Enkei Al’Vita brings back an aluminum “steelie” that brought back an actual 1950s steelie

Enkei has revived a classic wheel design that looks like a steelie but is actually cast aluminum. The original Enkei Al’Life debuted in 1990 with the same “looks like steel but lighter” concept. The remake is called the Al’Vita, appropriately, as vita is Latin for “life”. It’s equally fitting that Enkei’s hero car is an ND Roadster — the Al’Life could’ve been fitted to any car with a 4×100 bolt pattern, but was mainly created for the NA Roadster.

When the original Mazda Roadster came out in 1989 it was a revelation. The modern take on a classic roadster breathed new life into a segment that seemed all but dead. The beauty of the Roadster/Miata/MX-5 was that it could be almost anything. Order it in BRG and imagine yourself motoring along hedge-lined B-roads in Old Blighty. Choose Classic Red for instant teleportation to the Italian wine country. Mariner Blue was literally devised to evoke classic California license plates. Slam a white one on any number of old school 14-inchers and bomb through the elevated expressways of Tokyo.

Aftermarket accessories for the Miata continue to pour in from around the globe. Miata-heads all know the Pit Crew kit, but there are also ways to convert it into a Bugeye Sprite, a Corvette Stingray, or Cosmo Sport. The Enkei Al’Life was built for lightness, but designed as tribute to the steel wheels of a Triumph Spitfire. A period ad depicts the Al’Life as the perfect wheel to put on your Miata for touring America in the spirit of John Steinbeck.

However, many buyers didn’t realize the inspiration and the Enkei Al’Life became its own unique thing. Decades later, after years on the used parts market, these wheels are sometimes repurposed nowadays on retro-designed kei cars, as their 14-inch diameters and 4×100 PCD makes them the ideal size.

The Enkei Al’Vita rekindles a 90s symbol of the Mazda Roadster’s iconic status, which is itself a homage to a roadster from the 1950s. This time around, the only size available is 16-inch in order to properly fit the ND Roadster. It’s available in two colors, Sparkle Silver (left) and Hyper Silver (right) and one size only: 16x7J +38, 4×100 PCD. Each wheel costs ¥44,550 ($305 USD) and will be available in Japan in October 2023. As a side note, this is the second steel-look aluminum wheel to be revived this year. The first being the Bridgestone Super R.A.P. announced at the Tokyo Auto Salon.

Images: Enkei, YJA

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