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The Truth About American Racing

Fitment Industries Author | | August 30th, 2018 |




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    - You know, last time we talked about wheel history, we picked a domestic vehicle and I ended up drinking a whole bunch of Busch Latte, then a subscriber got mad and then dropped off four cases of Spotted Cow, and life was good, and I figured, why not double or nothing and try it again? Because I love free beer and, you know, that video was an added bonus. Today we're gonna talk to you about another domestic American brand. The one that a lot of people always see, always recognize, but then just never really think a whole lot about it, because, domestics just get the short end of the stick it seems. Today we're gonna be talking about none other than, American Racing Wheels.

    Let's take it back to 1954, Romeo Palamides was a man that was, in all essential terms, an automotive enthusiast, he was a guy that actually fabricated chassis for jet cars and dragsters. Romeo was just a guy that, in all senses of the word, just enjoyed being around cars, and for quite a while, he wanted to get into his own thing, and so when he was going through and building race cars and jet cars, and all sorts of cool dragsters, he realizes that there was an issue with wheels, there was no wheel company out there that could provide a wheel that he really needed for his specific build.
    It wasn't really until Romeo said, you know what, I'm just gonna go make my own, and in San Francisco he got in touch with somebody that you may have heard of, Jim Ellison, and with the help of Tom Griffith, they decided they were going to create their own wheel, so they did. It took them a few years, and by then, the Palamides automotive name was born, and they decided to make wheels for these specific drag strip cars. Because of just how the whole scene worked back in the day, and how a lot of the robust domestic automotive scene was growing out of the San Francisco and So Cal area, it didn't take long for a lot of people to realize that they wanted these wheels because they were dope and cool and just the baddest-ass thing you could possibly buy on the current scene.

    Two years later Romeo decided to coin and create the American Racing name, and well, we get into the real history of it, and when in 1956 we had Dwight D. Eisenhower as the president and the American Dream was just founding so if there was any name to call a business, American Racing was probably the best you could possibly pick. Romeo decided to get involved in anything that he possibly could to just tell people about how awesome his wheels are, and he just did it with the drag racing community. Because it was growing and prospering from the So Cal/San Francisco area, it didn't take much for him to really get a huge following, and it also didn't take a long time before the American Racing Wheel name and designs that came out of that company got replicated, and duplicated, and copied and whatever way you wanna swing it, it didn't take long for American Racing to create the lineage that is that domestic wheel brand that we know, today. A few years pass and American Racing decided to make a that would ultimately change the world. In the early '60s American Racing came out with the iconic, the amazing, the one that you've seen in every Burger King car show yet you have no idea what it is because you're 18 years old, and all you care about is your 2004 Subaru WRX that's on lowering springs. They came out with the American Racing Torq Thrust wheel, which is by far the most iconic domestic wheel in the history of the world. It is the, like, wheel of wheels, it is the wheel, overseas they're one of the most iconic wheels that a lot of people overseas, wanna have on their Mustangs, and their Camaros, and their Challengers and everything like that.

    Anybody above the age of, I would say, like, 40, knows the American Racing Torq Thrust as the most common wheel on any car back when they were 16 or 18 years old. They were iconic, everybody loved this wheel, it gave people options, which, back in the day, you didn't have, there wasn't whole lot of companies out there in the '50s that were making wheels for domestic vehicles, and because of the way that the American Racing Torq Thrust was actually designed, it helped with heat dispersion and it was relatively not that heavy in comparison to a lot of other sand-casted wheels, and gravity cast wheels at the time. The Torq Thrust was built specifically for the drag strip, but it ended up becoming a street-racing car, and one of the biggest differences with the Torq Thrust was the tapered parabolic contoured spoke, whereas usually, with especially the old wheels, usually was all semi-solid modular designs. So what does that mean, what that means, in very simplified layman's terms is that the wheel was just better, it wasn't just looking better, but it had a better functionality, and a lot of people coined the Torq Thrust as the reason that American Racing is probably still here to this day. In fact, people loved this wheel so much, that it is almost considered by a lot of people, the first true aftermarket wheel that started and sparked the domestic aftermarket wheel game in the United States of America. And from there American Racing did the normal, they went through the '70s, the '80s, and the '90s and they just did what they knew what they were doing, they made wheels for the domestic wheel game. They made one-piece, they made two-piece, they made two-piece cast, they made two-piece modular, they made two-piece forged, they made three-piece forged, they've done everything, and till this day, American Racing still makes all sorts of different styles of wheels, but their iconic Torq Thrust is still what a lot of people know the brand for. And in time they were put under the Wheel Pros' name, now if you guys forgot, Wheel Pros is that huge big brother that we've talked about in the past, they own, a lot of stuff.

    They just own a lot, trust me, if you want to, you can just check out the last video where we talk about them with Motegi. Now one of the biggest things that you have to remember with American Racing, is that they have the market when it comes to old-school, domestic cars, they have absolutely no trouble selling those wheels. One of the biggest things that American Racing wants to do on the other hand, is trying to get into the new generation of muscle cars, it's weird, but at the same time, American Racing is one of those companies that you're not gonna see go out of the limelight any time soon, because they have such a strangle-hold on the domestic market share, and if it sounds like a bunch of big, fancy words, that I'm using, pretty much all you have to take into consideration is the fact that American Racing is huge, and if you don't think that American Racing is huge Wheel Pros is even bigger, so they're really not going anywhere, and that I can promise you. One of the biggest things is super cool about American Racing is the fact that it's one of the original domestic aftermarket wheel companies that exists, and it's one of the few that still survive. It's the one that's passed the oil crisis of the '70s, it's the one that's passed the essential loss of the enthusiasts in the early '80s, it's one of the companies that had one of the toughest times to try and sell cars in the '90s during the domestic time, for cars.

    And it's still has made it through, it still has survived for over 50 years. It's one of the oldest wheel companies that we've ever talked about and it's one of the brands that you probably don't think about that much, because they're just there, and they'll probably continue to be there, and American Racing is a company that deserves praise because it's survived, and, you know, I give them praise for that, give them respect. So, if you're interested in picking up a set of American Racing wheels, feel free to check out fitmentindustries.com, otherwise check our wheels, tires, suspension, air-lift, all that sort of stuff, let us know, I'm Alex from Fitment Industries, don't forget to subscribe, and I think we are doing a give-away, but Mario forgot, so I'm gonna keep staring at the camera until Mario brings out his iPhone that he thinks is better than my S9 plus, which is obviously not the case, everybody on YouTube told me I was right.

    This week's winner goes out to Rufus Larsen, so Rufus, you have won, congratulations, and to, you know, a couple other people in the comments, it looks like a lot of fun. "I really enjoy Peter Parker saying, "that we have information about their products, "that we don't know to benefit us, the consumer, "but all you do is read a sheet of info, "anyone can find with a quick research, "if you prefer to it as a tire history, "description why not title it, "that sounds like tryna get views." We always enjoy constructive criticism, especially when it only contains one sentence as a whole paragraph, that's the best part about the whole thing. I'm Alex from Fitment Industries, don't forget to subscribe and we'll see you later, peace.