Top Gear Philippines

The last photo of "Project '76" was of its engine running smooth, but without any wheels. In the meantime, I asked my younger brother Enrico to let the engine run for at least five minutes a day--and to keep on filling the radiator with water. That problem I will talk about in a different blog post!

It wasn't easy finding wheels in Baguio. Even the most basic steel rims with the proper PCD measurement (I needed a 114.3 PCD) are hard to come by. Most modern cars with four stud bolts have a measurement of 100 PCD. I decided to head down to Manila to find a set of wheels, any wheels that fit!

It was on the road that I came across the shops that I wrote about in a previous blog post. In Pangasinan I was actually willing to settle for a really crappy set of Enkei mesh copies that weighed a ton and were in a bad state. They were so yucky I didn't even bother taking photos.

Right when I was about to fork over the cash, I realized that I was being stupid for choosing a wheel that I wouldn't be happy with. "Banana" type wheels always looked good to me, but I wasn't sure if I'd even find a set. Steelies are hard enough to find, so what about "bananas." Heck, I hardly even see them on cars nowadays. Understand that I was really desperate (and impatient) at this point. I wanted to drive the car, dammit!

Maybe there were more wheel shops down the way. I chose not to take SCTEX, even if it meant longer travel time and driving over bad roads. I didn't realize then that I made the right choice, because I was resigned to not finding the "right" wheels for a very long time. I even told my sister Joy who was with me at the time that I will not buy a set unless they are bananas.

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Then, in San Rafael, Tarlac, I spotted (from the corner of my eye) the most beautiful set of rims I had ever seen. They weren't even on display at the front of the wheel shop. I pulled over right away and asked the how much they cost. They cost the same as those crappy wheels in Urdaneta! Sold! Here's the booty:

Stashed in my living room. I love having car stuff lying around the house.

They are the real deal. What a steal!

No dents or bengkong, and the only damage is a small chip on the lip. Original Enkei Compe-8s, baby! Made in Japan and light as a feather.

I am real proud of these wheels. I think the color is the reason why nobody bought them, and why they were relatively inexpensive. You know, I came across a thread in Old School Pilipinas where somebody was selling a brand-new set for P60,000! I feel so lucky. Thus, I'm keeping them green, no matter what anybody says. And besides, I love the color!

The lesson? Don't settle for crap. And, keep the faith. You might get lucky. Again, I think that there was somebody up there helping me out. Did you dig Banana rims, too, Dad? Hehe. Finding the right wheel isn't easy, especially for older cars. I'm so glad I landed the style that I wanted. They may not be Watanabes, but I don't mind at all.

You guys ever experience something like this? If so, feel free to leave a comment! Until the next post--when my green bananas are mounted on The Wagon.

Paulo Rafael Subido
Editor in Chief
Top Gear Philippines' editor in chief is a driving addict, but with a taste for old-school metal. He loves spending the day in the talyer, working on his cars as a form of relaxation.
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