Sunday, June 20, 2010

Restoring the S1 Lotus Esprit Wofrace Wheels

The wheels on my S1 Lotus Esprit were painted at the factory to match the color of the car, so after stripping the paint from the wheels, the aluminum material underneath was in excellent shape. I took an orbital brass wire brush to the back of the wheels to remove the old brake dust, and cleaned the recesses where the center caps snap in.

I had the choice of either polishing the wheels or having them turned on a lathe (lathe is how they were produced originally). I opted to polish the wheels, but after many failed attempts trying to do it myself I decided to leave it to a professional.

After the wheels came back, I primed and painted the inside of the spokes flat black. The difference is significant in making the aluminum finish on the wheel faces stand out more.

I purchased a set of aftermarket Wolfrace center caps as my originals were all destroyed. I picked up the best set of tires available in the United States (highest quality and speed rating), which happened to have a remotely similar tread pattern as the originals. My wheel nuts were in bad shape so I purchased a new set, as well as the aluminum insert washers. The last step was to attach the center cap stickers.

In all I expected to spend only a few hundred dollars restoring the wheels and ended up spending several multiples of that. It was one of the unexpected big costs of the restoration, but necessary as the Wolfrace wheels are such a vibrant element of the S1 Lotus Esprit.

What the Wolfrace wheels looked like after removing them from the car.

Removing the old paint to reveal a dull aluminum finish underneath.

The back of the wheels received a good clean to make sure no dirt or brake
dust interfered with the polishing process.

I purchased new wheel nuts and seating washers.

The aftermarket Wolfrace wheel center caps and Lotus decals.

What the wheels looked like after being polished.

Tyres mounted and balanced and ready to go. Job done!


  1. I was shocked at the price of the center caps from a shop here in SoCal. $500 if my memory serves me correctly and they are not even originals! Your wheels turned out great!

  2. Anyone looking for the Lotus Esprit S1 center caps should look here:

    They were much less than $500 per set and match the finish of my polished wheels perfectly. The guy shipped fast and the price was reasonable!

  3. Really nice job!!!
    I'm also restoring an Esprit S1 but I miss the Wolfrace Wheels!!!!
    do you know where I can find some?

  4. I am currently restoring an S1 car, white on tartan plaid, looks like your car will look outstanding once finished. I look forward to seeing pics of the car. What did you end up using for tire size front and rear on the car?

  5. What tires did you end up going with> Lotus Esprit World says:

    Goodyear Grand Prix
    Front: 195/70 HR14
    Rear: 205/70 HR14

    Barry Spencer told my Dunlops

  6. What are the proper Wolfrace Mag codes?
    Let me know if these are the right codes...

    FRONT : 6JX14FHA-He30
    BACK : 7X14 31 OUT

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