I started off this week thinking I would be able to finish flaring the quarter panels. I put the wheels and tires on, ran them through the suspension travel, and to my surprise, found they didn’t fit. The stock Prelude has 205/50/16 tires on 16x6.5, 42mm offset wheels. These tires are 24.1” overall diameter and were hitting inside the wheel well long before full bump travel. I was able to modify the wheel wells to get them to fit, but I have very little clearance, which limits tire diameter to 25”. I want to use the widest wheel I can on the rear, which is 8” with 42mm offset, to clear the upright. The only way to use a wider wheel is to reduce the offset, which means all of the extra width sticks out the side and increases the quarter panel flare. The car looks very wide at the rear already, so I’ve decided to use 8” 42mm offset wheels. Naturally, I’d like the widest tire possible on the rear, which for an 8” wheel is 235 or 245. With the 25” diameter limitation, there is one 16” tire available (245/45/16) and two 17” tires available (235/40/17 and 245/40/17). The 245/45/16 is 24.7”, the 235/40/17 is 24.4”, and the 245/40/17 is 24.7” diameter. Therefore I’m going with the 235/40/17’s on 17x8 42mm offset wheels. If I can’t find what I’m looking for in that size, I’ll consider 17x8.5 38mm offset wheels. I’m not going to do anything more to the quarters until I can test fit the new wheels and tires. I want a nice tight fit between the side wall and inner edge of the quarter panel.
I have a couple of situations to deal with on the front also. The stock size wheels and tires are rubbing the chassis rail at full lock, and, with Prelude uprights on Integra control arms, I have about -3.5 degrees camber at static ride height. So now I have to find a wheel/tire package for the front that not only fits, but also matches the style and brand of the rear wheels, at an obviously smaller size. I will also be modifying the front upper control arm mounts so I can adjust camber, caster, camber gain, roll center, and anit-dive. I’ll probably end up with something very similar to what I did on the rear.
The following pics are an attempt to give a rough idea of the shape the car will have with the flared quarters. The wheels are at approximately (calculated) static ride height. The quarter panel has a clamp holding it at the wheel well, and duct tape holding it at the top. I stuck the rear bumper on and the front corner has a piece of duct tape holding it in place. The side skirts are from the Prelude, which fit perfectly length wise, and follow the contour of the bottom of the quarter flare. You can also see the excess negative camber at the front. The pics aren’t very good as the garage just isn’t big enough to get a shot at a good angle. You have to imagine the rear tires will be about an inch wider than the 205’s.
The next three pics are scans of some concept sketches done by my son Eric. He’s a junior in Mechanical Engineering at NCSU and is working on a minor in design. I am obviously very proud of him. He would tell you that these are practice sketches, but I think they are really cool. Note the four exhaust tips on the second sketch. When he’s finished with the detailed side scoop designs, I’ll post them and you can tell me what you think.