It’s a 121-Billion-dollar industry and projected to surpass 144 Billion by 2026 according to Global Market Insights. As we talked about last time, wheels are a vital aspect of your vehicle, and they’ve become a vital aspect of the global economy as well. Racing and high-performance applications have always demanded wheels that are strong and light, and today the demand for increased fuel economy and decreased emissions is further driving the demand for lightweight wheels.

In the muscle car days, carmakers saw the custom wheel market explode, so they thought they should get in on the action. There are many fundamental and important benefits to the right wheels. Improved acceleration, braking, handling, and fuel economy are among them. But the fact is they look great and people love them. It’s a bolt on upgrade that can transform a car from mundane to magnificent, so there’s an emotional as well as a logical attraction to a nice set of custom wheels. Here’s a brief overview of the design philosophies of some OEM and aftermarket wheels.

Demon Wheel
Demon Wheel

The Dodge Demon wheel is about function. It’s 18-inch diameter is smaller than the 20-inchers available on other Challengers. The 18s are lighter, have less inertia, and allow for a taller sidewall tire for better launch. They are forged and powder coated for strength and durable appearance in an application that will be removed and re-installed often.

The Dodge Demon wheel is about function. It’s 18-inch diameter is smaller than the 20-inchers available on other Challengers. The 18s are lighter, have less inertia, and allow for a taller sidewall tire for better launch. They are forged and powder coated for strength and durable appearance in an application that will be removed and re-installed often.

Mercedes-Benz G550 Squared
Mercedes-Benz G550 Squared

Some special vehicles call for their very own wheel. This 22-inch monster is unique to the Mercedes-Benz G550 Squared. The accent color matches the truck’s paint. The color is designo manufaktur Mauritius Blue Metallic.

Some special vehicles call for their very own wheel. This 22-inch monster is unique to the Mercedes-Benz G550 Squared. The accent color matches the truck’s paint. The color is designo manufaktur Mauritius Blue Metallic.

Alcoa
Alcoa

Alcoa also manufactured this 20-inch beauty for Dodge SRT vehicles

Alcoa also manufactured this 20-inch beauty for Dodge SRT vehicles

2008 Shelby GT500KR
2008 Shelby GT500KR

It doesn’t get much better than this for an OEM wheel. These are forged and polished Alcoa specials for the 2008 Shelby GT500KR. Alcoa is known worldwide for their aluminum products, and they produce wheels for other performance applications and big rig wheels as well.

It doesn’t get much better than this for an OEM wheel. These are forged and polished Alcoa specials for the 2008 Shelby GT500KR. Alcoa is known worldwide for their aluminum products, and they produce wheels for other performance applications and big rig wheels as well.

Oldsmobile
Oldsmobile

Oldsmobile was one of many manufacturers to offer the chrome Magnum 500 as optional equipment during the muscle car heyday. Notice the Olds emblem on the center cap. This is a 1968 442 W-30

Oldsmobile was one of many manufacturers to offer the chrome Magnum 500 as optional equipment during the muscle car heyday. Notice the Olds emblem on the center cap. This is a 1968 442 W-30

1967 Chevelle SS396
1967 Chevelle SS396

“The Small Block Chevy of Wheels” might be an apt description of the iconic Chevrolet Rallye wheel. It has come to symbolize classic Chevy muscle, and variations of the design often appear today on customs, street rods, and restomods. This example graces a 1967 Chevelle SS396.

“The Small Block Chevy of Wheels” might be an apt description of the iconic Chevrolet Rallye wheel. It has come to symbolize classic Chevy muscle, and variations of the design often appear today on customs, street rods, and restomods. This example graces a 1967 Chevelle SS396.

Hurst Hemi
Hurst Hemi

These classic Hurst mags are most closely associated with Pontiac, including the Royal Bobcat cars. They were also made famous by the legendary Hurst Hemi Under Glass Barracudas.

These classic Hurst mags are most closely associated with Pontiac, including the Royal Bobcat cars. They were also made famous by the legendary Hurst Hemi Under Glass Barracudas.

Pontiac
Pontiac

A favorite with Pontiac lovers, these 8-lug cast wheels are an integral part of the brakes.

A favorite with Pontiac lovers, these 8-lug cast wheels are an integral part of the brakes.

2015 Roush RS2 Convertible
2015 Roush RS2 Convertible

These handsome gray twin 5-spoke 20-inchers compliment the 2015 Roush RS2 Convertible.

These handsome gray twin 5-spoke 20-inchers compliment the 2015 Roush RS2 Convertible.

2007 Shelby GT500
2007 Shelby GT500

Shelby Cast aluminum. - This cast aluminum wheel on a 2007 Shelby GT500 is representative of factory modern muscle technology. They are cast aluminum, nicely styled, and their open design offers plenty of cooling for high-performance brakes. Plus, they’re coated for corrosion protection and easy cleaning.

Shelby Cast aluminum. - This cast aluminum wheel on a 2007 Shelby GT500 is representative of factory modern muscle technology. They are cast aluminum, nicely styled, and their open design offers plenty of cooling for high-performance brakes. Plus, they’re coated for corrosion protection and easy cleaning.

Billet Wheels
Billet Wheels

Billet wheels are formed from a single block of aluminum. They are forged and are therefore light and strong. Both desirable attributes for 20-inch diameter applications. Here’s a 33 Dodge show rod and a 57 Chevy custom sporting polished billet wheels.

Billet wheels are formed from a single block of aluminum. They are forged and are therefore light and strong. Both desirable attributes for 20-inch diameter applications. Here’s a 33 Dodge show rod and a 57 Chevy custom sporting polished billet wheels.

55 Chevy
55 Chevy

True classic on true classic. A gorgeous 55 Chevy with Cragar S/S wheels. What’s not to like?

True classic on true classic. A gorgeous 55 Chevy with Cragar S/S wheels. What’s not to like?

GMC Typhoon
GMC Typhoon

GMC Typhoon – by the 90’s the need for lightweight wheels for fuel economy and improved emissions offset the increased cost of aluminum wheels. And there are performance benefits too, as seen on this 1992 GMC Typhoon, an early performance SUV.

GMC Typhoon – by the 90’s the need for lightweight wheels for fuel economy and improved emissions offset the increased cost of aluminum wheels. And there are performance benefits too, as seen on this 1992 GMC Typhoon, an early performance SUV.