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Top Gear's Top 9

Top Gear’s Top 9: three-spoke wheels

In celebration of the most unloved of all the wheel designs

Koenigsegg Regera
  1. Range Rover Classic

    Range Rover Classic

    Why has the original Range Rover design endured? Because it’s so unpretentious. The body wasn’t even styled: they simply signed it off with the unadorned aluminium panelwork the development team had been using on the test mules. Today’s Range Rover is an extremely minimalist design, so perhaps it’s time for Land Rover to offer an OEM-tri-spoke option?

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  2. Mazda RX-7

    Mazda RX-7

    Extra style points got to Mazda here, which managed to combine the pursuit of three-spoke wheel perfection with a nod to what actually powered the car sat on top of them. That rounded triangle motif in the late Eighties RX-7 wheel was actually a nod to the shape of the rotary cylinder as found in the Wankel engine. Scarily high oil usage not pictured.

  3. Saab 900 Aero Turbo

    Saab 900

    Saab had a rich seam of form in three spoke wheels, with various models right up to the early-2000s 9-5 saloon being available with handsome triple-spoke rims. Our favourite, after much debate, are the thickset, almost monobloc-looking wheels fitted to the 900 Aero Turbo from the late 1980s. They work so well because everything about the car is quirky: the shape, the interior layout, the mechanical set-up, so why not the wheels too?

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  4. Brabus Monoblock SL

    Brabus SL

    Is there a 1990s-era Mercedes that doesn’t suit a Brabus Monoblock II? Arguably not, since the German tuners made merry with fitting them for their discerning clients, across S, E and SL classes. And they’ve now revived the design for a newly tuned SL, giving the three-pointed star a three-pointed rim.

  5. Suzuki Vitara

    Suzuki Vitara

    These days the Suzuki Vitara is a nice-but-anonymous village green runabout permanently tuned to Classic FM. In the Nineties however, before it grew up and got all hybrid-sensible, it was a wacky tearaway with an exposed spare wheel, lairy graphics and wheels with too few spokes. And look! Tyre writing. When it grows up it wants to be Marty McFly’s truck out of Back To The Future.

  6. Koenigsegg Regera

    Koenigsegg Regera

    Supercars and three-spoke wheels don’t tend to mix, but trust Koenigsegg to buck the trend. Their carbon split tri-spoke for the Regera is among the lightest wheels fitted to any supercar, and Christian von K himself claims the design simply wouldn’t be possible with a conventional metal alloy wheels. We reckon he just really hates cleaning alloy spokes.

  7. Vauxhall Nova SR

    Vauxhall Nova SR

    A car from a more innocent time. Wait, innocent is the wrong word when you’re talking about a joyrider’s classic. But although you never see them these days despite once being among Britain’s commonest cars, the ‘warm’ Nova with its 72bhp of 1.3-litre fury is as quintessentially late Eighties as a red-braced stockbroker in whaletail 911. And don’t those tri-point wheels suit the angular looks to a tee?

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  8. Dodge Viper

    Dodge Viper

    If you’re building a car that does without a roof, exterior door handles, driver aids, or airbags, its only right and proper you do away with a wheel spoke or two. The Viper's swept three-spokes with imitation centrelock lugnuts are peak early 1990s chic.

  9. Ford Ka

    Ford Ka

    Sometimes, something’s so bizarrely ugly, it comes full circle (pun not remotely intended) and becomes wonderful. And that’s the case for the three-spoke alloy wheels fitted to the top of the range Ford Ka ‘3’ in the late 1990s. The slashes, the offset badge, the general lack of symmetry is baffling, and they weigh half a hundredweight to boot, but you just don’t see imagination like this in hatchback wheel design any more.

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