The Pantera Place
"Your de Tomaso Connection"
By Mike Dailey
I've been reviewing my options for wheels on my Pantera. After looking at all of the 15", 16" and 17" wheel options and tires, I decided to use some stock 7" and 8" wide wheels until I could order new 16" and 17" Campagnolo reproduction wheels.
The wheels were in OK shape but two of them had some pitting around the wheel rim caused by wheel weights and so I decided to have the wheels repaired and refinished.
The Campagnolo magnesium wheels are tricky to refinish because heating of the wheel sometimes causes the magnesium to expel gas and damage the paint. I needed to find a wheel expert. I made some phone calls and to my surprise I discovered that I had one of the major wheel repair and refinishing companies within two miles of my house. The company is Wheel Wizard Worldwide. They specialize in repair and refinishing of wheels and have a lot of appearance with magnesium wheels including Pantera wheels.
The first step is checking the wheel for corrosion, cracks, run-out and alignment. Wendell has developed some very special equipment and systems for repairing damaged wheels. No pictures where allowed of this area or process as it is a key element of his business. I was able to take a photo of the equipment used for turning wheels.
After it is determined that the wheel can be repaired, the paint is removed from the outside face by very carful media blasting and chemical striping. Magnesium can be easily damaged by the media so they are very carful how they use the media on the wheel. Chemical striping is the primary way that the old point is removed.
Image of the wheel with the paint removed.
Image of the wheels completely cleaned, checked for alignment and ready for paint.
Powder coat paint does not adhere very well or bridge across the very porous magnesium so special steps must be taken to prepare the wheel for the powder coating. First the wheel is heated in the oven to hopefully release any gassing that might take place after the paint is applied. After the wheel cools a special primer is used that adheres well to the magnesium and seals and fills the porous surface. The primer is then sanded to prep it for the color.
Powder coat paint is not available in brilliant metallic colors so Wendell uses a special wheel paint for the color coat of the wheel. This provides a great metallic silver color base that adheres well to the primmer and to the wheel surface. This method also provides a large selection of colors. After the color coat is applied it is cured under heat lamps.
After the paint has been cured clear powder coat is applied to the wheel.
After the powder coat is applied the wheels are baked in the oven for about 20 minutes and then left to cool down slowly in the oven.
Photos of the completed wheels. They look great! The bright silver color with the clear coat gives them a wet and super shiny look. The surface of the clear coat is like glass with a deep silver depth to the paint. It is hard to show in the photos but as the wheel moves the light reflects from the many angles on the face of the wheel giving them a very stunning look!
There are a lot of companies that do wheel powder coating, but if you what your magnesium wheels done, find a company that has a lot of experience with magnesium and knows what they are doing.
It looks like these wheels will be backup wheels as I ordered Pantera East 16 and 17" wheels. I guess everyone should have a set of freshly refinished stock Campagnolo wheels for their Pantera.