Car Life>>wheels & Bars

Things have been extremely busy for me over the last few days as we make final preparations for the NFS SoCal event this weekend. We have an incredible selection of cars that will be out there and I think this will be one of the most unique automotive gatherings in a long time.

In the meantime though, I want to take a quick break and update you guys with some of the progress I've made on my personal 2006 Mustang GT over the last couple weeks.

From the day I took ownership of this car, and possibly even before that – I had been thinking what kind of wheels to get for it. Wheels make or break a car, and this was something that took a lot of thought.

After months of patience and trying to convince my wife, I finally got the OK to pull the trigger on wheels and tires. I'm assuming I'm not the only one who has to deal with this? Haha.

There were a few different wheels I considered, but eventually I settled on my original pick – the Enkei RPF1. It looks good, it's very light, it's strong, and it's affordable. There isn't much more that you can ask for in an aftermarket wheel.

Of course, just as important as the wheel itself is the sizing. After doing plenty of research on the various Mustang forums out there, I decided to go with 18×9.5's all around, with a +38 offset. No, it's not hellaflush, but I think they fill the fenders up nicely.

Of course, now that I had picked wheels I also had to find some tires for them. This part was easy, I ordered up a set of 275 40 18 Falken FK452's and like a kid on Christmas morning, I anxiously waited to get everything mounted up.

I couldn't be happier with the look. A lot of Mustang owners like run some crazy staggered set ups on their cars, but I like the look and the feel of equal sizes on each corner.

At just 18.6 lbs per wheel, the RPF1's also give a solid savings in unsprung weight compared to the stock 17×8's that came on the car.

I should also mention one other upgrade that's been done to the car since my last update – a MAC axleback exhaust that I got for Christmas. Even stock these 4.6's have a nice sound, but with exhaust it sounds that much better. Thanks mom and dad!

Most recently, I headed over to Hotchkis Suspension this week to have a set of performance sway bars and and an adjustable rear Panhard rod installed on the car.

Due to my schedule I wasn't able to get these on the car in time for the track day earlier this month. I was a little bummed, but I'm excited to see the improvement next time out.

Here's a look at the stock front sway bar (top) vs. the Hotchkis bar (bottom). It's four-way adjustable with up to a 50% rate increase over the stock bar.

A view of the front bar all mounted up.

Here's the stock rear bar (bottom) and the three-way adjustable Hotchkis one (top). Out back, the bar can be dialed in to a 100% increase over stock.

Finally, a view of the stock Panhard rod and the new double adjustable one. This allows you to adjust the lateral position of the axle and keeps it from wiggling during cornering. AE86 guys know how important this can be.

Here's a view of the new parts installed out back. I'll go ahead and wait for some of the live axle haters to chime in haha….

All done! Unfortunately before I got a chance to get a feel for the new setup, another massive rainstorm slammed into Southern California. My next trip down the local backroads will have to wait.

Slowly, but surely the car is getting closer to the original vision I had for it.

Just a few more little things and I'm done. That's what they always say, right?

-Mike Garrett

Enkei Wheels

Falken Tire

Hotchkis Suspension



Comments are closed.


by Oldest
by Best by Newest by Oldest

Love the look, simple and clean.


Yay an american car


Clean, classy, functional: I love it - Off to a great start ;)


Very clean. Lowering and nice wheel fitment makes a huge difference, it really makes those flares look big.


Love it!!! I want these wheels for my Mustang!!!! Cant believe they are wider and lighter than my BBS wheels. Whats next?


Very tasteful. I approve.


RPF1's on a Mustang..... Not bad.


Ugh Fram Filter...


East meet West!


mmmmmmmmmm fat beefy tires. take note, hellastretch idiots.


Well done, nice ride,and you have to start thinking on the next set, you know how it is one year from now ,start looking at different wheel/tire combos, different fittments, maybe some billet wheels with fat lips, or even stagered watanabes gunmetal or black/polish lips ,to mention few,take good care of this wheels,and keep'm nice for the future owner,once again your ride looks really nice,what's next?? perhaps an autopower roll bar?? perhaps a more agresive front fascia?? just an idea.....nice work!!


looks tough

oh and fred flinstone called he wants his rear suspension back


Good choice on the wheels. I hated those tires though, they came already mounted on a set of wheels I bought used. I was like "So all the uncomfort and noise of a grippy tire... without the grip. Sweet." Car looks good, I'd get rid of the front orange turn signals.


NICE! Id much rather you have a import but ill let you slide on this one cuz it looks clean! lol


NICE! It's like the real-car version of the tiny 14" RPF1s on my Miata.

Excellent choice in wheels.


proper. Does it's justice.


neat car, not much of a muscle/USDM fan myself but i like the clean functional style you're going for. props.


would this happen to be san diego


hey "jay dub" how about you dont be an arrogant prick. There are many different cars and car styles and while hellaflush and stretch look good on some fat meats look good on others. So saying someone who has different style then you is an idiot just shows how much of an idiot you are.

Also the mustang looks great but could be a tiny bit lower not not slammed or any thing just an inch or so but thats just if it was mine. keep up the good work.


I like it. good taste, a clean car with a nice drop. Glad you didn't follow hellaflush trend. Nice wheel choice, too. Now... SUPERCHARGE IT :)


Nice Mike, now get rid of those pesky Tein spring and install some Koni/Eibach coilovers.


... and garrett hits it out of the park!!!! Well done - the fitment is looking fine... AND functional!


nice article. like something out of old speedhunters.


Was never a fan of American cars in general but... say that's a bloody good looking wheel-car combo!


Lower it.


great job mike the car look great and i bet i feels better..rpf1 are the best wheels i got twoset, both in 17x9 but one with nto5 and the other nto1 tire


already better looking than most brostang Gts on the road.


Looks good


It like it, good looking and functional. Although I wonder why you have chosen 9.5 J wheels with 275 tires on front, you don't really need the traction at the front and these big sizes increase weight.


cant go wrong with the rpf1s. car look mean.


i read once on that it would've only cost ford an extra $6 or something similar to that amount to fit the mustang with independent rear suspension from an Australian Ford Falcon, but you know its $6.


Mike, as a former 5.0 Mustang owner and domestic muscle lover, I applaud your combination. My sentiment exactly regarding many Mustang owners running staggered wheels... BUT... it's done because it fits the Mustang's profile and lines - it just works time and time again.

I love your wheel choice though! Personally, I would have went with a concave face and I would have staggered them. You can take the Mustang from the guy, but you can’t… well you know the rest.

Good luck with your build!


the rpf1s look great on your mustang mike! theyre great wheels and like you said, i was very surprised at how well they were priced. chassis mods look great but how do they feel?


The car looks better in person, saw the car at the xdc event. Those wheels fit perfectly, form and function. Its sad to see and hear people wanting 20 inch rims on mustangs. Good job mike.

As for the comment by keez. ?really? I think you need to stop posting, soon. Wide tires give better traction, which is a good thing.. i hope no one ever listens to you, obviously you know nothing about physics or racing.


Not HellaFlush, and all the better for it!


Waz never a gr8 fan of the new Mustangs, there was always something with the look that wasn't right, but your wheel/tyre/lowering coctail makes for changes of mind. In flat black maybe..


This car is perfection in every way... except DAT COLOR. BABY BLUE? FUUUUUUU....


Love the mods, Mike! While they may not be the best looking wheels for the SN97, people who know performance will certainly know what you're about. Keep it up!


Please quit posting about your personal car. It isn't cool, and it's like 50 million other mustangs out there. My advice: Sell it and buy a 99 Cobra instead, then at least you'd have something unique from the mustang world instead of this boring POS.


its all going in the right direction..


get your self a lovely original rear spoiler


I think you'r going the right way with this mods, The car has the look (specially with this wheel setup) now you just have to improve handling and spec. I like it very much has it is. Keep up with your good taste ;)


LOL.....I could have sworn I saw this car traveling westbound on PCH in Harbor City, CA on 3/24.


I like your vision... similar to mine ;)


Thanks for the words everyone. Not sure what exactly I'll do next. I've had my eye on a new shifter, possibly an intake, and a couple other small things. Gotta let the wife cool down a bit first though, haha.


Must have been me, think I was driving home yesterday afternoon.



Very cool. it was either the Enkeis or TEs wasn't it? Will a supercharger be in this cars future?


Looks real good Mike. Great suspension upgrades too! Now we need some track day video!


Wow.. I was totally weirded out when I saw your first post regarding your Mustange build. This looks awesome, tasteful and mature.


nice color choice.


Rob, you are an idiot. Lmao. The unique mustangs were the 02-04. With the factory superchargers. Quit typing and go read a book.


Looks good Mike. When you going to the track?


Nice! If you would, I'd love to have news on the car emailed to us. More for personal interest, but I'm sure the company would love it. To my attention if you decide to.


Nice choice on the RPF1s Mike...thought you would've splurged for some TE37s, but yeah, happy wife, happy life. Keep what you're doing...haters gonna hate.


looks awsome! love the choice of wheels. i like the import style wheels on stangs so long as they are the right style...and these loook: great! i considered some 18x9.5 6 spoke rota grid's for mine, but ended up going for a old school look :) cant wait to hear how the added sways and panhard bar improved handling. mine handles awsome as is, so i can only imagine what that puppy is like now! i need some good brakes for a track day....


very subtle, how very un-mustang owner of you!


Very nice and perfect wheel choice !


Hey Mike,

I have to go through the same thing with my wife, it's rough. I had to work on her for a solid month before I could buy some new seats for my 99 vette. I wish she had expensive hobbies so that we could be equal!!! :( hahah.


Love it. Clean and functional. Pushing me toward a Mustang....