Encyclopedia Hoonatica: Faux Asymmetric Wheels

One of the fancier options common on upmarket car models are asymmetric or “directional” wheels. These usually have some sort of angled “vane” or “turbine” spokes that ostensibly function to extract hot air from around the brake rotor. (Whether they are functionally effective in practice is an unending topic of forum flame wars lively debate.) TRUE asymmetric/directional wheels have mirror-image castings for the right and left, because the wheels on one side of the car rotate opposite the other.
This trick, however, causes some hassles. Not only is there the added cost of two castings, there is the logistical hurdle of two different part numbers in the pipeline, and extra maintenance attention when replacing a damaged rim, installing new tires, or simply rotating tires.
For all those reasons, OEM’s are sometimes tempted to take the quick-and-dirty step of simply using one interchangeable casting for all four wheels, allowing one side of the car to drive on “backwards” wheels. Some folks never notice it, and others go into an OCD rage over it. And thanks to a great suggestion by Sjalabais, that’s your Hoonatian topic for today.
The Caveats (there are always caveats):

  • Original equipment only. No aftermarket wheels, please.
  • Concept cars, prototypes, limited editions, homologation specials, and race cars are fair game as long as they were produced by a major manufacturer or a widely known automotive design house/coachbuilder.
  • Trucks, both light and heavy-duty, are allowed, as long as they are road-legal. No construction machinery, mining equipment, snowmobiles, tractors or lawn mowers.
  • Motorcycles—how would that work?
  • Airplanes and boats: Alright, sure. If you can successfully go there today, I’ll be damned impressed.

Difficulty: Two tokens (unless you’ve purchased the ride-all-day wristband).
How This Works: Read the comments first and don’t post duplicates! Bonus points for adding photos.


  1. GMT400 Chevy Suburbans and 4wd trucks. I had a set modified for my Nissan truck and it always bugged me that they weren’t true directional wheels.

    1. Same deal with C4 Corvettes, except that the factory Goodyear GS-C tires were unidirectional and asymmetrical. You didn’t rotate the tires.

      1. I had a set of GS-C tires on the Syclone. They swap front to rear, but the rims stay in place.

          1. Oh. You said it was the same deal as SyTy, which has identically sized tires at all four corners, and rims that share diameter and width, but different offset f/r.

  2. Shelby Centurion wheels point clockwise. Centurion II wheels point counterclockwise, but are otherwise identical. They were installed a whole set at a time, though.

    1. So, in other words, if you got two Centurion wheels and two Centurion II wheels, you could build yourself a set of true directional wheels?

  3. Wow, you’re good at picking up suggestions. I also just spend too much time trying to find a three rotor hovercraft where the rules above would apply on either left or right side…fruitlessly.
    Quite a lot of Volvo wheels are fake directional, some of them incorporate the turbine air flow effect like the Perfo-wheels posted the other day.

  4. 1986 Acura Integra LS alloys. Note the directional arrow on the rim.
    I had an RS that I traded an old amplifier and the RS wheels/covers for a set of these with the local Acura parts manager. He had a spare set and could sell the RS wheels much easier than the LS. Even though they were clearly marked one of the dealer’s own mechanics managed to mount them backwards (with unidirectional Dunlops to boot!), which I discovered about 400 miles after it had been done.

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