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Chicagoland MG Club: Driveline
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  Chicagoland MG Club:Driveline
Go Brit Baby! - Tech Sessions

Steve Merical Minilite Wheel Alternative

The scheduled speedi-sleeve tech session got postponed because a vendor sent the wrong sleeves and the correct item is backordered. So, instead we spent September 16th helping a ’77 MGB get back on the road.

The tech session was pretty straightforward. We adjusted the valves, set the timing, and then some expert MGB mechanics in attendance got the dual S.U.s adjusted properly. The happy B owner motored down the road.

We found a few other issues: The carb side motor mount was broken and the car quickly overheats. The thermostat is missing from the car and is the likely cause for the overheating. The owner plans to buy the necessary parts and finish the job.

I thought I would take the rest of this space to bring a minilite/panasport wheel alternative to the attention of MGA and MGB owners.

I had heard that a few people have run Saab wheels on their cars but couldn’t find anyone with first hand experience - other than using a Saab space saver spare tire. So, I decided to take the plunge first hand to find out for myself. I bought 4 Carroll Shelby wheels from a ’86 Saab 900 Turbo. The Shelby wheel looks identical to the 8-spoke minilite replica or panasport rims you find for sale in British parts catalogs costing $750 and above for a set of four.

The Shelby wheels cost me $300 (including delivery). A more patient person could probably pick them up at the local salvage yard for about $25-30 per rim. They are 5-1/2” by 15” and the bolt pattern is identical to the MGA and MGB.

Make sure you look for the mid-80s Saabs. Some of the later years went to a different bolt pattern and/or a wider 6” rim. The wheels are easy to identify, they look just like a minilite but have “Carroll Shelby” in small raised letters on the rim.

Another Saab alternative is the Ronal rim, which is also a minilite style wheel. I have no experience with the Ronal, but a contact in Sweden subsequently told me he picked up a set of Ronal rims at a salvage yard for $110. He plans to buy 185/55 15 tires and put them on his MGB GT. Saabs are plentiful in Sweden so these minilite style wheels are probably easier to find there.

The closest stock size tire for a MGA is about 165/75. However, with these Shelby rims I’m running 195/60 high-speed tires and there is still plenty of space available with no wheel rubbing. The rim offset must be very close to the standard MG wheel. MGB owners will need to confirm how wide a tire they can put on.

The wheels look and handle great. As an added bonus, it seems to have eliminated a high-speed shake I was having which caused me to drop out early on the Abingdon Endurance Trials.

Searching the web at <> you can find used Shelby wheels from suppliers for about $65 each and the Ronal wheel for about $40 each. Saab enthusiasts better keep and eye on their wheels or they might just end up on a MG!

For a picture of the Shelby minilite wheels on my MGA go to:

We are re-scheduling the speedi-sleeve tech session for October 21st at 9:30 a.m. in St. Charles, IL. Feel free to contact me for more information.

Steve Merical - - 630-443-4985

©2001 Chicagoland MG Club, All rights reserved.