The most impressive part of a car is its wheels. A change in "rolling stock" transforms a car, but LBCs have the advantage. The Brits got it right the first time. Wire wheels, steel wheels, or Rostyle (for MGs) all look great! The tires are the performance part... and you get what you pay for.
This presumes you have checked wheels for "trueness". Don't restore them if they aren't good, or you'll waste your time and money! Truing wire wheels has become a bit of a lost art nowadays; your local motorcycle shop may be able to help you.
To restore a wheel, follow these steps:
- Sandblast! This transforms the wheel, unless it's totally rotten with rust. Sandblasting is very easy, so if you know someone with a sandblaster who will let you do it yourself, you re in luck. Otherwise, find a local sandblaster. $10 for a steel wheel and $20 for a wire wheel is reasonable (a monkey could do it, and it takes about 5 minutes for a steel wheel, 10-15 minutes per wheel).
- At this point, you could take a wire wheel and clear-coat it. This will seal the metal against the elements... as long as you spend good money on a good clear coat! Or, just spray with a good paint of the appropriate color, and then clear coat.
- To keep the wheel from rusting long into the future, spray some gray primer all over, including the inside of the wheel (between the rims). I used Krylon primer.
The next steps apply to Rostyle wheels:
- Rostyle (Like mine): I bought some "Plasti-Kote Car Color" paint code GM7184. It's a dark silver that is a very close match to the original not too bright like most "silver" or "aluminum" color paints. Make sure you test it first to ensure it meets your standards.
- Don't bother with the Rostyle mask sold by Moss. After you've allowed the base color (silverish) to dry at least 24 hours, sit down and patiently mask off the areas that should be black with high-quality 3M masking tape and an Xacto knife.
- Spray the black parts Satin Black. I found a can of Satin Black at Wal-Mart for less than $2. I was very pleased with the results. This same satin black is the proper color for many of your later MG engine parts, too!
- Be VERY CAREFUL when you lift the masking tape! Take your time and be gentle, otherwise, you'll lift that nice, new silver paint underneath.
Enjoy your handsome "new" wheels. It's all in the details and is not as expensive as you might think; about $20 or so per wheel, a bit more for wires.