Lotus Elan

Magna Jap Wheels

PostPost by: Bob Horzmann » Mon Sep 06, 2004 12:23 pm

I have a 1969 S4 Elan that has alloy wheels maked Magna Jap. The are a styled 4 spoke wheel. They may be slightly wider than stock and currently mount 185/70 tires. I would appreciate any information. Thank you Bob Horzmann
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PostPost by: elj221c » Wed Sep 08, 2004 6:58 pm

Hello, Bob,
I thought I was the only person around with an Elan on JAP wheels! Rears are 7", fronts 6". The body is flared to match, of course, with 2.25 springs on the rear. I ran 205 and 185 340 Uniroyals until the car was stored in '90.
The wheels, called Magna, were retailed by J.A. Pearce ( John, I think) of 10 Western Road, Southall, Middlesex. He used to advertise full page on the back cover of Cars and Car Conversions in the late '60s.
He used to advertise some pretty odd stuff like a Ferrari Superfast engine, big Ford and Cadillac engines, racing cars and others like Peerless, Ferrari, Lamborghini and Morris Oxfords! He was also a bit odd, according to a friend of mine who bought some of his wheels for a modsport Sprite. Could be a bit short, but my mate did get a good deal in exchange for putting stickers on the side of the car. Such was sponsorship in the early days!
He also sold Magna steering wheels.
The road wheels were bolt on and knock on and some could be had split rim. (Mk 11) He also sold knock on spinners to match. Standard colour was 'Hammer Silver'. Special colour finish was 25 shillings extra. Mine were originally black with silver rims and front faces of the ribs.
My experience is that they are rather delicate, especially after all these years and you would almost certainly not get them past a race or speed event scrutineer. In fact as long ago as 1988, a well known tyre retailer in Hampshire refused to take any responsibility whilst fitting tyres to the rims and for any subsequent failure. I also had one very poor apprentice tyre fitter break out the valve hole as he failed to remove the valve before removing the tyre from the rim on his machine. I did have it repaired successfully by the wheel place in Jeddo Road near Hammersmith.
By-the-way, my knock ons do not have a steel ring like Panasport and I beleive, the new Minilites. The centre is very thick and the spinner bears directly on a machined taper in the front of the wheel.
Hope this was of use.
Roy
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PostPost by: Bob Horzmann » Thu Sep 09, 2004 1:07 am

Thank you for the information. I think that from the discription of the wheels matches well. The wheels that I have are probably 6 inch wide. My car, an 1969 S4, also has flaired fenders that are really just an upturned lip. They match the body style without looking bulky. My bonnet has the front of the buldge for the carbs removed and a nice air intake created.
You may still claim the only set of Magna wheels in Europe. My car , and I reside in the U.S.
Thanks again and safe journeys, Bob
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PostPost by: lotus026 » Thu Sep 09, 2004 5:03 am

Hmmm, I've got a set also - got them off a guy here in the US that bought them on E-bay, and ended up not using them. Mine are knock - on's, only 5" rim width - but very positive offset; they stick out more than my 5 1/2" Elan +2 wheels do. And no way would they clear the body at all if I didn't have the 26R flares, the outer rim edge sits in the exact same place as the 6" wide set of Minilites I was having built for me at the same time I stumbled into the Magna's - and yes, the Minilites do have a metal reinforcing ring in the center.
Dave
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PostPost by: tonyabacus » Thu Sep 09, 2004 10:56 pm

Hi Bob
The wheels you have were made by an English company who manufactured them in the 1960'2 through to the 1970's. The company was J A Pearce Engineering in Southall, Middlesex. This is just on the western outskirts of London.

Time has dimmed my memory but I recall they made lightweight wheels for racing and due to demand extended their range to incorporate road cars.

The style of all their wheels were the same and true to fashion yours should have aheavy dish to the outside with a number of thin ribs extending from the centre to the outer edge of the wheel.

At the time they were extremely popular and were to be seen on many race cars.

I seem to also recall that they produced a brochure which if you are interested it may be worth speaking with one of the English companies that advertise old race literature to se if they can locate a copy for you. They do not come up for sale very often so are quite sought after when they do.

I hope this fills in some of the background for you.

Regards
Tony Webb
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PostPost by: Elan45 » Tue Aug 16, 2016 1:11 pm

The wheels look like JAP Magnas to me. I have a set on my Falcon bodied Sprite and if I ever can get my +2S running again, would like a set for it too.

Roger
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