Tag Archives: 280zx

Watanabes, Panasports and other 8-Spoke Rims

It’s said that wheels are usually the first things to be customized on a car. These days, there’s no argument to whether that’s true – wheels are just something people seem to find identity with, and make the car their own. 

Watanabe RS F8s under a heavily modifed Z

 
Unfortunately, I’ve yet to claim that “identity” with a set of my own. I’m still rocking the 280ZX “Iron Cross” painted in black with polished lip. However, should I change (and I hope to relatively soon…-ish), I’ve grown very fond of a particular style of rim. 

They go by many names: Wats, Panas… But there’s no confusion in my mind that the 8-spoke rim is one of the best looking  wheel rim the Datsun Z could wear. 

Of course, you always get what you pay for; and range of 8-spokes vary quite a bit, however, as we’ll see, more than just price: there’s street cred.

Watanabe RS F8 – There’s something about a Samuri holding a gun that isn’t right. Much like a Samuri should be holding a sword, Datsun Z’s should be sporting the right wheels. These are them. 

 
The Watanabe RS F8 wheels are the definitive 8-spoke wheel to which all others are measured. Beware: there are a LOT of fakes / imitations out there (check it out on eBay). If you’re not paying at least $600 / rim, they’re not real no matter how sweet that three circle crest looks with the red center cap. Yes, the cost won’t just burn a hole in your pocket, these will ignite a bonfire. But people will come running to check’m out. Pros: thoroughbred Japanese racing heritage and street cred. Cons: mad expensive, hard to get. Price: $2100+/set

Panasport – With enough racing heritage to fill all the Datsun pickups with, Panasport still really only make ONE type of wheel. 

 
While a few may exclaim otherwise (yes, you’re right), however, for street wheels, it’s the 8-spoke and variations of, including the Minilite. Because of name and quality, Panasports command a solid price even if scuffed up (and you’ll a lot of these marred up). These are durable wheels that hold their value very well. Cons: usually found in smaller sizes ranging from 12″-15″. Good luck finding bigger. Remember Wild Bill who sold me the 280Z also had Panasports to sell too for $500 (good price!)..huh, wonder if they’re still for sale. Price: $1200/set

Rota RK-R – You’ve heard the saying, “imitation is the best form of flattery”. Well, the RK-R is pouring on compliments because these get lots of chatter for being so close to the Watanabes but cheaper. 

 
Though they may be more affordable, they’re also known to be weaker under abuse. I’ve read several forums say their Rotas (NOT the RK-R model) cracked on them. Granted, they were on the track but again, you get what you pay for. I’ve been tracking these for a few years now and prices are stable, come in many sizes and widths, and available on eBay and Amazon. For those local to the Bay Area, the Rota distributor is in Fremont (psst – and they do cash / carry). Pros: inexpensive Watanabe copies readily available. RK-Rs are only a few years old, proceeding the more common RB model. Price: $650/set

Konig RewindBefore Rota RK-R / RB were Rewinds. As it sounds, I’m sure they picked that name because “throw back” or “retro” just doesn’t sound right.   

Kong Rewinds more closely resemble Panasport wheels as the spokes are less uniform and curve a bit more…banana-like. Because Konig is such a big name in wheels, these are definitely available everywhere – even Motorsport Auto sells them. Check carefully though as you’ll notice the spokes vary in shape from more curved on the 14″, more angular on the 15″, and just straight on the 16″. Pros: cheaper alternative. Price: $480/set

Atara Racing Pisanghuh! Where did these guys come from? (Edit 4/4/16: rather where did these guys go?…) Ok. So actually it was finding these Pisang wheels that prompted me to do a write up. Just check out these rims:

 
Dang! I really like what’s going on here. They’re super clean, and a wonderful alternative replica to the Watanabe RS F8s. Not to mention the rest of their line isn’t just copies (like Rota) – they take a nice perspective on classic designs. I’m definitely interested in knowing more about them but let’s get back to the wheel. I feel they’re fairly new to the US market, so that’s nice for exclusivity. Red center cap emulates Wantanabe. Price? $1100 and up / set. [edit 4/5/16] Since initially writing this portion, I’ve deduced that Atara is more and more like Rota, also from Southeast Asia, and making replica wheels. Instead of writing more edits, I’ll go ahead and spare my opinions for a separate article.

Other mentions – there are a few others you might want to consider if you’d like that 8-spoke style make its way onto your Z…

SPDLine Zuka – [edit 4/2/16] Found another variation from the folks at JPNGarage.com. Right inline with Watanabe / Rota styling, only offered in matte Gunmetal and Bronze at 15″, but the cheapest I’ve seen for the style at $160 per wheel. [edit 4/4/16] A short correspondence with JPNGarage.com (who used to distribute Atara Racing) reveals that SPDLine are from the same manufacturer as Atara.

Rota RB – similar to the RK-R but more tapered. If RK-Rs are like Watanabes, the RBs are like Panas.

XXR 537 – a new school look; pinch at the apex of the spoke gives it a slightly more agressive look.
Hope you enjoyed a run down of the 8-spoke rims that look good on a Z. At the end of the day, it’s about personal style and functionality. Regardless of brand, a certain look is a certain look. So what’s your Z sporting? Which ones do you like? Hit us up in the comments if there was any other similar 8-spoke we missed!
Note: All brands have varying sizes and colors and / or lip options available.




Zpotted: yes, my wife “zpots”

My wife knows I love Datsun, and sends me pics every now and then. Love her for it! But I’m never good about posting them – haha sorry it’s been awhile. But here we go…

Datsun B210  

And what looks to be a Datsun 280ZX with massive sun roof.

 


Zpotted: Z in Entourage

I would have never given the show, Entourage, a chance if it weren’t for a friend mentioning that it was produced by Mark Wahlberg.. And he knows I’m a fan of Mark Wahlberg! He also mentioned it’s suppose to loosely resemble his life coming out to Hollywood from Boston. I’m a ways from there but being from MA, I can relate… Haha naw. Either way – love the show.
Somewhere in Season 2, the crew go visit an indie Director in a motel… Can you spot it?

A white, t-top’d 280zx!

 


280zx Turbo part out

Just a quick write up on Randy, a great guy I met on CL, whose parting out an 83 Datsun / Nissan 280zx Turbo. Last I saw, nearly everything but the engine / drivetrain is still available.

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Randy is currently working on fixing up his gf’s own 280zx (hence the part out on the donor car), shown here in white.
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He himself is working on a nice classic gem: a 70’s Toyota Celica also in white!

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So if yer looking for some 280zx parts he’s got’em; and he’s very verse in with cars (also having worked on a white 240sx. Haha I just realized all his cars are in white.


[heat] shields up!

So um why do my brakes feels squishy all of a sudden? Like… Horse and buggy-like brake performance that requires Flintstones effort..
Ever get that feeling?

Quickly check out your brake fluid and notice the levels in the master and secondary cylinders. Low!

So why? Visually inspected the brakes: good amount left. No brake fluid leaks. See something missing here?

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Huh! Wasn’t there suppose to be a heat shield here? Yes! Car came without the heat shields, and if Datsun designed them, it needs them, and now I know why. Brake fluid can break down at high heat (remember, we’re in a 280z haha).

Now I think a few things are happening here:
1) brake cylinder caps aren’t tight enough allowing the brake fluid to absorb moisture from the atmosphere, severely degrading it’s boiling temp.
2) engine bay is hot enough to heat up that brake fluid enough to evap.

Boiling temp of DOT3 brake fluid specs out to be around 400F (dry), and 284F (wet, meaning when it’s absorbed enough moisture). Huh, so 284F isn’t too far from 212F (boiling temp of water, for reference), and I know my 280z engine gets hotter than that.

So I knew I at least needed a heat shield, and order one from eBay ($35 + $10 ship). Ugh.. Wrong one. Do you know how hard it is to find a 280z brake cylinder heat shield?! So I picture match it with a ’79 280zx version.. And I thought they were the same…oops, nope..

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Zpotted: black on black 280zx

My wife spotted this Z on the highway, and asked, “is this a Z?”. Yep! Haha I wonder how she knew… I haven’t asked her but maybe she remembered the shape of the Z31 S130 body style, or maybe she noticed it’s similarity to the S30… Either way, she’s catching on!

Love the stock look of the early 300zx 280zx, black on black, and the hood intake on these things. Now if only they had a better designed interior.. Regardless these things r growing on me.

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3/4/14 – Edit – Upon further inspection.. it’s a 280zx! the 300zx didn’t have the squared off rear side window (it just tapered into a triangle). and i still don’t like this body style. [Thanks zach!]


Zpotted: blue 280zx 2+2

Rolling down the street into downtown…
Those tail lights are unmistakable! 🙂

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Blue 280zx 2+2! Woot woot! Ultra clean with two tone paint. He spotted me first as he was ready with a thumbs up when i rolled up!

Drove with him for a block before he turned off.

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a 280z restoration one morning at a time

JDMGALLERY

a 280z restoration one morning at a time

Dirty S30

a 280z restoration one morning at a time

mister240z

Looking through the lens with rods and cones.

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life on wheels

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