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
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