RS Watanabe Wheels: Everything You Need to Know

Aftermarket wheels not only add style and flair to your custom build, but they also have measurable performance benefits owing to lowered unsprung mass and rotational inertia.

There are a dizzying number of aftermarket rims to choose from, with varying styles, materials, and manufacturing processes.

But when it comes to older JDM legends, retro rims reign supreme, and there’s no other wheel brand that screams “retro” louder than RS Watanabe.

Below, we take a closer look at who makes these rims and see what the Watanabe lineup looks like.

Who Makes RS Watanabe Wheels?

AE86 lowered on Watanabe rims

Racing Service Watanabe was founded back in 1967 in Japan by the eponymous Toshiyuki Watanabe. RS Watanabe got its start in motorsport, specifically on Nissan’s race cars of the late ‘60s, like the legendary Hakosuka.

As the brainchild of Toshiyuki Watanabe, the iconic RS Watanabe eight-spoke wheel took its design inspiration from the Minilite, another popular choice for race cars in the ‘60s and ‘70s.

They quickly became Japan’s equivalent, or in a lot of cases, an improved version of the wheel that found itself on everything from classic Minis to Trans Am-spec Mustangs.

Today, RS Watanabe rims are all over Japan’s classic car scene, also known as Kyusha. That explains why it’s difficult to imagine cars like the AE86 and the C10 Skyline GT-R without them.

RS Watanabe’s catalog extends well beyond the iconic eight-spoke design. Let’s have a look at those.

The RS Watanabe Catalog

Today, RS Watanabe’s lineup comprises 5 different models. 2 of them are variations on the iconic Eight Spokes, but 3 of them are unique designs that are still definitely worth your consideration.

Whichever design you go for, they’re all just a tad varied and they’ll each look good on a different sort of car.

Eight Spokes

Eight Spokes

The classic RS Watanabe design is the one that put the company on the map when it appeared on Nissan’s race cars throughout the ’60s. They’re available in a few different colors and sizes ranging from 14″ to 17″.

While you can fit them to a street build, the Eight Spokes are designed to take a beating on the racetrack as well. They’re available in both aluminum and magnesium alloy, depending on the application.

We’ve seen RS Watanabe Eight Spokes on a variety of different cars, but we can all agree that they look the absolute best on the Hakosuka Skyline and the Toyota AE86.

However, they also look good on some other iconic JDM cars, like the original NA Miata, and even classic Porsches.

Forging R

Forging R

The Forging R design has been available for over 20 years now, and until very recently, RS Watanabe only offered this wheel for FWD applications. However, the new deep dish version is also suitable for RWD cars, and it’s the lightest wheel that the company offers right now.

For comparison, while a single Eight Spoke wheel comes in at just under 19 lbs, a single Forging R wheel weighs in at a very impressive 11 lbs. This means that benefits from lowered rotational inertia and unsprung mass should be pretty massive.

Sadly, the Forging R is only available in a single rim size and a single bolt pattern, but they have the potential to look cool on just about anything. The AE86, of course, but also stuff like the Datsun 240Z and other JDM classics, like the Mazda RX-3.



The RS8 is a new, more modern offering from RS Watanabe. It takes the older three-piece design of the RS8 and simplifies it into a 2-piece design for less weight.

It looks very similar to the familiar old Eight Spokes, but they do have a more modern, updated look to them. They’re also some of the only Watanabe rims to be available with 5 lugs, for popular sizes such as 5×114.3.

They’re available in a variety of colors too and they go up to 17″ in diameter, although there’s not a lot of flexibility when it comes to the bolt pattern as you go up the size ladder.

Still, this is a great-looking wheel from RS Watanabe, and it seems to be an ideal fit for kei roadsters and smaller JDM sports cars. Stuff like the NA Miata, the Suzuki Cappuccino, the Honda Beat, etc.



Now for something fresh. The 4S is a slightly different design than the usual stuff from RS Watanabe, as it cuts the spoke count in half. This particular wheel design is more niche than the others, as RS Watanabe also makes it in a 10″ diameter.

That means it’s better suited to classic Minis, and also the original kei cars like the Subaru 360 and the Mazda Carol. The 14″ diameter, meanwhile, should work with something more conventional, like a classic Nissan.

Despite its diminutive size, the 4S still uses the same aluminum construction as the rest of the lineup, and it can still take a beating in just about any driving scenario, whether that would be on the road or on the track.

Gotti MG

Gotti MG

If you like the four-spoke look of the 4S but want something with a little more concave with a little more diameter, the Gotti MG should be right up your alley. It features a similar 4-spoke look to the 4S, but it dials up the size.

It is only available in 15″ but that should be plenty for a lot of older JDM legends, or indeed, European and American cars too. Despite the MG in the name, the Gotti MGs are made of aluminum, but that still means they’re pretty lightweight.

The Gotti MGs will look their absolute best on some type of JDM classic, like the TA22 Toyota Celica, an old 240Z, or even a Hakosuka.

Concluding Summary

8 spoke Watts on widebody stance car

Wondering how to buy Watanabe wheels? They’re available to order directly from the manufacturer’s website, and the price may just surprise you.

The cheapest 10″ Eight Spokes start at just 33,000 yen, or about $224 per wheel, while the largest 19″ Eight Spokes start at 96,000 yen, or about $651 per wheel.

Watanabe replica wheels are always an option if you want to keep costs down, but there’s nothing like the real deal.

If you’re looking for iconic JDM wheels for classic cars like the Celica, RX-7, MR-2, 240Z, or even the Miata, these are the ones to get.

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