Adding lightness; losing likeness?

Sort of going with this weekends theme of handling and unsprung weight, I have fitted alloys from an icon onto my not-so-icon.  Miata wheels on a Toyota Echo isn’t completely unheard of.  There are a few who have thrown on later model five-spoke alloys of an NB Miata onto theirs, while a Yaris guru often under the name “The Barber” has tried them on his red hatchback before.

Why Miata wheels on an Echo?
There are admittedly other wheels that could have been put onto the Echo from Toyota and Scion.  The Mk1 MR2 or Mk3 MR2 Spyder could have fit (the latter weigh in at 16lbs), first-gen Prius wheels weigh 12lbs, and of course the Echo had optional five-spoke alloys shared with the 2000-2001 Corolla S, or even the Yaris line that replaced the Echo in 2006 could have worked.  However, the 14″ steel wheels of an Echo weighed the same as the optional 14″ wheels, the Prius wheels are bland, and why bother upping weight with Yaris or MR2 Spyder sets, or having dated 1980’s MR2 wheels from a car older than me?

The Echo manual weighs around the same as a Miata, has the same hub, offset, and bolt pattern, and these alloys seem to just go with my Pheobes’ “look.”  Though, admittedly, I’ve been missing the deep-dish look of the steelies and beauty rings with the hand-painted white letters.  Others have voiced the same thing.

When actually weighing the options, however, I saved 18lbs overall by the switch.  The steelies are a unique look but only that.  They’ll grace the wells from time to time, but the alloys are proving fun and are stylistically pleasing on camera so far.  Now for a 1.2″ drop….

Considering the bumps and bruises the now 460,000 mile car has endured, the steelies and letters were a shout-out of “I don’t give a damn” fun, and a nod to the old-school.  Now, though, where is the Pheobe I’ve piloted since 2006 heading?  If as some believe, a car is a reflection on the owner, I guess we’ll have to see.

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