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Everyone reading this should be fairly familiar with American Racing Wheels. The company has been manufacturing performance-designed wheels since the heyday of hot-rodding. It started as a craze in the ’50s among teenagers and grown men alike who were obsessed with building cars that looked good and could double the speed limit and then some in a hurry down a ¼-mile stretch. From those beginnings a culture has developed that feeds off speed and killer visual appeal. 

A ’29 Ford Model A roadster greets visitors to the wheel showroom surrounded by office spaces. More custom vehicles will fill the showroom soon. The crew is still settling in from a fairly recent move into the new facility.

The form and function of the classic Torq Thrust wheel catapulted the American Racing Wheels brand mainstay status on streets and drag strips throughout the country. In fact, the iconic wheel remains one of the company’s steady top sellers to this day, and it shares that stage with modern classics as well as new, breakthrough designs with features that speak to a wide variety of audiences. To broaden the horizons of the brand, guys like Chris Plump—marketing guru for American Racing Wheels as well as the many other wheel brands that fall under the Wheel Pros umbrella, like KMC, Moto Metal, and Asanti—have tapped into what’s hot on the streets by traveling to shows and talking to custom fanatics coast-to-coast and around the globe.

Here’s a bird’s-eye view of the Wheel Pros warehouse/production facility. Aside from a few workstations, seen here is a visual summary of the in-house wheel construction process from start to final boxing. What may look like a maze of machinery and towering stacks of product is actually a well-oiled operation, which you will soon see step-by-step.

The design process is what we were interested in seeing firsthand. Chris opened up the doors to Wheel Pros headquarters in sunny Buena Park, California, so that we could snoop around and see just what goes into crafting an American Racing wheel and many others brand offerings constructed in the same facility. Contrary to popular belief, not everything that’s manufactured nowadays is done strictly via machines. Many skilled sets of hands are involved in the process from start to finish, and quality control gets top priority before any wheel is packaged and sent out the door.

Follow along as our guest inside the production facility of one of the most influential wheel manufacturers in the industry. See how state-of-the-art machinery works side by side with calculated, hands-on attention to detail to create a rock solid, highly efficient wheel production process.

Engineer Peter Tran shared a peek at recent wheel renderings he’s been hard at work on. Peter was hesitant to open any files in his classified folder, so we’ll just have to wait a little longer to see the wheels soon to be on the production line.

After each wheel is properly assembled and finished according to order specs, it goes through a stringent quality control assessment where it can be rejected and sent back for revaluation if even the slightest imperfection is detected. The wheels that meet American Racing Wheel’s high standards are wrapped, boxed and sent to retailers.

After each wheel is properly assembled and finished according to order specs, it goes through a stringent quality control assessment where it can be rejected and sent back for revaluation if even the slightest imperfection is detected. The wheels that meet American Racing Wheel’s high standards are wrapped, boxed and sent to retailers.

 

Editor’s Note: A version of this article first appeared in the May 2017 print issue of Street Trucks Magazine.

 

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