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Thread: Do you recognize this wheel?

Discuss the Austin Healey Sprite and the MG Midget. Two different but similar cars sometimes referred to collectively as the Spridget.

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    Do you recognize this wheel?

    I am trying to identify the wheels that are on my '60 Bugeye. They are 13 x 5 and date from the early or mid 1970s. I know for sure they were on the car in 1979 and had been for quite some time. I thought they were early Minilite, but I have yet to identify them for sure. I am beginning to think they aren't Minilites, but another brand. Specifics: center hole diameter is approximately 70MM (I can't measure precisely until I pull Louise out of storage and pull a wheel off). The lug nuts are shank (sleeve) style, but the diameters are a bit off from standard. The lug nuts measure .749 (3/4 inch) outer diameter on the shank, 3/4 long on the shank, 3/8 NPT threads. The wheels are alloy, either aluminum or Magnesium. I think they are Mag but not positive.

    You can see from the picture that the wheels are very similar to Minilites, but have fins at the center hub that are not present on Minilites, Panasports, or other similar wheels. They are in overall great shape, with some finish wear, but better than you would expect on wheels that are 50 years old! However, one of the lug nuts has bad threads (Helicoiled) and I would like to get replacement lugnuts. I have not been able to identify the wheels, or find any lug nuts of this size. Most of the shank style lugnuts are .625 (6/8), and the ones with 3/4 shanks are for 1/2" threads or bigger. Anybody have any thoughts?

    Thanks, Mike
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    Luke Skywalker Roger's Avatar
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    Re: Do you recognize this wheel?

    I think they might be Aluminium Minilites, made by Tech Del, the original maker.
    I had magnesium Minilites on my car, and remember Tech Del coming out with these, or something very similar, as a much cheaper alternative.
    Didn't stop Tech Del from folding, though. There's a company today called Tech-Del, but that's only about 20 years old. The time I'm talking about was late 60s or early 70s.
    Roger
    Ancient Briton
    '67 Lotus Elan S3
    '72 Lotus Europa TC
    '05 Lotus Elise

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    Luke Skywalker Roger's Avatar
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    Re: Do you recognize this wheel?

    If you want to know if your wheels are magnesium, shave a tiny sliver from somewhere invisible and try to light it. You'll soon know!
    Today's Tech-Del may be able to help with nuts.
    Roger
    Ancient Briton
    '67 Lotus Elan S3
    '72 Lotus Europa TC
    '05 Lotus Elise

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    Yoda Jim_Gruber's Avatar
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    Re: Do you recognize this wheel?

    And if they are magnesium better have them crack checked before putting them on the road.
    Jim Gruber - Apollo Beach, FL
    Bugsy I - '68 Sprite w BE Bonnet - Gone but not forgotten
    Bugsy IV - '60 Bugeye - 1,275+.040 and a 5-Speed - CA Car - 2nd Owner from new - 10/12 Painting done, reassembly, cutting, and buffing in progress.

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    Re: Do you recognize this wheel?

    Thanks for the information guys! This has been very helpful. I searched for Tech Dell Minilite and hit pay dirt. I found a website that has original literature from 1967 and also from the early 70s. The cover of the early 1970s catalog shows my wheel (upper right). Long story short, the style of wheel is called a Minilite’Double fin’. Not a common wheel but they are out there. That helps!

    I am still not having any luck finding the lug nuts in this size (larger shank diameter than the later and current offerings. I’m thinking of using a ‘big sert’ to repair the one lug with the dodgy threads, although another option would be to sleeve the holes down from 3/4 to the modern 5/8 size.

    Thanks for the warning about cracks too. All things being equal I would prefer to run these wheels since this car has been racing on them from the 1970s, but it would be easier (and maybe safer) to just get a new set of VTO or Minilite wheels for the road and use these for ‘shop art’.
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    Last edited by Lightning; 12-10-2019 at 03:58 AM. Reason: Added picture

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