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Old 11-22-2008, 09:45 PM   #1  
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Default Educate Yourself: Cool Japanese Wheels (Speedhunters.com)

From the guys over at Speed Hunters...

THE 101>>
COOL JAPANESE WHEELS PT.1

Filed under: Japan, The 101, Mike Garrett, Work, SSR, Wheels, Hayashi Racing, Watanabe, 101 wheels



It's no secret that we talk about wheels a lot here on Speedhunters. I mean they are probably the most important component in how a car looks, right? Some people say that wheels to a car are like shoes to a person, but in my opinion the importance of having decent wheels on a car is more important than the shoes someone is wearing. I came up with the idea of doing individual posts about our favorite wheels from all over the world, but before we do that, I want to just give a quick rundown of some of the most popular Japanese wheels from the early days up until now. What better to start with than the iconic vintage wheels that have remained popular from their introduction all the way to the present?

While a lot of people might have the impression that used JDM wheels are much cheaper in Japan than elsewhere, I don't think that is necessarily true when it comes to the original vintage wheels. Unlike some of later wheels which have not aged well, the old school models continue to be popular and they will only grow more valuable as the years go on. The classic car scene in Japan is booming and strong demand for these wheels has kept prices relatively high. There are still a lot of nice wheels to be found, but don't expect to walk into your nearest Up Garage and come across a set of flawless RS Watanabes on sale for dirt cheap.

Another good thing about these old wheels is that the bolt patterns of nearly all vintage Japanese cars is 4x114.3 which makes searching for wheels quite easy. Just pick the style and sizes, and you're good to go.

Keep in mind that this isn't supposed to a be a definitive wheel guide, just an intro to some of the popular models for those who might not be familiar.



RS Watanabe

How could I not start things off with the RS Watanabe? There is nothing that even comes close to these in popularity for vintage Japanese cars. There are many different variations on the original eight-spoke design, but I will save those details for a later post. It's not just the classic car guys that love Watanabes, I have seen them on nearly every type of Japanese car you can think of, and plenty of foreign cars as well. Whether you have an S30Z, an AE86, or a Mazda Roadster, there is nothing that these wheels don't look good on. I even see minivans and kei cars with RS Watanabes when I go to the grocery store. Heck I recently bought a set of Watanabes for a car that I don't even own yet! That's the appeal that they have.



Hayashi Street

The Hayashi Street might be the second most popular vintage Japanese wheel. There are a few different types of Hayashi Street wheels, but the most popular one is the CR type like the ones seen above. The CR's come in the most aggressive sizes like the radical 15"x10J -25. Even with the recent surge in popularity of classic Japanese cars worldwide, it is still pretty rare to see Hayashi Streets on cars outside of Japan. Fortunately, if you have the means you can still order brand new sets today direct from Hayashi Racing in Japan.



Hayashi Sakura

The Hayashi Racing Sakura wheel is one of the hardest to find and most desirable on the secondhand market. As the name suggests, the design of this wheel was inspired by the famous Japanese cherry blossom leaves. Although used sets are extremely hard to come by, Hayashi Racing has started reproduction of brand new Sakura wheels. I have been to a lot of classic car events in Japan, but the red Kenmeri Skyline seen above is one of just a few cars I have seen sporting a set of Sakuras.



SSR Mk.1

The Speed Star Racing name is legendary when it comes to vintage Japanese wheels and the Mk.1 model was one of the most popular. A lot of kyusha-kai guys in Japan will run Mk.1's in ridiculous widths on their cars. The design on the Mk.1 is quite notable for its lack of any vents or spokes on the face of the wheel. They remind me a lot of the original Centerline wheels in the United States. You can usually find a pretty good deal on a set of Mk.1's on the used parts market.



SSR Mk.II

Another popular SSR wheel is the Mk.II with it's distinct four-spoke face design. Like all of the other original SSR wheels the Mk.II can be had in some extremely aggressive sizes. Mk.II's can be still be ordered brand new direct from SSR along with the rest of the original SSR wheel designs. I really love the way the Mk.II looks on small cars like the Mini or on Roadsters like the MX5.



SSR Mk.III

The Mk.III is my personal favorite of the SSR "Mk. series". Just look at how great that looks! Of course these wheels look fantastic on classic cars, but they also look great on newer compact cars and I have seen quite a few done-up kei cars with Mk. III's. This is truly a timeless wheel design, and many other people must share the same view judging by the prices these things sell for on the used wheel market.



SSR Formula Mesh/Reverse Mesh

Mesh style wheels did not become popular until a little after some of the other wheels in this post, but when it comes to Japanese brand mesh designs, the SSR Formula Mesh and Reverse Mesh is king. These don't pop up quite as much on the '70s era cars, but they are very popular among AE86 and S13 Silvia enthusiasts. You will even see them on a fair amount of front wheel drive Hondas.



SSR Longchamp

Not only is the name "Longchamp" very cool in itself, but the wheels also happen to look cool with their simple six-spoke design and multi-piece construction. The Soarer in the photo above is equipped with a very aggressive set of them. Longchamp wheels are quite common both in Japan and elsewhere and sometimes I am surprised how affordable these wheels can be when you consider how cool they look.



Work Equip

The various models of the Work Equip line are still seen often on cars all over the world. I don't recall seeing a ton of "classic" cars with Equips in comparison to the other wheels seen above, but the Equips are still very popular even among people with later model cars. All of the Tec-Arts AE86 demo cars are "equipped" with aggressive sets of Work Equip 03's and they look amazing with their gleaming polished wheel lips.

Well, that finishes up the first part of my look at iconic Japanese wheels. Next time we will get a little more contemporary.

RS Watanabe: http://www.rs-watanabe.co.jp/index2.htm

SSR: http://www.rd-tanabe.com/lineup/speedstar/index.html

Work Wheels: http://www.work-wheels.co.jp/products/index.php

Hayashi Racing: http://www.hayashiracing.com/index.html

-Mike Garrett

http://speedhunters.com/archive/2008...eels-pt-1.aspx
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Old 11-22-2008, 09:46 PM   #2  
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THE 101>>
COOL JAPANESE WHEELS PT.2

Filed under: Japan, The 101, Advan, Mike Garrett, Work, SSR, Wheels, ame, Enkei, Rays, 101 wheels



Now it's time to continue our look at iconic Japanese wheels with a venture into the world of one-piece racing wheels. Known for their high quality, light weights, and stylish designs, these wheels can be found all over the world and their styles have been imitated time and time again. Even people who are not into Japanese tuning should be familiar with wheels like the Volk TE37 and Advan RS. Besides being found on tuned Japanese cars worldwide, the quality of these wheels is good enough to be used by owners of high end non-Japanese cars like Porsche 911's and BMW M3's, and even Corvette Z06's.

Now let's take a look at some the popular models. Again, this is not supposed to be an end-all wheel guide, but a simple overview of well known models.



Volk Racing TE37

There is no Japanese racing wheel more iconic and popular than the Ray's Engineering Volk TE37. It is one of the oldest wheels of this type and it's ultra lightweight forged construction and timeless six-spoke design have kept this wheel at the top when it comes to popularity. It looks right at home and car's dating from the '60s all the way to 2008 and it can be found on everything from vintage race cars and drift cars to time attack record breakers. I could write several posts alone just on this one wheel. The TE37 looks particularly great in low offset sizing with the concave or "GT-R face". There are also different variations of the original TE37 design like the "cup" and "gravel" versions.



Volk Racing CE28N

Right behind the TE37 in popularity is another Volk Racing wheel, the CE28N. Like the TE37, it comes in tons of different sizes that will fit everything from a Toyota Prius to widebody time attack cars. The Powerhouse Amuse GT1 S2000 seen above is just one of the many cars that the CE28N looks right at home on. Ray's offers the CE28N in a number of different colors, and I don't think there is a single color that doesn't look good on this wheel.



Volk Racing RE30

The RE30 is a more recent addition to the Volk Racing lineup, and since its release a couple years ago, it has become an extremely popular wheel both in Japan and elsewhere. The wheel is seen here on the VARIS Evo5 time attack car. On nearly all of its models, Volk has released special "Time Attack" editions with red wheel lips or other models with machined lips, but personally I think these wheels look better when they are all one color.



Nismo LMGT4 etc.

Another popular wheel made by Ray's Engineering is sold as the Nismo LMGT4 and can be seen on cars like Yoshinori Koguchi's 180SX and the the Nismo Skyline GT-R Z-Tune. The LMGT4 is quite popular for its aggressive five-spoke design and If I am not mistaken, a similar wheel is/was sold by Mazdaspeed. There have also been other similar wheels sold by companies like URAS and Bee*R.



Gram Lights 57 Series

Another popular Ray's Engineering brand is Gram Lights. Gram Lights wheels are generally heavier and cheaper than the Volk wheels, but they still offer high quality construction and good-looking designs. Most recently, the new Gram Lights 57D wheels with their wild colors have become very popular among D1GP teams in Japan. The Gramlights 57 Maximum and 57 Optimise are two of my personal favorites.



Advan RG & RGII

Yokohama's line of Advan racing wheels are also extremely popular worldwide. The six-spoke Advan RG and it's successor, the RGII are some of the most commonly seen Advan wheels. Like the Volk Racing wheels, they are also forged and are offered in some very aggressive sizes. The wide, low offset GT-R face versions of the RGII like the ones seen on the R32 above look awesome on any kind of car.



Advan RS

The Advan RS is another popular part of the Advan wheel line. The RS can be seen on big name cars like the Zero Sports time attack Impreza and Nobu Taniguchi's HKS Altezza drift car. Speaking of HKS, Advan has a tight relationship with them and Advan wheels can be seen on all of the demo and race cars built by HKS. The RS wheel has also become very popular among the BMW crowd in Japan recently.



Advan Model T6

The Model T6 is another six-spoke offering from Advan. It's thicker, flatter spoke design distinguishes it from the RG. The Aristo that Manabu Orido drives in Formula D is rocking a set of these wheels in the attractive dark chrome finish. The wheel in this photo is seen on Yashio Factory Oka-chan's D1 S13 Silvia. Yashio Factory also uses Advan wheels on all of its car drift and time attack projects.



Advan Model T7

The Advan T7 has been around for a long time, and although it is not of my personal favorites, it looks really good in concave offsets. Replicas of this wheel were very popular during the early days of the import movement of the United States, and it seemed like every wheel company out there was selling a copy of this wheel at one point. The car in the photo is the JZA80 Supra MSC/D1SL car with a Celica front end. There are plenty of other great Advan wheels like the TCII and AVS Model 5, but I don't have room here to list all of them.



Work Emotion CR Kai

Work offers some very nice one-piece racing wheels in their Emotion line. The original CR Kai model is the original and one of the most popular, particularly on drift cars. What's not to like about them? They are reasonably priced, have high quality construction, and a very attractive split five-spoke design that is available in some super aggressive sizes and offsets. I am huge fan of these wheels in general and especially love them in white.



Work Emotion XT7 etc.

Work followed up on the success of the CR Kai with additional Emotion models. These included the XD9, the XC8, and the seven-spoke XT7 which is seen here on Haruyama's C35 Laurel D1GP car. The low offset XT7 is one of my favorite wheels especially in the chrome-like finish seen above. I guess you could say that it looks a lot like a seven-spoke version of the Advan Model T6.



SSR Type C

SSR is a little more well known for their old school wheels and multi-piece designs, but they also have the Type C, which is an ultra-light one-piece forged racing wheel. A silver version with a machined lip is sold in the United States as the SSR Competition. It makes a good alternative to the more commonly seen Volk and Advan wheels. SSR has recently introduced a new wheel called the Type F which uses the same construction of the Type C with a new spoke design.



Desmond Regamaster/Spoon SW388

The Russian-made Desmond Regamaster is another popular racing wheel and is known for its simple five-spoke design and lightweight forged construction. A flat black version of this wheel was sold by Spoon Sports in Japan as the SW388 and it is a favorite among Honda enthusiasts worldwide. I have also seen plenty of GT-R's with aggressive sets of white Regamasters and they always look great.



Enkei RPF1

The Enkei RPF1 is an extremely popular wheel thanks to its light weight and affordable price. It's light weight is achieved by a special way of casting. Our own Naoto Suenaga runs these wheels on both his D1 GC8 Impreza (above) and his D1 Street Legal S13 Silvia. All of the wheels in the Enkei "Racing" line offer a lot bang for the buck in both appearance and quality.



AME TM-02

AME Wheels has been working on hard on developing new racing wheels that share casting technology with Enkei. AME's wheels have been appearing on a lot of big name Japanese demo and time attack cars recently including Pro Stock Racing's Nismo 380RS the Feel's FD2 Civic Type R which I featured a while back, and Garage HRS' latest Evo. Like most of these wheels, the TM-02 looks really cool in concave sizes.

The stuff in this post was probably old knowledge for a lot of you, but we thought it would be good to go over some of the popular Japanese racing wheels for those that might not be familiar. Next time I will finish up with a look at the multi-piece designs.

Ray's Wheels: http://www.rayswheels.co.jp/indexe.html

Advan: http://www.advan.com/japanese/index.html

Work Wheels: http://www.work-wheels.co.jp/products/index.php

SSR: http://www.rd-tanabe.com/lineup/ssr/index.html

Enkei: http://www.enkei.com/

AME: http://www.ame-wheels.com/

-Mike Garrett

http://speedhunters.com/archive/2008...eels-pt-2.aspx
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Old 11-22-2008, 09:47 PM   #3  
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THE 101>>
COOL JAPANESE WHEELS PT.3

Filed under: Japan, The 101, VIP, Weds, Mike Garrett, Work, SSR, Wheels, Volk Racing, 101 wheels



We already had a look at some of the popular Japanese "racing" wheels, as well as plenty of vintage Japanese wheels, and now it is time to finish up this "Cool Japanese Wheels" series with a glimpse into the world of high end multi-piece and other "lipped" wheels that can be found on everything from Rauh Welt Porsches' to VIP sedans and wagons. Nearly every Japanese wheel manufacturer offers wheels to this market and new models are appearing all the time. There are so many different models of wheels out there, so as in the other posts I will be sticking to the more well known wheel models in attempt to give an intro for some of the folks who might not be familiar with this stuff.

Well let's get started then.



Work Euroline Series

When it comes to multi-peice "VIP" wheels, the Work Euroline is about as original as it gets, although you can see the style was clearly inspired by high end European designs including in the OEM AMG Mercedes wheels. The Euroline can be found in everything from tiny kei car sizes to giant custom widths and wild offsets for widebody VIP sedans. There are a few different models of the Euroline, but the original Euroline DH is the most well known. In addition to the Work Euroline itself, many other companies have made wheels with a very similar design, The SSR Vienna and Ray's Victrix series come to mind here. Although there are many newer luxury wheel designs out now, the Euroline continues to be a mainstay among VIP and van builders. They also appear on street drift cars quite often.



Work VS Series

Work's VS line of wheels is also very popular and they can be found on all sorts of cars including the Ford Mustang seen in the photo above. The wheel in the photo is the five-spoke VS-KF, a model that is seen often on drift cars. In fact, both of the Mark II's from Team Magician run VS-KF's. Work currently offers the VS-KF in a few different styles, as well as the VS-XX which has a mesh spoke design. Both models can be had in diameters up to 20". Perfect for those late model big body luxury cars.



Work Varianza Series

One of the more recently added lines to Work's catalog is the Varianza series. The wheels seen on the Lexus GS in the photo above are the Varianza F2S. Some of the other lines of that Work has include the LS and Schwert series. Personally, I prefer the Euroline and VS wheels over a lot of these newer designs, but maybe I have just not gotten used to seeing the newer designs yet. The offsets on the newer models also seem to be more conservative than the older wheels, but I guess that mostly reflects the cars that they are going on.



Work Meister S1

Ah yes, the Work Meister. In my opinion one of the most timeless and attractive wheel designs out there. This wheel is available in both two and three-piece versions and the three-piece model is available in sizes up to 18"x15J! If anyone has a photo of some 15J Meisters, I'd love to see it! The universal appeal of this wheel means that it can be seen on everything from VIP sedans to D1GP cars to RWB Porsches'. Like other iconic wheels I have mentioned like the RS Watanabe and Volk TE37, I don't think the Work Meister S1 will ever go out of style.



Weds Kranze Series

Weds Wheels offers a bunch of high end luxury wheels in their Kranze line and the designs range from simple one-piece models to custom multi-piece jobs. The wheel on the Lexus GS in the photo above is the Bazeria which has you covered in sizes all the way up to 20"x12J. Of course wheels like this also can be seen on many European luxury sedans as well as the standard Japanese domestic models. Again, this is further testament to the high quality that is present in nearly all of these Japanese-made wheels.



Weds Borphes

Although it appears that this wheel has been discontinued by Weds (didn't see it in their current catalog), the Weds Borphes is certainly worth a mention here. You probably recognize the car in the photo as the EXE Life Z33 that Antonio featured earlier this year with its set of Borphes' in ultra aggressive 19" fitment and healthy dose of negative camber. Maybe I am just old fashioned, but I think that these older wheel designs are a lot more tasteful than most of the newer stuff that has been coming out over the past couple years. Times change I guess, but at least there is still lots of love for these older wheels.



Volk Racing GT/SF Series

I covered a lot of the Volk Racing wheels in the post about one-piece racing wheels, but Volk Racing also offers a number of high end two-piece wheels including the the GT and SF series. The wheels on the Top Secret R35 GT-R in the photo are the GT-C, a popular model which has been out for quite a while now. The GTF and GT-V are also very popular wheels for larger sports cars like the Z, Skyline, Supra etc. Although these wheels are not as light as the TE37 and CE28N, they offer all of the fantastic quality that Ray's is known for.



SSR Professor SP1

The three-piece SSR Professor SP1 has a very similar design to the Work Meister S1, and to be honest I have a very hard time distinguishing between the two! The standard SP1 is available in widths up to 18"x13J. For smaller cars, there is a version of the wheel called the SP1R which is available in 15" and 16" with widths of up to 10J. The design of the SP1 is just a iconic as the Meister S1. By the way, does anyone have a surefire method of distinguishing the Professor from the Meister at a glance?



SSR Professor MS1

The Professor MS1 is a newer release from SSR and it has already caught on well among car builders. It has the same good quality as the original Professor SP1 but with a new meshface design. The MS1 can be had in sizes all the way up 19"x12.5J and is available in a few different colors. The wheels look a little underwhelming on the V35 Skyline seen above, but they look amazing on other cars like the Common Snapper S30Z which I wrote about on Auto Otaku last year.



Panasport G7-C5C2

The last wheel I want to mention is not as well known as some of the others in this post, but I couldn't help from posting it here because I love it so much. The Panasport G7-C5C2 has to be one of my top five favorite wheels of all time. I just love how It looks like a multi-piece version of the OEM Skyline R32 GT-R wheel. These wheels were made famous on the Sexy Style 180SX from way back and they still look awesome to this day. They also look pretty cool on the Z31 in the photo above! Hopefully I can score a set of these for myself (and a cool car to mount them on) someday.

Well, that's it for my overview of well known and desirable Japanese wheels. In the future we will probably be doing some more in depth stuff on our favorite wheels, but hopefully these articles will hold you over until then.

Work Wheels: http://www.work-wheels.co.jp/products/index.php

Weds Wheels: http://www.weds.co.jp/

SSR Wheels: http://www.rd-tanabe.com/lineup/ssr

-Mike Garrett

http://speedhunters.com/archive/2008...eels-pt-3.aspx
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Old 11-22-2008, 09:59 PM   #4  
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sticky?

great thread :D
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Old 11-22-2008, 11:13 PM   #5  
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i think i was more impressed by all the bbk's than i was the wheels.
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Old 11-22-2008, 11:27 PM   #6  
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the lip on that porsche with the meisters is rediculloooous.
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Old 11-22-2008, 11:47 PM   #7  
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:D
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Old 11-23-2008, 01:32 AM   #8  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by checho10
sticky?

great thread :D
+1
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Old 11-23-2008, 01:44 AM   #9  
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great thread!!
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Old 11-23-2008, 01:51 AM   #10  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hat_Trick_Hokie
Look at all those Super Advans! I wish I had a set of every color....I could pull them off


Good stuff Eric!
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Old 11-23-2008, 02:52 AM   #11  
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awesome thread! Sticky please!
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Old 11-23-2008, 03:29 AM   #12  
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Watching this one. Wheel **** FTW!
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Old 11-23-2008, 05:20 AM   #13  
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LMAO @ wheel ****. I totally agree hahahaha
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Old 11-23-2008, 05:30 AM   #14  
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aw... no ame love?
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Old 11-23-2008, 05:54 AM   #15  
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There were AME's in the list..
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Old 11-23-2008, 07:00 AM   #16  
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oh wow completely missed that. but still, it should be "there was an AME in the list..."
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Old 11-23-2008, 08:31 AM   #17  
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excellent thread AME's a bit more known for their "luxury" line...but in the market of luxury wheels, it seems dominated by Work at the moment.
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Old 11-23-2008, 10:17 AM   #18  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hat_Trick_Hokie


Work Emotion CR Kai

Work offers some very nice one-piece racing wheels in their Emotion line. The original CR Kai model is the original and one of the most popular, particularly on drift cars. What's not to like about them? They are reasonably priced, have high quality construction, and a very attractive split five-spoke design that is available in some super aggressive sizes and offsets. I am huge fan of these wheels in general and especially love them in white.

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Old 11-23-2008, 01:49 PM   #19  
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very nice indeed
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Old 11-23-2008, 02:21 PM   #20  
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Great thread. Nice wheels. Sticky it.
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