A Wheely Stupid Idea

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We all love big shiny wheels on our pride and joy. Something to set it apart from the rest of the cars on the road. But depending on your vehicle and your location, it’s easy to make mistakes when fitting aftermarket wheels.

Like I did with my old BA Falcon.

Sadly, I no longer own this car and I miss it because I was very attached to it. I delve into this in more detail here if you’re interested.

I bought my BA second-hand, an ex-fleet XT MkII with around 50,000 on the clock. It was in great condition inside and out and was a massive improvement over the old EB it was replacing.

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Quickly I set about ruining modifying the Falcon, starting with having the suspension lowered and replacing the standard XT steel rims with 18-inch FPV Cobra replicas. They were the ones with the white trim to match the white of my car.

Further mods came alone: new exhaust and various interior upgrades to higher spec items included. All the usual basic stuff was covered, like extractors and air intakes. The body upgrades were planned but never eventuated.

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The old BA looking shady.
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Looking back, I’m happy with what I did for the most part. But at one point I upgraded to 20 inch wheels and almost instantly regretted it.

Now, the wheel themselves had nothing wrong with them. I liked how they looked and the tyres I got (no idea exactly what they were now) were pretty good.

But with the roads around Melbourne being in the crappy state they are, it wasn’t long before I noticed the bigger wheels had brought a new problem along with them.

By the time I sold the car the rims had been repaired on three separate occasions, one of which included the repair of two wheels. The damage was dents caused by potholes and other major imperfections in the road surface like drains that were deeply recessed into the street.

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Every one of these incidents happened with me driving sensibly at or below the speed limit. My only mistake was not spotting the bumps soon enough or not having enough room in traffic to avoid them.

On the 18 inch wheels the additional rubber between road and rim seemed to be enough to prevent such damage. When the 20’s went on that all changed.

I’m not complaining about the wheels and I’m not suggesting people shouldn’t buy wheels 20 inches or larger, which is not uncommon these days. On modern cars the giant rims can look pretty awesome.

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But before you do, have a think about the streets you drive on most of the time. Because while big rims look cool, all it takes is poor road maintenance to ruin your day and put a hole in your wallet. Style and practicality cannot always coexist.

For a BA I think I’d max out at 19 inches. I’m willing to give them a try and I think they would do a good enough job of filling the wheel arches. But 20’s? Never again, unless Melbourne gets its act together and fixes the abundance of shoddy roads.

Pretty sure hell will freeze over before then, so I guess my options are either smaller wheels or moving house. Moot points, anyway. First I need to buy another BA and that will require approval from the Minister Of Finance. Wish me luck!

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