American Racing Equipment - Le Mans Magnesium Wheels

As of: 12 March 06

Above In 2000 found a set of the American Racing Equipment (ARE) Le Mans Magnesium Alloy Competition wheels, as used by BRE. The seller said that the person he had purchased them from, in Georgia a few years earlier, had told him they had originally came off one of the BRE Cars. Who knows? At any rate they were the correct type and size, so I grabbed them... and stored them in the "Parts Room" (was our spare bedroom) until now.

Shown above they had been painted silver, but seemed to be in pretty good shape for being 30+ years old.

Above A couple applications of Aircraft Type paint stripper, left either the green primer, or the green pinta of magnesium, I'm not sure which.

Above Here you can see that the rims were slightly pitted. Again this is reported to be quite common, when moisture gets under a painted surface on true mag. wheels.

Above After stripping as much paint as possible off the wheels, the next stop was at the Bead Blasting Cabinet. Lucky for me, a friend of a friend.. had a large blasting cabinet and was willing to let me rent it for a few hours, if I brought my own medium. So 60 lbs. of Fine Glass Beads, and four hours later... I had some wheels that were starting to look great.

Above Here you can see that the surface of the rims, after bead blasting was now slightly textured and still slightly pitted. The pitting looked to be only a few mil.'s deep. I had previously hand-sanded, then hand-polished a set of ARE Libre's; in that process I had sanded the skin off my finger tips and spent at least 120 hours of hard labor getting the finish back to where it should be.... I decided that was not the approach to take with this set of Le Mans wheels.

Above A few days calling around the Tampa Bay area, and I finally found a Machine Shop with a Lathe large enough to chuck up a 14" wheel, and turn the rims down a few mil.'s Turned out the same shop also had a CNC machine large enough to use as well. Not wanting to take too much material off, we didn't attempt to remove every pit nor flaw. I'm sure that once on the car, they will "look" nearly perfect to most people.

I have ordered some "Gibbs Brand" penetrating oil, and will be treating the wheels with that. Gibbs oil will help protect the magnesium alloy from moisture, while maintaing the brightly polished appearence of the outer rim lips.