Chariot of the Damned Update: Work wheels, for reals.
Wheels are the most important part of a car for two reasons:
They're the most important link in the chain of command that puts the power to the pavement
They're what define a car's personality.
I put a lot of thought into selecting wheels for the Chariot of the Damned. I started thinking about them as far back as 2010, when I first traded an envelope stuffed full of cash for the COTD's keys. I remember having work the next day and staying up late, hunting through Google image search looking at page after page of wheels.
My main inspirations have been deep dish "a-style" wheels like the SSR SP1 Professors that Naki San from RWB uses on a lot of his builds.
Mad Mike's RX7 is also a car that stood out in my mind, specifically the black and grey colour schemed Work Equips.
I wanted a set of wheels that would match my car's personality while taking inspiration from these builds.
Since buying a set of low offset 10/12X18 wheels brand new is out of my price range I decided to buy a set of used three piece wheels and then flip the barrels to lower the offset.
The wheels looked sick. They looked amazing, but you know me.
You know that it's not enough for this car to just be crazy. It's got to be Amanda Bynes circa 2013 crazy.
I got in touch with work wheels and explained I needed a pair of stepped 18 x 4" (for the front) and 6.5" (for the rear) barrels to widen my Work Meister's. the Work Wheels representative said they could supply them, but as always, there was a catch. The first problem was that the barrels would have to come from Japan.
"No big deal!" I thought, since the deathsquad team has been importing parts from Japan for awhile.
The second problem: The wheel barrels were backordered, still being built, and wouldn't be ready to ship out for four months.
I was told the new barrels would be here by November 2012.
November came and went.
I was told that the shipping container was delayed in L.A. and that it would be just a little longer until the barrels and I would be together. I kept sending the occasional email and hoped they would arrive soon, but with the holidays and going full tilt on the engine swap, I was so busy that I didn't notice the email with a tracking number quietly slide into my junk email folder.
A few days after Christmas a box showed up at my door without warning. I didn't think much about it assuming this was just another delayed gift from one of our relatives. While I was calmly signing for the package making small talk with the delivery driver, I noticed the logo on the side of the box:
I snatched the box from the driver, slammed the door and ripped it open like Hannibal Lector after a bath salts buffet. I put the rear barrels on right away and chucked the wheel outside to get a good look at it.
Ice ice baby.
The rear wheels looked good, but they didn't have enough attitude to match the rest of the car. Remember, we're going for Amanda Bynes crazy here.
I started putting together ideas testing what was probably too many paints before I settled on black mica:
I was really happy with how they turned out. They look gloss black from far away, but get a little closer and the sparkles pop.
The centers were done but there was still something missing.
Looking at these photos with the Chariot Of The Damned sticker on the wheel, something clicked in my head so I kept adding stickers.
I wanted to make sure the layout of the stickers wouldn't come across looking like a sticker bomb, so I really took my time applying them. With the paint painted and the stickers sticked, the only thing left to do was assemble the wheels.
On a Friday night while normal people are out having fun, I was alone tightening wheel bolts with a couple of tiny wrenches. I'm not sure when it was, but at some point I looked down and realized the wheels I had been dreaming about for almost two years were finally real. When bought these wheels in 2011 they looked like this:
And now, Ladies and gentlemen of the internet, they look like this:
I know Will, that was my reaction too.
The next day I made sure to test fit the wheels. The fronts are 10" wide with a gnarly low offset so I had to double check if the tires would fit.
With no tires on the front wheels, the COTD looked like the UFO's Will Smith shot down in Independence Day.
The front tires shouldn't have been difficult to have mounted. The first shop said they would have to take the wheels to a special warehouse across town and leave them there over the weekend to 'get their guys on it'. I couldn't have my babies out of my sight for that long so I went elsewhere and after a couple of days and some calls I had them put on.
The 245-40-18's gave a perfect amount of stretch allowing me to stuff the ultra low offset wheels so far up in the fender that they were tucking.
I immediately slammed the suspension and the COTD laid it's frame on the ground without a single complaint. For once, things had gone right the first time and I felt relieved.
The low offset means that now I don't have to worry about the wheel contacting the suspension components or steering rack when I'm at full lock. This is good for drifting because it allows me to squeeze more angle out of the car with future mods.
With the car lifted slightly I have a nice, functional ride height and a liveable amount of fender gap that I can get rid of with a 10-12mm spacer. This is perfect for when I'll want to drive the balls off this thing.
If you want to reverse barrel your three piece wheels like I did then click here to download this beginner's guide PDF:
The guide contains diagrams, instructions and photos to walk you though the basics of wheel assembly and barrel flipping. This guide will be updated and expanded over time so be sure to grab the next version when it comes out!
For those of you last week that emailed in your tire size guesses, we have a winner!!
Bryan Boeldt was the first to correctly guess 285/40/18 as the rear tire width and is the winner of a free Certified Evil sticker!
There were a lot of really close guesses in the 275-315 range so I'm sending everyone who emailed in a 15% discount on stickers from the Death Squad store! Thanks again for emailing in your answers guys you absolutely killed it!
The next update is all about the complete fucking nightmare that was getting the rear tires mounted.