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Wheel Dictionary
Wheel Dictionary

Author: John Lee

This is a "dictionary" of Mini wheels available, mostly in the aftermarket. Some of these wheels have been around since the car's conception in 1959, while others are brand new technological wonders. Some are inexpensive and some extremely expensive. Some are plentiful and some are quite rare. And, finally, some are "copies" of traditional wheels.

Maybe you are not totally in love with the wheels that came with your car. Well, here is a dictionary (or catalog) of many wheels available.

Please Note: This page is is an ongoing project. Use the links below to see some more comprehensive listings of Mini wheels.

We're only going to have a fraction of the wheels available here, mostly those of MOT members, but here is a link to a very comprehensive listing created by another Mini fanatic.
http://www.mini-mayfair.net/felgen.html

And here is yet another Mini wheel web site.
http://www3.tsl.uu.se/~micke/mini/tech/miniwheels.htm

NOTE: one way to get a set of any of the not-in-production wheels is to find sellers who are selling one or two wheels they don't need and then building a set up of your own. I've done this more than once. At the same time I've run across a set of, say 6" wheels after having purchased a 5" set earlier. That is why I've got six sets of wheels plus an extra or two.

If you have some interesting wheels, please feel free to send a high-resolution picture so we may add them to this dictionary. Send pictures to [email protected].


Contents:

    * 1 Mini Wheels
    * 2 Mamba
          o 2.1 5 x 10 & 6 x 10
                + 2.1.1 Rim Stem
                + 2.1.2 5" vs 6" Mambas
    * 3 Cosmic MK II
          o 3.1 5 x 10 & 6 x 10
    * 4 Gemini
          o 4.1 5 x 10
          o 4.2 BWA
                + 4.2.1 5 x 10
          o 4.3 KN Jupiter
                + 4.3.1 5 x 10
          o 4.4 GT 6
                + 4.4.1 6 x 10

Mini Wheels

Obviously, some of these wheels need some TLC. If you have photo of cleaned up version, please feel free to send a high-resolution jpeg file.

Information here isn't the last word. An attempt is being made to gather some historic information about these wheels but this info is sketchy at best, especially for wheels that were produced nearly 50 years ago and have been out of production for years. In as many cases as possible old advertisements and articles are used as sources.

Mamba


5 x 10 & 6 x 10

A very popular and sought after wheel but somewhat hard to find because it is no longer produced and no "copies" are being produced. Three common models with two variations: 5", 5.5", and 6" wide models and early and late editions.

The early edition had valve stem "inside" rim hidden amongst the spokes (see above) while later version had valve stem in outer rim (below).

Mark, a United Kingdom member of the MiniMania board, says that, "(the) Mamba lightweight alloy wheels were designed by a mate of my Dad's, John Thornton, back around 1966-67. They were originally designed for Minis and were available in 5", 5 1/2" & 6" as standard".

"Any other size you wanted (I have seen up to 10 x 10") could be done to special order; these large sizes were used on single seaters of the day. John Thornton was also a friend of Alan Staniforth the designer/constructor of a Mini-based world record holding home made single seater called the Terrapin".

Mark goes on to say, "Mamba wheels were extremely successful from the outset selling many, many sets as they were considerably lighter & less expensive than the more exotic competition. Mambas were only cast in LM5 Alloy.

"The Mamba project was sold in the early 70's and has passed through many hands since, I think the last firm to make Mambas was MWS, but this was some years ago now," Mark said.

MiniMania board member speedpilot relates that, "My earliest resource for Mambas is a 1976 Mini City catalog where the 6" natural finish wheels are $43 each or a set of 4 for $170 and finished in black are $48 each and $190 for a set of four".

Best Attribute: an extremely light wheel for not being magnesium. Center caps are being reproduced and available, if not hard to find. Try UK parts shops.

When searching the web today I found a 5 x 10 set that were offered on MAOLA's club site for $350.00 in 2005. However, I found a set of 6" Mambas off a race car in 2006 for $200.00 in UK. Friends brought them over as baggage on their flight home from a Mini event.


Rim Stem


5" vs 6" Mambas

Cosmic MK II


5 x 10 & 6 x 10

The Cosmic series aftermarket wheel includes several variations but arguably the II is the most popular and most common version. The original design had black between the spokes. Keith, a Canadian on the MM board, says that Canadian dealers offered Cosmics in their "all dressed" packages.

Several Mini owners have media blasted their IIs and painted them a solid color such as yellow and they look very nice that way. The majority of the Cosmic IIs you find will, however, be the original paint scheme.

Attributes: strong but not light. Comes in 5" and 6" wide versions. Fairly attainable and reasonably priced even though not being made now nor are "copies" being manufactured. Relative availability is probably due to more of them having been made and being less expensive when new than Mambas.

Mini buyers who bought cars with these wheels on them sometimes change to Minilites or a "copy" of that very traditional Mini wheel, so there is often a set of Cosmic IIs for sale somewhere in country. They will be snatched up by Mini owners who want a classic look yet not be one of the herd with Minilite type wheels. Quite often one will see a set for sale on MiniMania board or someone asking for a set.


Gemini


5 x 10

The set I bought were imported by me from Canada. Keith, from MM board, says wheel is a UK wheel and sold for 7.81 GBP each according to an original ad he has.

The Gemini is an interesting aftermarket design in that it reminds me of the very pricey Italian mags that came on my 1971 Fiat 850 Coupe or Cromodoras seen on Ferraris during the 80s. They also look a lot like the modern mags seen on virtually every small car today. My wife's Suzuki mags show a bit of heritage from this design school.

Originally they were painted black between the spokes but, like the Cosmic II, can be painted a solid color. The pictured wheel set is probably going to be painted a mag silver/grey or anthracite. I bought these to use for race rain/street tires which are fairly narrow.

Attribute: Different, look like expensive Cromodoras but are inexpensive, and a bit more modern design without going overboard. I bought whole set for under $100.00 from Canadian.


BWA


5 x 10

BWA is a relatively new aftermarket wheel from Italy. This is one variation. Do not know specific model name/number of this one. See link at top of section to see all BWA variations.


KN Jupiter


5 x 10

The KN Jupiter is another fairly recent aftermarket wheel in the vein of the BWA. The owner of the wheel said it came on a 1977 Mini that had been parked in the mid-80s. It looks like an 80s design.

Deb, a Canadian on the MM board says that Jupiters, known as JPC, were offered on Canadian Minis when sold as were Cosmics when the car had the "all dressed" pkg.


GT 6


6 x 10

GT 6 mag shown unpainted. The back of the wheel is marked "M.A.G. Product", SM499, and Made in England. The front is marked 6BX10GT and Type 103.


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