What's the first thing you look at on a Corvette? If you said "wheels," you're in good company. In a recent survey by the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA), custom wheels were found to be the automotive aftermarket's most popular upgrade. Just take a look at these facts:
Retail sales of custom wheels have increased from approximately $1.26 billion in 1991 to more than $4.5 billion in 2006. That's an increase of 257 percent. Roughly a third of all new-vehicle buyers modify their car or truck by adding custom wheels.
Are you in the market for a new set of custom rollers, but unsure where to begin? We're here to help. What follows is an extensive, if not necessarily exhaustive, list of the hottest wheels currently available for Corvette applications.
Because choosing the right wheel is a highly personal endeavor, we won't be favoring one of these manufacturers over the others. Instead, we've decided to list them all (half this month and half next month) and allow them to state their case. All that's left is for you to decide is which ones are right for your Corvette.
Brief Description: American Racing makes the famous Torq-Thrust II wheel in sizes to fit almost any Corvette. Available in 15x4 inches for drag racing through 20x9.5 inches for pro-touring and late-models, the Torq-Thrust II is one of the most recognized wheels in the USA.
Trademark Features: Five lugs, two-piece painted center, polished rim, U.S. Patent No. 2,877,160.
Quote from Company: "In the late '50s, the original five-spoke American Racing Torq-Thrust wheel was introduced. It is considered by many to be the most-famous drag and hot-rod wheel of all time. Now, more than 50 years later, American Racing continues its tradition of excellence in period-correct and custom wheels for hot rods, muscle cars, and restoration applications."
Callaway Cars Inc.
Brief Description: Callaway offers two wheel designs: the Callaway/Dymag CMA (Carbon Fiber/Magnesium/Aluminum) and the Callaway Nine Spoke Alloy (similar in appearance to the CMA, but with one-piece aluminum construction).
Trademark Features: The Callaway/Dymag CMA is the state-of-the-art in the high-performance/racing-wheel industry. A magnesium/aluminum alloy center attached to a carbon-fiber rim section provides the lightest possible weight. For example, while conventional 20x12-inch aluminum wheels weigh approximately 29 pounds, our 20x12-inch rear wheel weighs less than 20. This weight reduction pays big dividends in road-holding dynamics as well as in steering, acceleration, and braking. Advanced design and manufacturing techniques ensure that lightweight doesn't mean fragile, either. Equally at home at the racetrack or on the street, these wheels meet or exceed all highway-safety requirements, including BSAU50 (UK), JWL (Japan), and DOT (USA).
Quote from Company: "The world's lightest road wheel in popular sizes for all C6 Corvettes!"