The Art of Compromise
The coolest thing about Jonathan Ward, the owner of TLC/Icon 4x4, is that he will freely admit that if he didn't own Icon he would not be able to afford an Icon. Guys like Jonathan Ward and Rob Dickinson, owner of Singer Vehicle Design (also, nephew of Bruce and retired rock star in his own right) are part of a new breed of car modifiers. Specializing solely in "restomods," they take cheap (or should be cheap) cars and make them worth the cost of an American starter home by cutting exactly zero corners.
It's nice work if you can get it and a pretty cool trick. The problem, of course, is that Jonathan ward cannot afford his own work. Neither can I. Not only can I not afford Jonathan Ward's work, I can't afford to pretend to perform a single Icon or Singer level build. Apparently I find "price no object" to be objectionable.
Also I hate myself for that last line.
Tires and wheels are the best, bang for buck, investment you can make to your car. Lighter wheels will improve all areas of your car's performance and replacing the all season tires that come standard with moth cars with something better suited to your actual environment and driving style will work wonders for your cars responsiveness.
Also, most cars come with kind of "meh" wheels, so getting rid of those will only make your car look better.
In the realm of replacement wheels it's almost impossible to fault the Volk TE37. It's strong, light, and looks good in almost every application. If there was a "perfect wheel" it would be hard to come up with a better candidate.
After I bought Handsome Rob back I immediately spent more than I had paid on him to get the clutch and timing chain replaced. After that hard hit to my budget I made the decision that no single mod should cost more than the purchase price of the car. I don't think that is unreasonable. So, I don't think I'll be getting any TE37s.
Fortunately for me, the popularity of TE37s means that every wheel manufacturer makes a knockoff and after much looking, the knockoff I picked was the TRMotorsport C4. It seems that The Tire Rack has decided that they should launch a house brand wheel and the specs are pretty impressive. For my application there was a 17x8" wheel (an inch wider than stock) that came in at 19lbs (three pounds less than stock) for under $150 a pop. This, combined with a slightly wider tire, gives me just over a half inch of additional contact patch.
For the same money I could have gotten a lighter wheel (The Konig Backbone comes in at 16lbs) but not as big (the aforementioned Konigs are 7.5" wide). I could have gotten a bigger wheel (18x8" and 18x8.5" wheels are available) but mostly those weigh more than stock and the car already rides more than stiff, sidewall is appreciated.
When it comes right down to it, I feel that I made the right choice when having to pick between $$, weight, and ride. Apparently 8" wide wheels count as an "aggressive fitment" but I haven't had any issues with rubbing and the Bridgestone Potenza RE71rs appear to be made out of fly paper. First mod complete and successful, now for some fiddly bits.