I spent a lot of time looking at steering wheels for the RallyWays Miata. The new steering wheel had to be both functional and retro. No funny racing shapes and flat bottoms would do. I finally settled on the Nardi Deep Corn 330mm for Miata you see here.
The Nardi Torino Deep Corn is a steering wheel that stood out to me early on when researching wheels for my Miata. During my research I also found some people call it the Nardi Sport Rally Deep Corn. It’s available in 330mm and 350mm sizes, natural aluminum or black anodized spokes and suede or perforated leather.
Like it happens often, I went full circle after looking at every wheel I could find. I returned back to the original choice and bought it. The thing about the Sport Rally Nardi Deep Corn is that it’s beautiful, sporty enough without looking like it’s trying too hard and also very functional as a tool to help improve driving pleasure in a Miata.
The stock Mazda MX-5 Miata NA steering wheel is cool in it’s own unique way – It looks like it flew in from the 80’s with its 4 spokes and huge airbag. The stock wheel measures roughly 14” / 355mm in diameter, from outer edge to outer edge. Plus, it’s also pretty bloody heavy with all the steel supports and the huge airbag unit that looks like it belongs as a parachute on the back of a top fuel dragster.
The huge wheel is not so bad once you’re used to it but it really hinders performance in regards to your footwork. Because it’s so big around, your thighs brush against it when heel-and-toe braking. And that’s me at 170lbs and 5’10”. I’m not a big guy. The steering wheel could also be a touch more towards me. So, after a few months of deliberating, I finally decided to pull the trigger.
Even though a number of friends were trying to convince me to go with a 12” / 300mm steering wheel, I decided that would be too small. 350mm, which is the most popular size for aftermarket steering wheels for Miatas (and Porsches) equates to 13.75”, only .25” smaller than stock. I figured that would be too small a change. I finally settled on 330mm which is 13” – a full 1” less than stock. I also decided I wanted the steering wheel to sit 1” inch closer to me. The stock wheel is at 5” from the steering column. I was aiming for 6”. That proved to be a little harder than I expected when using my choice of Miata MOMO steering wheel hub.
The Nardi Deep Corn steering wheel is available in 350mm and 330mm diameters. The 330mm has bent spokes and is 2” / 53mm deep – also referred to as offset. The 350mm, without the bent spokes is 3.15” / 80mm deep. The MOMO hub I chose is 2.25” / 57mm tall and I needed a spacer/adapter to convert the hole pattern from MOMO to Nardi in order to fit the wheel.
Since I wasn’t sure if I wanted to run a quick-release like the NRG Quick Release Kit Gen 2.0, I decided to buy an inexpensive 1” billet aluminum spacer from eBay from a company called Forever Sharp Steering Wheels with hole patterns for both MOMO and Nardi. With the hub at 2.25” and the spacer at 1”, the 350mm Nardi wheel with its 3.1” offset would have put me where I wanted to be offset-wise. But I really felt that wheel was bigger than what I wanted. I decided to stick with the Nardi 330mm at only 2” for a total of 5.25” – Only .25” more than stock. Not exactly what I wanted, but it’s an easy fix with a deeper spacer which I can get later on.
Stunning looks and crafstmanship
However, after all that running my mouth about specs and measurements, the true reason for this story is to showcase a number of beautiful photos I took of this amazing steering wheel. This Nardi wheel truly defines art and craftsmanship. The red stitching is flawless and somewhat understated. The leather is perfectly smooth and with just the right amount of texture. The perforations in the leather don’t actually go all the way through. This should aid in keeping it clean. The black anodized spokes are flawless down to the Nardi signature.
There’s a reason the Nardi Deep Corn is one of the most counterfeited steering wheels of all time. This was something that nearly put me off buying it. While I knew I was buying an original, true Italian-made Nardi steering wheel from an authorized dealer, I hated the fact that so many people accept buying fake wheels. In the end however, I decided the wheel was too nice to pass up simply because it has been devalued a bit from all the counterfeits on the road.
Nice thing however, the genuine Nardi Torino wheels come with a serial number and a certificate where you scratch off some ink with a coin to reveal a matching serial number. Then you go to the Nardi website and register your steering wheel and serial number. This gives you peace of mind that you bought the real thing and also protects your serial number as genuine. Pretty classy I think.
There was only one thing that was disappointing – The horn button. It’s not bad I mean, it works and looks OK. However, upon closer inspection I can’t deny the fact the components of the button all look cheap. The stamped chromed steel is super thin and the spring, contacts mechanism and retainer system could definitely be improved in more ways than one. The actual button was a little scratched from handling before I even received it. However, that’s something I’ll fix with a little plastic polish.
I looked around for prices on the Nardi horn button on eBay by itself and I was blown away that these things are selling for around $100! Ho-lee-crap! $100 for what essentially is a cheap part that probably costs $2 to make. Seriously.
The entire wheel WITH the button retails for around $300. How the button alone is $100 is still beyond me. Exclusivity I guess.
One more thing.
That new leather is pretty darn beautiful and I want to get as many photos as I can now before it gets all shiny. But trust me, it needs to be broken in. It feels too silky and not very reassuring – with or without leather driving gloves. But this is typical of brand new leather steering wheels. Once that leather has had a chance to break-in and suck up a little bit of natural oils, it’ll get nice and sticky – in a good way.
Overall, the Nardi Deep Corn 330mm steering wheel for Mazda MX-5 Miata is one fantastic choice for the roadster. It looks freaking awesome, adds class by the truckload and is the right size for the car. The smaller diameter frees up a little bit of leg room for pedal work and creates the appearance of a slightly heavier steering feel. Perfect or power steering equipped Miatas like mine. A little bit of extra work for non-power-steering Miatas, but still perfect at speed.
Like the MOMO hub I used for installation, I bought the wheel from my friends at Guerilla Racing. I ordered on the phone and had the wheel within a few days – complete with all the packing goodies and certificate of authenticity. Couldn’t ask for more.