Rob Dickinson- the brains behind Singer Porsche- once said "the wheels make the car", and he's got a pretty good point. We've seen it countless times in our own forums- a base model which decidedly looks extremely meh, turned into a superstar with the right combination of wheel style and size. So when it came time to choose a wheel and tire package for our Golf SportWagen project, we placed great emphasis on doing it properly.
The wheel industry is a vast one with hundreds of manufacturers on display each year at SEMA, and new companies popping up on a fairly regular basis. It all can be a bit overwhelming to be honest, so right off the bat we made the decision to go with a company that's got a solid amount of experience within the Volkswagen community, and would be able to provide guidance when it came to sizing, offsets and tire choice.
In terms of time and effort spent getting to know the ins and outs of the Volkswagen scene and its trends, few come close to California-based wheel company Rotiform . In just a few short years, Rotiform has gone from a relative unknown to one of the most popular brands on the market, constantly pumping out new styles and offering their customers an unparalleled level of customization. Taking into account the end goal of function and form for our SportWagen project, we simply couldn't think of a better wheel company to partner up with.
Rather than dive into the endless possibilities that Rotiform offers, we decided to focus in on something that can be attained by many, rather than worry about coming up with a one-of-one custom. After talking about our project with Rotiform co-founder Jason Whipple, we settled on going with Rotiform's cast IND-T in 19x8.5" with an offset of 42. This size would ensure that we would be able to tuck all four wheels when aired out completely, while still looking quite aggressive at our normal driving height.
With our wheel choice sorted, we took the suggestion of our friends at Fourtitude on tires, ordering a set of Michelin Pilot Sport A/S 3s . Fourtitude has been singing the praises of Michelin for quite some time, and we've always found them to be well worth the price due to their quiet ride and impressive dynamics. And while not the extreme performance Pilot Sport, the A/S 3 is geared more for use in all seasons, featuring a special compound to improve grip at low temperatures and a more generous lifespan. A snow tire it is not, but we can take comfort in the fact that it'll stand up to just about anything else we can throw at it. When it came to tire size, we opted for 225/35/19s. This results in a very slight stretch, allowing for additional fender clearance during normal driving as well as when the car is aired out at an event.
A few anxious weeks later with our air ride officially installed and Waterfest just days away, we took a ride down to AP Tuning to get our tires mounted and balanced, then bolted them to the Golf Sportwagen. As you can see from the pictures, Mr. Whipple's expertise paid dividends, as the fitment is bang-on at all four corners. Sure, some may suggest fitting a small spacer to make our fitment more aggressive in the rear, but as it sits this is the widest can go without modifying the fenders- something we're not quite ready to do.
While we were putting in some wrench time, we also though it would be a good opportunity to install our Volkswagen Accessories Cargo Box Carrier Attachment to assist in the transport of booth items. This extra 12 cubic feet of storage would pay dividends, easily swallowing gear for the show, a few folding chairs and other various items. Just like our other roof accessories, the Cargo Box installs without any fuss, and is surprisingly quiet when sitting atop the vehicle. As an added bonus, the box is double-hinged, meaning that it can be opened from either side. And it looks the business.
Now that we've got the car looking the part, it's time to add some much needed power. See more of Project SportWagen here .