Most of this list of the coolest old-school wheels is based on a balance of rarity and popularity. But just because a wheel is aged and hard to find doesn't automatically mean it's sought after by enthusiasts and builders.
It's interesting to note that most of this list is made up of 14-inch SSR rims from the 1980s, wheels typically made for small rear-wheel-drive Datsun and Toyotas. The few wheels from the '90s are those that were made popular by the Honda explosion in the very early part of the decade. Ugly, striking, unusual, atypical, over-priced—whatever you want to call them, here are 20 of the coolest old-school wheels ever released, in no particular order.
- Techno Racing Yayoi
- Techno Racing Tomcat Speed
- Techno Racing Phantom
- Devil Japan Shadow Spoke
- RS Watanabe 8-Spoke
- TRD Tosco
- Techno Racing Star Shark
- Takechi Project Hart
- Mugen NR10R
- Techno Racing TRV
- SSR EX-C Neo
- SSR Super Mesh
- SSR Longchamp XR-4
- SSR EX-C Mesh
- Work Equip 02
- Impul Hoshino G5
- Hayashi Street
- SSR Formula Mesh
- Panasport G7-G5C2
- Speed Star MK-I
Techno Racing Yayoi
Because of its design, the Techno Racing Yayoi wheels are also called "Sakura," which means "cherry blossom." These also happen to be the only Techno Racing wheels available in pink.
Techno Racing Tomcat Speed
For some reason, looking at this wheel always reminded us of the U.S. Navy's Grumman F-14 Tomcat fighter. Somebody cue up Kenny Loggins's "Danger Zone" ...
Techno Racing Phantom
The only reason these are cooler than the Star Sharks is because of how rare they are. They are especially hard to find in the three-piece version.
Devil Japan Shadow Spoke
Don't you want the Devil's shadow on your car?! Actually, the centers bear a striking resemblance to the red sun symbol on the flag of New Mexico.
RS Watanabe 8-Spoke
Racing Service Watanabe has been around since 1966, and this is one of only a few wheels on this list that is still being produced. And why should they stop? It's got a classic look that never goes out of style.
These dartboard-looking wheels were so popular you'll see them on not only Toyotas but Datsuns as well.
Techno Racing Star Shark
This rim style has been reproduced by a few manufacturers since the original and is another in the trend of rollers that feature constellation-themed centers.
Takechi Project Hart
The Takechi Project Harts are arguably the first ancestral racing harts.
Here is another dartboard-looking wheel much like the TRD Tosco. We think these look more like street sewer caps though. The Honda boys love their Mugen and this is the most expensive wheel for them with a cost close to $4,000 in used condition. Yes, $4,000 used condition wheels.
Techno Racing TRV
Although it's nearly impossible to find in a three-piece, these are the company's most common wheel.
SSR EX-C Neo
Out of the entire EX-C line, the Neo was the first and the most popular. While the mesh, fins, and defis had the same center caps, the Neos had an even more complex cap with an extra top piece.
SSR Super Mesh
Taking the SSR EX-C mesh to another level, the Super Mesh brought in more and longer spokes that utilized an electron-locking center cap.
SSR Longchamp XR-4
It's easy to find SSR Longchamps since so many were sold. But it's impossible to find a set with a clean, original brushed face finish.
SSR EX-C Mesh
After the success of the SSR Formula Mesh, Reverse Mesh, and Full Reverse Mesh, the EX-C Mesh brought in high technology with the electronic center cap.
Work Equip 02
Rumor is Work discontinued the Work 02 and kept Equip 01 and Equip 03 because the Equip 02 was too expensive to manufacture.
Impul Hoshino G5
Impul is a company that strictly modifies Nissans. However, the G5 is so popular you'll find them on not just Datsuns but numerous Toyotas too. The wheel was named after a famous Japanese racer for Impul named Hoshino.
Still available to this day, these wheels have stood the test of time.
SSR Formula Mesh
This is by far SSR's most popular wheel. You've probably seen it in sizes ranging from 13- to 17-inch and on cars from the '70s to the late '90s.
These wheels are perfect on anything RWD from the Mid '90s such as the FC RX-7, S13 240SX, JZA70 Supra, or Z32 300ZX.
Speed Star MK-I
You can still get the full line of SSR MK series I, II, and III because they are so popular that SSR wouldn't dare discontinue them.