Since the golden age of white walls and vintique moon rims, there has been a novelty to transform the stock wheel stance into the defined custom. Whether you call them tires, wheels, rims, or shoes, there is one constant that drives their design and that is style. This is evident in cars like the 1950’s Buick sedan and coupe Chop Tops and muscle cars of the 70’s. When you set out to redesign a car and make it unique, you inevitably find yourself at a crossroads.
Why change from stock tires and wheels?
In the last few decades there has been an explosion of the international aftermarket; Japanese Domestic (JDM) car clubs are creating wheel masterpieces inspired by drifting culture, European Domestic (EDM) Luxury cars are putting stock in braking performance and autocross cars, and custom car designer one-offs are finding their way to blend old and new styles together. Meanwhile automakers are still putting out cars with featureless stock rims with the same aerodynamic benefit they did thirty years ago. While aerodynamics and brake cooling play an important role in wheel design, people are realizing that there are more ways to achieve performance value without sacrificing style. Automakers are trying to counteract this by unveiling new cars with two-tone alloy wheels that appear aftermarket. It seems counter intuitive to mimic your competition, but then again people crave individuality. As magazines are promoting car tires that perform as well as smoke out in different colors, it is bringing up a pre-oil crisis nostalgia.
Why tradition is the end of ingenuity.
Trends follow people and sales follow trends. If the public demands a certain style of product to be made, a manufacturer will commission the work provided it makes a profit. The problem is consumers have been dismissing innovation for tradition, it’s familiarity that stifles new ideas. If car manufacturers continue to develop spinning wheel supplies that are featureless blunders and people continue to buy them, why would a Spinning Wheel Supplies change? Nothing has shown more traditional than a car tire.
In 2005 Michelin announced the Tweel, an airless tire that used an inner hub mounted to the axle with polyurethane spokes. This innovation revolutionizes a common issue of the flat tire. Never again would a person have to worry about firing up that old air compressor to get their tire up to 35 psi. The design produces a more comfortable ride and increased handling over a traditional pneumatic tire.
The aftermarket can’t do everything.
The aftermarket drives innovation that helps shape the auto industry, but as long as consumers continue to stick to the traditional version of what a car should be, we won’t see innovation take hold. For example, nitrogen tires were a whisper in the tire world and even though they have proven performance against their o2 counterparts they aren’t standard. Consumers still haven’t warmed up to nitrogen-filled tires, or many other designs that are contrary to air-filled. This is a problem. Manufacturers will need to get around this, only then will a new custom market open up. It’s up to the consumer to speed up innovation or hinder it before the next golden age of automobiles.