As someone far wiser and more scholarly than us once famously (probably) said, ‘wheels maketh the motor,’ and rarely has a truer word been said when it comes to messing about with cars. The wheels you opt to bolt to your car can have a disproportionately huge impact on how it looks and drives, which, as anyone who’s ever fitted wheels to a car they were never intended to go on will tell you, is half the fun.
Today is a big day in the evolution of Project Kaiser, our quest to turn a slightly tired W108 Mercedes into a certified show-stopper via the addition of an LS3 V8 ‘crate motor,’ Air Lift Performance air suspension, a custom interior (click here to learn a little more) and countless other tweaks and personal touches; it’s the day we finally get to fit its custom 17in steels and see how they look with the car at a reduced ride height.
These steels actually come from US Wheel and were made to our own offset specifications, meaning they fit the big Merc’s arches like the proverbial glove. They’re actually a Chevy PCD, something which is no longer an issue as mid ’90s Jaguars sport an identical stud pattern and we’ve fitted the front and rear axles from an X300 shape XJ.
The steels are a stunning thing to behold, no doubt about it, though it’s safe to say the trims we’ve opted to apply to them have well and truly stolen the show. These are the original Mercedes caps of course, just cut down from their former 14in diameter, spun, then neatened up and polished to within an inch of their life. We’ve even invested in a special tool to help us spray the iconic Mercedes three-pointed star onto each one.
Actually fitting the cut-down Mercedes trims to the US Wheel steels involved the creation of a special jig and a quartet of special mounting rings, and you can read a more detailed explanation of the process here.
The newly built wheel assemblies have since been blasted, zinc metal sprayed and powder-coated, before the relevant parts were either polished or painted in the same hue as the rest of the car, Malbec Black.
We’ll leave it to you guys to judge how the big Merc looks on its new wheels, though we must admit to being chuffed with how they’ve turned out.