Wheels are an important part of modifying a car. They make a statement, and they're the first thing people tend to see on a [tastefully] modified car. And, if anything, it's expected of an owner to swap the wheels if the car is at all modified. You could have the most ballin' engine build around, but if the wheels are stock... nobody is going to stop to appreciate anything else you've done. It's worth noting, though, that this is a tried-and-true method for street racing "sleepers" to hide in plain sight.
It's a trick picking out tasteful wheels. One thing I've noticed is that owners as a collective are generally not ones to approve gaudy or brash changes to an Aston. Modifications, especially wheels, need to look like they belong on the car. That's true for any car, but Aston owners as a group are far more particular. The extra scrutiny and criticism may be a turn off for people not accustomed to it.
Personally, I love it.
Poorly chosen wheels can really ruin the look of a car. I warn in the About page that sometimes this blog might get a little personal, so here's fair warning: I might insult a few people through the rest of this post. It isn't to be mean or hurtful. I'm just expressing my personal opinion on wheel selection. Let's start off with my biggest pet peeve.
Rollin' on Rubberbands
Wheels have three primary specifications: diameter, width, and offset. Diameter is the most obvious because it's the most visible to an onlooker. The one-inch incrimental changes in diameter are subtle, but they add up quickly. A general rule of thumb is that the larger the diameter of the wheel, the thinner the sidewall of the tire. I can get into a whole discussion about tire specs, but let's stick to wheels. I'll just say that the thinner the sidewall, the less ride quality for the people inside the car and, at a certain point, reduced tire grip.
Visually, a thin sidewall looks silly. When a car looks like this:
All I can see is this:
Now look at this race car. Not just any race car, but an Aston Martin GT3 which is quite relevant to us for obvious badge-centric reasons.
Look at that sidewall! It's thick. It's meaty. It's delicious. This is how sidewalls should be.
The opposite direction - smaller diameter wheels - gives you a thicker sidewall, but comes with two major concerns: styling is one, but far more importantly is brake clearance. Wheels need a diameter large enough to clear the brake rotors and calipers. Go with too small a diameter and it won't fit over the brakes.
Oh the girth
Here's where my opinion is a bit contrarian. Lots of people like putting super-wide wheels and tires on Astons (as much as 305's in the rear!). I'm not one of those people.
It's my opinion that super-wide tires hurt the performance of a V8 Vantage. The extra width of the tire should increase grip - there's so much more tire pressed to the ground. And that's fine. But the V8 Vantage doesn't need it. It really doesn't. You're far better served getting better tires, like Michelin Pilot Super Sports (my favorite, by the way), than getting wider tires.
To get a bit nerdy real quick, let's go over the consequences of a wider wheel/tire package. First is cost. You're going to pay more for the larger setup. I'm sure most of you are far more baller than I am, so it may not be a big deal. But I think it's actually a bad investment because it won't perform well dynamically and it'll be expensive to maintain. Second is performance. The larger setup is going to be heavier, and that weight is going to be positioned at the worst place it can be: the outside edge of an unsprung rotating mass. You're actually going to make your car slower. Third is that it could upset the balance of the car. Astons are incredible driving machines. It's one of the reasons why they have such a devout following despite not being the fastest in most comparison tests. But driving the car... it's just fucking wonderful, and you don't want to ruin that.
The right Offset from the Outset
All else being equal, offset determines how far out your wheels stick compared to the body. Yes, wheel-spec sticklers, that's very over-simplified, but we're not getting into the nitty gritty about specifications right now.
If you look at the factory setup on an Aston, the wheels are actually tucked pretty far into the wheel wells. It's very common for owners to add spacers to bring the wheels further out - you can bring the fronts out by 15mm and the rears out by a whopping 25mm on most V8 Vantages!
Getting new wheels made should include a more suitable offset. You want to get the wheel (and more specifically, the tire) closer to "flush" with the body of the car without sticking out. Go too far and you'll end up like this:
Getting offset right is pretty tricky on an Aston. Our cars come with a large amount of rear camber. Some people don't take that into account when specifying their wheels - they just measure at some point up toward the top of the tires and go with it. The top ends up flush, but the bottom sticks out. If you want an extreme example of what I mean, look up "stance cars" and you'll have plenty of pics showing where I'm going with this.
It's my opinion that the offset (especially in the rear) needs to be a touch conservative. Just bring it in a few millimeters. That way the bottom of the tire will still be largely in line with the body.
I do things a very specific way on Redpants. I'm borderline OCD with how I do things. And it might rub some people the wrong way. So here's the deal: I'm now a BC Forged dealer, and I'll be offering wheels at specifications I've already chosen. These are the same specs I chose for my car, and I'm happy to go into why ad nauseum. But I'll also be offering custom fitment for customers that want to be more aggressive with their wheel and tire choices.
Over the next week or so, I'll be creating product listings and adding information for BC Forged's wheels to my online store. I'll also be doing another blog post discussing that company and their wheels, so check back for that. In the meantime, please feel free to reach out to me if you've got any questions!