Stefano Pasini






The original wheels of my 409 were not very healthy; they looked nice but were warped and there was some rust. Original new spares being unobtainable, I decided to find the way to adapt modern wheels, as the excellent Vredestein 185x80 radials would work better on a 6" wide rim. I looked around for modern replacements to use daily with the Vredestein radials, keeping the original rims for Concours, once restored, with their appropriate Avon Turbospeeds.

The original Dunlop 5Jx16" steel wheels. They will be restored
I checked out many VW/Audi and Mercedes wheels: they all have the same 5x112 mm bolt pattern of the Bristol, but many have a smaller central hole or they didn't have the right offset or backspacing. At the end I decided to try to adapt this Mercedes-Benz 'B-Klasse' 6Jx16" steel wheel

The Mercedes wheel was tested for size on the 409, and it proved dimensionally perfect. I respect Daimler Benz' technical excellence

This excellent M-B wheel has only one flaw: it doesn't have any provision for holding the Bristol chrome hub cap in place. Officina Bugamelli in Bologna was charged the task to fit the proper studs

This is how the Mercedes wheels looked after they had been skillfully adapted by Mr. Bugamelli

The wheels in the painting booth of Mr. Bedosti's shop in Faenza, being finished in the same Silver M607 used for the the roof of my 409

The weight saving is amazing: the complete Dunlop wheel with the necessary tube and Avon Turbospeed tyre weighs 23 kg, the tubeless M-B wheel and a radial Vredestein only 15,90 kg!
Ventilation will also be improved by these 20 large oval holes (Dunlops have 15 smaller circular holes)

A view from inside shows the ample space allowed by the M-B wide steel wheel to the brakes and the suspension components

Fitting a set of 16" chrome rings supplied by to the M-B steel wheels was very easy

The visual results of this conversion are quite pleasant

The final result (22 June 2011)

P.S. The chrome rings, though quite nice, were a little noisy: on potholes they seemed to 'ring' a bit. I am sure that they can be silenced easily, fitting rubber seals around the rim and bending appropriately the metal fixing 'tongues', but this is a job that I'll keep for winter


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