Back in the mid 1980’s we started to see a trend pop up on automobiles all over the world. It started off slow at first but as this trend picked up steam it created an industry that changed the look of the automobile forever. Some of you may, or may not agree with this, but the fact of the matter is, 25 years later, that trend is still here and going stronger than ever. I’m talking about the multi-billion dollar industry of aftermarket wheels.
Back in the 1960’s and ’70’s if you wanted aftermarket wheels, you went with either Cragar’s or Keystone Classics, in sizes no bigger than 15 inches. In today’s growing market however, the skies the limit. Wheels are getting bigger, designs are getting more complex and the machining processes that are used are becoming more advanced. We’ve got aluminum wheels, steel wheels, magnesium wheels and carbon fiber wheels. Hell, we’ve even got wheels that you can see through.
The aftermarket wheel has acted as a catalyst, impacting the entire auto industry. Tire manufacturers are now trying to anticipate the newest trends so they can create new tires. Fitment machines have also had to be redeveloped so as to keep up with the ever expanding hoop sizes. The demand for steel and aluminum has also risen to meet consumer needs. Combine this with bigger brakes, new suspension systems and the quest for higher performance and you’ve got and industry thats got the dial turned up to “11”.
10 years ago, if you had a 18 inch wheels on your car, you were rolling DONK style, but now, 18’s are considered small. Hell my Dodge Magnum SRT8 came stock from the factory with 20’s on it… shit, maybe I should run out a get a “DUB” emblem to put on the side.
I’m not a trendy guy by any stretch of the imagination. I wear jeans, t-shirts and sneakers everyday and only own one suit. I do like shoes though… hmm… not really sure what thats means… but whatever. What I do know is that this industry is here to stay. It’s not losing steam and it’s damn sure not losing any money. So, what’s next for aftermarket wheels? Damned if I know. I’d be curious to know your thoughts though, so if you’ve got any, post them up and be heard.