Is there an easier and faster way to completely change the look of a car than fitting a different set of wheels? I don’t think so. Choose the right set and it can really bring everything together. Get one aspect wrong though – the style, the sizing, the colour – and it can ruin the whole package. This is why I put a lot of thought into the purchase of the sedan’s newest set of wheels, and thanks to that I think I finally have it just right.
Many knew but a lot still didn’t – all of this time, even though the Focus has been on the Tarmacs it has actually been on winter tires as well. That’s because last fall I made the Tarmacs the car’s winter shoes and it wasn’t until last week when they were replaced with new summers. Although, given how quickly and drastically Calgary’s weather can change, running winters all year long may not be the worst idea after all…
With the fitting of the new wheels though I thought it’d be the perfect time to take a quick look back at the car’s previous sets and see how I wound up with what it has now.
As fitted from the factory, the sedan originally sat on 16″ wheels. I’ll be honest and say I did not like them at all when I bought the car but I knew they’d wind up being just winter wheels anyway, and otherwise the car was optioned exactly as I wanted it. They wound up being used as winters for a few seasons and were then retired. I still have them and their winter tires but they just sit in storage now. Maybe they’ll come in handy for the hatch someday but I don’t see them going back on the sedan unless I just need something to roll the car around on while working on it. They’re just so tiny….but I did grow to like the styling in the end.
The first set of wheels I bought for the car were OEM Volvo Pegasus wheels (aka Volvo Rs). They wound up becoming rather popular in the Mk3 community and for good reasons; they’re affordable, relatively easy to find, and they really look good on the cars. I had these for the summers of ’12 and ’13 and then sold them help fund the slight makeover the car went through for 2014. I am still a big fan of these wheels and wouldn’t mind another set someday, but these were 17s and I would want the 18s this time around.
While I still owned the Rs, for a week it wore Mario’s old black Varrstoens when we traded wheels for fun. I just couldn’t go with replicas though, so I was soon back on my Rs. I know many people (especially in the Focus community, due to our slightly odd bolt pattern) run replicas and to each his own, but they just weren’t for me.
After the Rs came the set of wheels that I consider almost impossible to beat – the Tarmacs. Specifically, the set that originally belonged to Dallas Hinman (coneklr). He sold them to Mario who very (very, very, very) briefly had them, and then I bought them. I’ve had many offers from individuals wanting to buy them from me since but I don’t think I can ever let these go. They suit the car just way too well in my opinion.
Last fall I made the Tarmacs winters because I picked up a set of Gram Lights for summer use. Oddly enough, it turned out the set I bought was the exact set that was reserved for Mario when the original group buy took place. When he decided against them they went to an ST owner in the US, and then I wound up buying them less than a year later when they went up for sale.
After briefly trying out the Gram Lights though, I knew that I couldn’t stray from white wheels for the sedan. The Gram Lights went on to live on the hatch of course and they work much better with its colour scheme. With them no longer available for the sedan, it was time to look for something else and I knew just where to look.
This time around I had the ability to get something which I have never had before, and that was a set of brand new aftermarket wheels. A set no one else has owned, no one else has used, and that was in perfect condition without even the smallest blemish. After my experience with the Tarmacs, I turned to the team at fifteen52 and they sent out a new set of shoes for the sedan.
I’m sure it wasn’t much of a surprise to many that I decided to go with the new Turbomacs. I’m not going to lie, I even thought about getting a second set of Tarmacs but the Turbomacs would be something different and stand out a bit more.
Regardless of what set I ended up going with though, I knew from the start that they’d be white. Again, that shouldn’t really have surprised anyone.
As for the tires I took the opportunity to finally get one of my favourites back on the car – Continental DWSs. I had these back when I had the Volvo Rs on the Focus and have wanted another set since. The reason I didn’t have any on the Tarmacs originally is because they came with Federals already mounted and I didn’t want to replace tires that were just fine – those tires were later reused on the Gram Lights and are still there now.
It all came together with great timing. On a day off my wheels arrived, and my tires also showed up at work. The next day I brought the Turbomacs with me and my co-worker Richard was able to mount and balance the DWSs for me.
He took great care with the Turbomacs and they didn’t receive a single mark.
With Cars and Coffee taking place shortly after work, I was hoping I’d be able to get the wheels mounted on the Focus before quitting time so that I could show them off. It had been a little while since the Focus’ last alignment so I decided to get it checked and fine-tuned if needed; and while it was on the rack it’d be the perfect time to swap wheels. Of course, all of that depended on whether or not the Focus could even get onto the rack in the first place, which it ultimately did…
…with a little help of course.
Everything worked out perfectly and before the end of work the sedan had its new shoes fitted. I was able to cruise over to Cars and Coffee and show off the new look, and everyone who had been asking me for photos all day could finally see how the car looked.
The Rays get a ton of attention still but for the sedan, it’s white wheels or nothing.
Of course, the Fatlace dice and Stance:Nation lug nuts were reused and pop really nicely against the fresh white finish.
I was originally planning on a custom offset for the Turbomacs but it wasn’t anything drastically different than the standard specs, and with how much extra it would have cost (not helped with how poorly the Canadian dollar has been doing) I decided to save the extra money and select the standard offset instead. These are slightly narrower than the Tarmacs but the lower offset means the faces are only a few millimeters further in.
Frankly, I think I just about have the perfect sets of wheels now. Turbomacs for summer, Tarmacs for winter. I don’t see myself needing to change anything about that any time soon.
Thanks again to fifteen52!