The Wombat: Time to try on some shoes – Video


Project Wombat is moving along, albeit a tad more slowly than I’d hoped. We’re still sourcing the folks who are going to help us swap in a new engine, but we’re talking to some talented people and narrowing things down. Still, that doesn’t mean other facets of the project have to sit dormant. That’s why I had friend of Hooniverse Leo (AKA CNCpics) stop by so we could check out the fitment of some wheels and tires.

We’re going to be upgrading the rubber on this wagon, so we need a larger wheel for the job. Currently, the car wears rather lovely 14-inch rollers but we’re going to be swapping in some 17-inch wheels. Our friends at Axis Wheels are interested in the project, so Leo came equipped with their OG San wheel wrapped in 225/45R 17 size tires. Hop the jump to see how that wheel and tire combo fits on the car.


Now, I expect the crowd to be fairly divided on this potential wheel choice. It’s a larger wheel, which some of you will hate but I hope you can appreciate us going with a more classically European style. This wheel reminds of the older BBS basketweave wheels you could find on BMW vehicles of the era. Direct all potential hatemail to, thanks.

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26 responses to “The Wombat: Time to try on some shoes – Video”

  1. GTXcellent Avatar

    I like 'em. I certainly wouldn't go any bigger (and in fact, would personally have looked at a 16"), but they definitely change the whole vibe of the car.

  2. Bryce Womeldurf Avatar

    Looks good to me, just curious why the all season tires?

    1. Jeff Glucker Avatar
      Jeff Glucker

      in case of future road trips… the A/S 3 performs well enough that I'm not worried about dry weather performance taking a hit.

      1. Bryce Womeldurf Avatar

        That makes sense.

  3. $kaycog Avatar

    Jeff, of course, I'd notice that you are wearing flip-flops. Please wear shoes when working on car.
    Also, I do like your wheels.

    1. Jeff Glucker Avatar
      Jeff Glucker

      Leo did all the work… those are Business Casual Flip-Flops here in California

      1. SVT2888 Avatar

        Yeah, have the Mexican do all the work why don't you?!

  4. Sjalabais Avatar

    No hate here, but I think the wheels spoil the integrity of the wagon. Size, colour and design are wrong seen with my eyes. But since the Wombat is going through quite a transformation, I am excited to see how it turns out when finished.

    1. Jeff Glucker Avatar
      Jeff Glucker

      We're putting a HEMI in it… we're way past the preservation of integrity. 😉

      1. Sjalabais Avatar

        That is absolutely true, yet I would still say that a Merc wagon with a HEMI in it might look best just like the common gasser. Technical integrity is a whole other thing for me. But that's just taste, I guess.

        1. mdharrell Avatar

          I also think it would look best as a gasser wagon.
          <img src="; width="500">

          1. Vairship Avatar

            But will he fit lakepipes, or won't he?

  5. LTDScott Avatar

    I like!

  6. engineerd Avatar

    When you said 17-inch rims I was all like 🙁 Then I saw how they look and I was all like 😀

  7. p33tor Avatar

    I havent watched the video yet, but looking at the header image, all I can think is; "JEEZ!!! How long is your garage!"

  8. Rover1 Avatar

    Yup, for a car that originally had 14"s, 17"s with that tyre size are about the biggest I'd use (and what I am using on my Lancia Gamma, which had 14"s originally)
    Incidentally, given the apparent prevalence of 'dub plus' fittings to some vehicles in the US, is their any legal requirement to keep to the approximate original overall wheel/tyre diameter?

    1. rwb Avatar

      Judging by Donks, no.

  9. dead_elvis Avatar

    Nooooo! SMH for rubber bands on oversize wheels. This era MB (& its contemporaries) just look SO wrong with anything less than 65-series tires.

    1. duurtlang_ Avatar

      Agreed. These Benzes look awful with large wheels, as most older cars do anyway. Aesthetically old Mercs of this vintage are very easy to screw up and even some moderate changes can turn these from looking homely to trailer park ready. These new wheels very easily qualify for the latter. But that just might be my European sensibility.
      I wouldn't have gone for anything larger than 15" myself.

    2. facelvega Avatar

      Glucker does make the one semi-reasonable argument here, that to get better tires these days, you have to go up to bigger wheels. It's tough finding anything good for a 14, and even a 15 is getting tricky. However, there are solid 15 inch options, and tons of choices at 16.
      17 inches doesn't do this car any favors aesthetically, and in performance terms, it will buy a little cornering ability by sacrificing a little acceleration (big wheels=unsprung weight) and a lot of ride comfort. Nein, danke.
      Setting aside the size issue, I'm torn. There are about a million worse choices that Glucker could have made, they don't look terrible. But I still prefer the original benz wheels, some of my favorite stock 80s wheels.

      1. Vairship Avatar

        Plus he may be doing this as a demonstration video,and may secretly swap the old wheels back on afterwards…

  10. Manic_King Avatar

    IMHO silver or graphite grays look nicer than gold, which seems like too much bling…..and I'd go for 16 inchers.
    <img src="; width="572">

  11. E Rommel Avatar
    E Rommel

    No gold ! 16 inch silver grey is the way. Anything larger is just too "hood". Glad you didn't put on the AMG boat anchors Now, about the flared fenders with the flames…

  12. FЯeeMan Avatar

    I think a 17" will look fine in silver or grey.
    As for the video, PLEASE turn down the volume of the intro/outro, or turn up the volume of talking in between. Headphones area mandatory at the office, and that was a touch painful.


    <img src="; width="600">
    Since it's now obvious that you aren't really going for a sleeper vibe, why not put some flares on it so you can fit some real rubber under there? 225s are so narrow, and it would let you run some more sidewall to recapture some old school feel with the 17" wheels. I think 17s are a great choice for several reasons (tire size choice/availability and brake fitment primary among them), but this isn't a car to have rubber bands on. You could run a 255/45/17 on the front and a 285/40/17 on the back, which would look AMAZING. But in any case, I LOVE the wheel choice. Absolutely perfect feel, and I've always been a gold wheel fan 🙂