WHEEL LIFE

The mod­ern take on the Fuchs-look wheel has never man­aged to get the ‘dish’ of the wheel quite right, un­til now. En­ter Group 4 Wheels’ deep-dish 18in Fuchs-look wheel. We reckon it looks the busi­ness

911 Porsche World - - Contents - Words: Steve Ben­nett Pho­tog­ra­phy: Antony Fraser

Look­ing at and fit­ting-up Group 4 Wheels’ new deep dish Fuchs-look wheel to a va­ri­ety of Porsches

If, as they say, clothes maketh the man, then surely wheels maketh the car? They are a crit­i­cal fac­tor to the look, Porsche or oth­er­wise, and so easy to get wrong. For­tu­nately for us Porsche en­thu­si­asts, we have plenty of clas­sic de­signs to choose from, both mod­ern and from the back cat­a­logue, but there is one wheel that dom­i­nates and that's the clas­sic Fuchs de­sign, which was Porsche's sig­na­ture rim from from 1963 right up to 1989, when the G-se­ries mor­phed into the 964, which, thanks to a whole new off­set had to make to with the more mod­ern, but rather less in­spir­ing D90 wheel, that had first seen ac­tion on the 928 and 944.

And that was that for the Fuchs it ap­peared. Fac­tory GT and RS model 964s and 993 got BBS or Speed­line three-piece wheels, and then the water-cooled cars came along, with a whole new wheel brief. Fuchs were clas­sic, with no place in the mod­ern world and out of the loop for the best part of 20-years. But then came the whole retro mod­ern look and the Fuchs look was back as first 964s got the back­date treatment and then even the water-cooled 996/997 gen­er­a­tion as typ­i­fied by Porsche's own 997 Sport Clas­sic and in the tun­ing/af­ter­mar­ket world with RPM'S CSR range. From be­ing out in the cold the Fuchs de­sign was back, with fac­tory and af­ter­mar­ket ver­sions to fit all vari­ants of Porsche.

Ob­vi­ously the clas­sic mar­ket is catered for, largely with orig­i­nal wheels at ever more strato­spheric prices, but the mod­ern mar­ket, with its need for big­ger wheels and dif­fer­ent off­sets, has long been trick­ier. It's the off­set bit that is sig­nif­i­cant here. Think of a clas­sic, wide Fuchs wheel and it's all about three defin­ing fac­tors: the black, five-spoke, pe­tal cen­tre, the an­odised sil­ver rim and the dish of the wheel. The wider the wheel, the deeper the dish and – frankly – the cooler the look. Deep dish Fuchs are all about rac­ing 911s – RSS, RSRS, Tur­bos et al. The dish of the clas­sic Fuchs is dic­tated by the off­set of the wheel, which in turn is dic­tated by the po­si­tion of the wheel hub in the wheel arch. In a mod­ern Porsche the po­si­tion of the hub dic­tates a much flat­ter wheel face, with barely any dish, which is why mod­ern Fuchs-look wheels – whether fac­tory, or af­ter­mar­ket – have never seemed quite right. Un­til now, that is...

Now nor­mally we don't get too in­volved in

projects and con­cepts, but we couldn't help but be swept along with this mod­ern take on the Fuchs, thanks largely to the en­thu­si­asm of Jonathan Sage of Group 4 wheels. Jonathan has al­ready built up a rep­u­ta­tion for low vol­ume, high-qual­ity repli­cas like his Cam­pag­nolo vari­ants for clas­sic 911s and Fer­raris. Like us, he knew that the mod­ern Fuchs-look wheels just didn't look right, but to­gether with wheel designer, Chris Bi­esty, he had the means and the vi­sion to do some­thing about it and, a cou­ple of years ago, we were privy to some CAD images that re­ally fired us up.

Jonathan knew that there was no way of changing the off­set on the wheel, but he fig­ured that if the shape of the wheel cen­tre was al­tered, then a dish ef­fect could be achieved. He did this by ef­fec­tively bend­ing the top of the spoke of the wheel back, thereby creat­ing the dished look, with­out al­ter­ing the off­set. Sim­ple, but very ef­fec­tive and also giv­ing the wheel a dis­tinct and dif­fer­ent take on the Fuchs look.

Draw­ing the wheel is one thing, in­vest­ing in tool­ing and man­u­fac­tur­ing is an­other. Get­ting ill for the best part of 18-months is also an­other thing, but Jonathan was out of ac­tion and the wheel project was on ice un­til he re­cu­per­ated. Car­ing souls that we are, we had wondered why he'd gone a bit quiet, but when he got back in touch, we re­solved to help out in any way we could.

We dis­cussed op­tions and Jonathan reck­oned that initially an 18in wheel (8.5in front/10in rear) would sat­isfy de­mand from 964 right up to 997 ap­pli­ca­tions plus, of course, Boxster and Cayman, 944, 968 and even 928. Way to go. Wheel designer, Chris Bi­esty (ex Com­po­mo­tive and now with his own B-star Wheels Ltd), drew the wheel for the man­u­fac­turer. The orig­i­nal Fuchs de­sign was never con­ceived to be par­tic­u­larly light­weight, and that fol­lows in its mod­ern it­er­a­tion, but never the less up to date CAD de­sign al­lows for strength to be added in all the right ar­eas, while keeping weight to a min­i­mum. As such, the Group 4 wheel weighs in at 10.7kg front and 11.3kg rear, which is lighter than, say, an equiv­a­lent sized 996 GT3 split-rim BBS. Well, there's no point in adding weight is there?

Jonathan has the wheels man­u­fac­tured in Italy, us­ing top grade mo­tor­sport alu­minium and in the same fac­tory that many OE man­u­fac­tur­ers use, plus other af­ter­mar­ket man­u­fac­tur­ers, like OZ. The cast­ing and

Deep dish Fuchs are all about rac­ing 911s – RSS, RSRS, Tur­bos et al

ma­chin­ing is state-of-the-art and the re­sults do rather speak for them­selves, and when Jonathan fired the first pics over of the com­pleted wheels, straight from the fac­tory, we were com­pletely bowled over. There is no ques­tion that they look ab­so­lutely right and eas­ily the best mod­ern in­ter­pre­ta­tion of the Fuchs wheel yet.

In­flu­enced by the var­i­ous colour op­tions of the RS mod­els, Jonathan had an ini­tial batch of wheels made up with var­i­ous coloured cen­tres, plus, of course, the more clas­sic op­tion of black and the mod­ern favourite that is an­thracite. The next job was to throw them at as many dif­fer­ent Porsches as pos­si­ble, a job that was made easy thanks to Paul Stephens and his ever eclec­tic stock, plus a cou­ple of 911&PW staff ma­chines in the shape of ed­i­tor Ben­nett's 996 C2 and Dep Ed Fraser's 986 Boxster. And the re­sults? Well, see for your­self. Gold cen­tres on a hot-rod 964? That works. Black on a 964 RS in­spired C2 in Mar­itime Blue? Awe­some. Black again on Ben­nett's 996 and Fraser's Boxster (see Projects p106)? Both were vis­i­bly moved at the vis­ual ef­fect. Colours? All looked good on a white 964 in an RS way, while an­thracite worked nicely on wheel designer, Chris Bi­esty's, 986 Boxster. Green on a yellow 968? Well, per­haps not quite...

We've en­joyed be­ing part of this project and the wheels are avail­able as of now. In­deed some have al­ready been sold via word of mouth and pre-pro­duc­tion pics, with the first set – in gold – go­ing to the owner of a 964 hot-rod, who was less than keen on the £6000 he was quoted to get a set of gold cen­tred BBS split-rims re­furbed. Which brings us neatly to per­haps the best bit of all: the price. In a world that seems to have ad­di­tional tax on any­thing Porsche re­lated, sim­ply be­cause, some­where along the line it's be­come ac­cept­able for Porsche own­ers to be fi­nan­cially rogered, Jonathan has priced his wheels at an as­ton­ish­ingly rea­son­able £1250+VAT for black or an­thracite cen­tre wheels, or £1450+VAT for coloured cen­tres. Even in­clud­ing a set of de­cent N-rated boots, you could trans­form the look of your car for not much more than £2000.

We don't think he'll be able to make and sell them fast enough...

There is no ques­tion that they look ab­so­lutely right

Fit­ment in 18in, with 8.5in front and 10in rear is from 964 on­wards. Black cen­tred wheel looks per­fect on this low­ered 964 RS looka­like

Left and right: Any colour you like. Jonathan has con­cen­trated largely on RS style colours to il­lus­trate the colour po­ten­tial/pal­ette. He pre­dicts that black and an­thracite will likely be the most pop­u­lar

Suits you sir! Gold cen­tres on one of Paul Stephens’ retro rods works with white and the gold de­cals

OK, so it could do with be­ing a lit­tle lower, but ex­pect these wheels to fly on 996 retro builds

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.