Museums>> Donington Collection Of Gp Wheels!


My personal experiences visiting the world famous Donington Park Grand Prix Collection, take two:
I just wrote out the most brilliant introduction to this legendary
place, and just as I had it perfect, I was cutting and pasting
something, and my hand slipped, and I accidentally deleted the whole
thing. DAMN! Just a reminder to save your work!

Okay. The title of this story may be misleading. Donington Park doesn't have an actual museum filled with just wheels.
(Although I think it would certainly be an awesome idea! Maybe I should
start something like "The Cipher Garage Collection of 4×114.3 Wheels
that fit well on Vintage Toyotas." haha)

So a couple months ago, I was given the extraordinary opportunity to
visit the world famous Grand Prix Collection at Donington Park, which
is the world's largest collection of Grand Prix and F1 cars. In the world. This is huge!

I was honored to be given the permission from the facility's
manager, Garry Rankin, to walk through this legendary museum filled
with priceless race cars, and shoot whatever I wanted – he gave me an exclusive all access pass to shoot the world's best F1 cars. Needless to say, I was in there for quite a while. Until closing time in fact.

Now I'll be completely honest with you. My specialty here on the
Speedhunters team, is subjects related to Japanese car culture, vintage
Japanese cars, drifting, and Toyota Motorsports. And although I have a
great respect for Formula One (especially F1 photography), I don't
really follow the history of F1 like some of my other friends do.

On the Speedhunters team, possibly the most well versed in the world
of F1 might be Rod Chong… who actually visited the museum with me,
but had to walk through it very quickly because he needed to get to a
meeting on the other side of the track. Therefore, I was just walking
all alone through the museum with my camera and my "all access status,"
without much guidance at all. When I mentioned my relative ignorance
what I was looking at (I definitely respected the brilliance and
technology and heritage of the cars, I just didn't know much about each
of the cars, like Rod did), I was quickly reassured that it was not a

In fact, right before he left for his meeting, Rod's exact words were, "It's okay that you're not an F1 history expert, mate… just take photos of whatever stands out to you. Whatever you like!" Okay! You heard it!

So I'm left all alone for hours in this world class museum filled with priceless vintage Grand Prix race cars, and what do I end up with?

A bunch of photos of wheels.

Jeez. In fact, I couldn't help but laugh to myself because I knew how ridiculous I was. I have some friends, like Ricky Silverio
or Dave Slidesquad, who are total vintage F1 fanatics, and would go off
on all the crazy pieces of motorsports history I had access to. So even
though I knew how special and how priceless this situation was (not to
mention the cars), being true to form Antonio, the thought that
kept popping up in my head was… "damn, these wheels are dope!!! If
they were 4×114.3 bolt pattern, they would look perfect on one of my

Sad isn't it? I'm hopeless. I'm so typical and predictable
sometimes, it just makes you want to shake your head and roll your eyes.

But there it is… I love wheels. That's me, and at least I'm honest about it! So check out the "Donington Collection of Grand Prix Wheels," as seen through my eyes… err, lens!

Outside the museum, they had awesome signage, vintage petrol pumps,
and commemorative flags adorning the walkway to the museum. You could
tell this was a special place. BTW, making their way down the walkway
are Speedhunters' own Rod Chong, and our good buddy Rob Bullough from
Formula 1. Yup, that Formula One.

I mean, just look at this! This wheel is awesome! It reminds me of a
vintage one-piece Work Equip 01 wheel, like the ones I have on my zenki
AE86 hatchback! Looking at this wheel made me wonder if I should try
powdercoating my vintage Work Equip wheels matte black!

This is a nice fatlip specimen. What do you think, guys? A classic 6
spoke design with a fat lip… maybe the design inspiration for the
Speedstar XR-4 wheel? Most people who are into 1990s drift car style
like I am probably know it as the Longchamp XR4, but the original XR4
wheel was actually made by SSR – Speed Star Racing.

Vintage inspiration for the classic "banana spoke" wheel – from this
design came Minilites, Panasports, and my personal favorite, RS

The wheels on this Renault are beginning to look even more like the
design of the XR4 wheels, especially since the wheels shown on this car
are 3-piece. However, those who know wheels well will recognize that
this wheel is actually a closer relative to an Italian wheel called the
Gotti. I remember seeing those Gotti wheels on a Mazda RX2 in South San Francisco back in the day. Looks very similar!

Does this "star mesh" design look familiar to you? Look at the
design of the center mesh – it reminds me of the SSR Formula Mesh
wheel. Not the SSR Reverse Mesh, because this F1 wheel doesn't have a
reverse lip, it has the normal "stepped" lip, hence the closer likeness
to the SSR Formula Mesh.

Man, I love Japanese wheels. 

Don't worry, I'll definitely show you photos of the amazing race cars in the Donington Collection also; keep an eye out for that in my next story! But this story on Japanese wheels has got me feeling a bit nostalgic, so before I post up anything about the F1 cars in the museum, I'm gonna take a moment to stare and admire the brand new set of 15×8.5J Work wheels sitting in my living room… maybe give em a little hug or something. I'll talk to you guys later.

-Antonio Alvendia

Donington Park Grand Prix Collection



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The "banana spoke" wheels also look like Black Racing wheels.


Woot, love those wheels on the green number 2 car!


FM Tuning: Yeah, Black Racing is one of the companies out of Japan that produced the "banana spoke" design - I actually used to have a set of BR wheels, but sold them quick once I found myself a nice set of wide RS Watanabes. Also look at Rota A8 (3pc style), Konig Rewind, Superlite, Alleycat, American Racing, etc, etc, etc.... so many companies made wheels of this style. I do firmly believe that the RS Watanabe Type R is the king of this particular food chain though.


The wheel you say reminds you of an SSR Formula Mesh wheel to me is a straight up BBS rim. Which came first?


Hm, depends which BBS you're talking about. I might be wrong on this, but I've found the older BBS wheels to be "meshie" at the ends, where the mesh spokes connect to the barrel... whereas this last F1 wheel (and the SSR Formula Mesh) are "pointed" where the mesh spokes connect to the barrel.

My friend used to have a set of those real old BBS Wheels on his 1970 BMW 2002, and I dunno, I just think they look kinda different.

BTW, since we're on the subject of mesh! My least favorite mesh wheels are the Enkei 92 (what were they thinking with that flat center section), which were a common find in junkyards all day, and the TSW Hockenheim R.

Mesh favs include Racing Sparco NS-II Speeders, BBS LM with deep offset, Modex/SSR Dori Dori in 15x8.5 with light gold finish...........

How bout you guys? Favorite mesh wheels?


BBS LM for the win, all the time. It seems they look perfect on a whole range of cars. From VIP, Euro and all out Time Attack build cars


Great pics Antonio! Is it strange for me to almost be able to smell the museum after looking at this post?

I'm gonna have to go with the SSR Formula Mesh as my favorite. The other day I saw a nice set of low offset 15" SSR FM's on a stock Toyota Hi Ace van. What the heck? The BBS RS gets an honorable mention from me.


Thanks guys!

Damn! Hi Ace + SSR FM pics please! I wanna see!

I still have a thing for the light gold dori doris though... like the ones on imamura's brown 86! sick!


I don't know if I would consider LM's true mesh wheels.

I would have to vote in BBS RS's with widened lips as my favourite. But speaking of 'wheels' haha I enjoyed the pics so far Antonio can't wait for the follow up to this great place.


Hey guys... I just wanted to share this comment - I got an email from my good friend Ricky Silverio (who i'm trying to convince to create a Speedhunters login acct!), who just dropped more knowledge on these wheels. Since I don't feel that I should keep all this good info to myself, I'm gonna cut n paste Ricky's email into the comments box so you can read this and learn something! I know I did! We gotta get this guy contributing to Speedhunters more regularly in the future!

Here's the email from Ricky:


Hola Antonio!

Thanks again for the kind words on the SH website and for mentioning me in the series regarding the Donington Collection. In Regards to the Donington Wheel section,

Just to clarify, the wheels on the Penthouse FM car are indeed BBS wheels. The first series release of BBS wheels were multi piece and were for racing use only. The spoke design was first seen on the Touring Car Capris and Batmobile 3.0 CSis and their predecessors.

The e49 racing wheel (first seen in 68-69 on the Capris and 3.0 Bimmers) was used for the SSR super formula mesh" rel="dofollow" target="_blank">

The e32 pattern was used for the first Volk Racing "X-Ray" Wheel

BBS Racing wheel main site:" rel="dofollow" target="_blank">

The Japanese were very keen on the obscure racing models and used them for their lines. The obscurity of racing only wheels have led many to believe some of the cool original designs of some Japanese wheels were of truly Japanese design or tweaked with a Japanese touch. This so is not the case for our fave wheel brands :-)

To be extremely geekish, the first true mesh design in wheels that were not wire based were conjured up by Chevrolet Engineers for use in various Corvette prototypes:

This is a later version with finished cap.

Jim Hall of Chapparral fame has always had a close relationship with the GM techs and had top Secret GM technology sent to him via the back door. The mesh wheels from GM were a prominent feature on almost all of the Famous Chapparral race cars:

Please note in the Corvette proto and the Chapparals that the wheels are multi-piece............ the number of bolts dictating what SSR would use for the MK series............ And........ the first multi piece wheels used in racing applications which BBS adopted and..................

Now for Gotti....... which was also renowned for their multi piece wheel technology debuted their very popular 6 spoke wheel on the Renault F-1 Car in your photo, which coincidentally was the first TURBOCHARGED F-1 car............ Also , Gotti is a erm........... French company.

Gotti was well known for it's wheels for the Alpine Renault A110 Rally Car and the trademark orange center of the wheels were coined by SSR............. It is also of note that the No.7 model was coined by SSR for the XR-4's which also has some details from the Gotti X-13 model

BTW, the Stretched tires on the Lotus 49 is indeed the start of the stretched tire look which Dunlop and Firestone had a hand in. Circa 1969-1970

Anyway, use this info grasshopper just in case those limey brits give you a hard time.

Thanks again Antonio for your kindness and always mentioning me in your articles which are great BTW....... :-) :-) :-) !!! !!! !!!

Kind Regards, Ricky


Well there you have it, straight from the automotive encyclopedia himself. This guy is a walking encyclopedia about cars, and was like this for years and years before Wikipedia. I don't know how he knows all this stuff, it's almost like he's a professional student of automotive culture, but instead of being a college student, he's on a Doctorate level.

Okay learn something! Talk to u guys later!





favorite mesh wheels...mine :)


I just love the clean design of them

Work VS-TX - a limited edition run they did in 2006. If you look closely, you can see a small gold badge, that has an individual serial # per wheel.