica, TE27 Corolla Levin and KP47 Starlet in touring and rally racing, the factory works cars would arrive with the iconic four-spokes.
The original wheels came in two basic types, one with bead-lock and one without, but all were magnesium. Sadly, the alien-like substance is inherentliy unstable, and as a result the wheels wouldn’t stand the test of time time or exposure to the elements. That, and their tendency towards combustion made them unsuitable for any application other than racing.
When Toyota works driver Tachi Nobuhide branched off on his own as a racer and became one of the founding members of TOM’s in 1974, he wanted to make an aluminum alloy version of the famous racing wheel that was usable for the street — and the TOM’s Igeta was born.
Over the years, the Igeta became so popular that it became synonymous with the design and their true origins as the Toyota factory wheel faded into history. It’s almost hard to believe, as the design looks modern enough to hail from the 80s, but it’s actually 47 years old. Now, RS Watanabe is bringing them back in four sizes:
15 x 7.5 -4
15 x 8.5 -6
15 x 9.0 -13
15 x 10.0 -25
Each will cost you ¥100,000 plus tax (USD$833). Orders will be taken starting in December. You can contact firstname.lastname@example.org to place one.
Images courtesy of RS Watanabe, Toyota 7 courtesy of Morio, Toyota Celica courtesy of Toyota Team Europe history.