- It's WQOW16 News and I'm your forecaster here, Alex Martinez and today we're looking at some beautiful, 80 degrees, sunny weather in mid western Wisconsin. No, Mario, no it's not raining. No no no, no more blizzards, no more blizzards. We're only talking about beautiful summer weather, for like the next three weeks. So put down the keyboards, stop the arguing, it's time to talk about a wheel brand that you guys have requested, fifteen52. So we're takin' it back 1996. But when Will Smith was blasting aliens, fifteen52 was originally founded. Originally they weren't even called fifteen52, it was a joint venture between two people. So who were these two people? It's simple, Brad Beardow And Joe Hoppen. Now Brad Beardow is not necessarily a huge name in the scene, but most of you have likely heard of Joe Hoppen. Now Joe Hoppen was the creator/founder of Joe Hoppen Motorsport and essentially was one of the biggest names when it came to after market Audi/VW tuning and Porsche Motorsport. But Joe Hoppen and Brad decided that they wanted to try doing something different and at the time, what else could you do besides tun Volkswagon and Audis? That's originally how the company was first founded. It was founded under two different names. VW Sport and Audi Sport, they were the only ones registered and licensed for VW tuning applications. Well a few years went by and Joe Hoppen was like "I don't know if I really want to do this any more." So he tried to retire and Volkswagon was like, "Das, you cannot keep the name if you are going to quit and retire." I don't know if that's German, hang on let me try again. "Das, you cannot keep the name if you are going to retire." This is Italian isn't it, you get the point. Anyway, Joe Hoppen was like, "Okay." And fifteen52 was born. The name change was the first signification of what they wanted to do with the brand. Joe Hoppen had his time in the sun and he wanted to retire and transition to Brad really taking the mantle when it came down to fifteen52. While it was clear that they wanted to make wheels, they had no clue how, they really wanted to just make wheels. I mean that's pretty much why anybody wants to get into a business I suppose, it's worked out for them so well. fifteen52 didn't really get into wheels until 2008, it just took them that long. Now the difference between a company that's not new, with other brands we've talked about in the past, is the reason as to why they wanted to get into wheels.
Most companies, if not all companies, begin making wheels for either two reasons. They want to enter Motorsports or they want to make a ton of money. If you are in the wheel game, you know that a lot of wheel manufacturers can make a killing, especially in the profit margins on cast and forged wheels. It's just a lucrative business, especially when you have the factories on lock or you partner with a bigger company that can fork out the big bills. fifteen52, they just wanted to make cool wheels. They were inspired by all the stuff they were doing in the tuning community between Volkwagon and Audi. So once fiften52 was founded they realized they don't really have a wheel designer. Yeah, they got this far and they're like, "Wait a minute, we need a guy to design the wheels." Enter Matt Crooke. So Matt Crooke entered into the business of fifteen52 and a lot of people actually know the name from previous business dealings with him and he's just overall a pretty cool dude. But fifteen52 wanted to make it extremely clear, they were only gonna make wheels if it was fun. If it wasn't going to be fun, they just weren't going to do it. They had other means that they could do, they had other things that they could buy and sell. They just wanted to be a fun business that they could get into, make a little extra cash and just have fun with it. But they wanted to put a different twist on it, so Matt Crooke came on board and said, "Yeah, absolutely, I can do that."
And they came out with their first signature wheel, the Snowflake. The Snowflake was a Volkswagon MK1 style, up sized wheel that essentially could replace other wheels that were on older Volkswagen. On top of that it featured a little bit of a fresh face to it, offered in a bigger diameter and on top of all of that, it could actually accept the factory center cap and a bunch of other things that just made it a special wheel. The Volkwagon community absolutely loved it because what it allowed community members to do, was to buy a wheel that was lighter, that was clean, that didn't cost a fortune but also just kept true to the heritage of what made that wheel so good. Fifteen52 didn't try to pass it off as some sort of original wheel design, in fact they know that what they were doing was for the Volkwagon MK1 wheel, but they wanted to make something that they knew the community actually wanted and agreed with, and the Snowflake was a huge success. So fifteen52 began making more wheels and they were inspired by the racing lineage that they chose to talk about. So a lot of their tarmac wheels look like tarmac race inspired rally wheels. It's just, it's very simple. It's the same thing with their Turbomacs and the other designs that they have. They all carry some form of credit to where they got their inspiration from and their names are just extremely prevalent of where it came from. If you're out there right now and you're looking at wheels, you're likely looking at probably one of the following things. If you're looking at a cast wheel, you're probably looking for something as concave as possible. On top of that you're probably looking for a big, flashy color or something that has a lot of depth to it. Or you're looking for something that's multi-colored, to maybe give it that multi-piece style look. Or option two, you're looking at a multi-piece wheel, which is going to run you anywhere from $3000-6000. It's gonna give you all the flashy bits that you want, probably have a huge lip, plus some kind of cavity, it's gonna have some neat hardware and some center caps that are a bunch of different colors. That is the trend right now. Fifteen52 on the other hand is like, "No, we're gonna make our own stuff." fifteen52 just makes what they want to make, they don't follow the craze, they don't follow the trend and that's what makes them so special. In fact they just want to keep it true to their culture and Matt Crooke makes that a very prominent theme in all the designs that fifteen52 comes out with because it what's makes fifteen52 special. So fifteen52 is a small outfit, like four people small, four people. They just don't believe in having some sort of seismic growth or doing any sort of acquisitions or trying to bring on a thousand people to lead the company because it really only takes four people.
Matt and his team focus on what's essential and what's essential to them is making wheels that they would run themselves. Which by the way, if you haven't been on Matt Crookes IG, it's absolutely fire. Matt has like the best taste in cars. Matt, if you're watching this, bro, your taste in cars is killer. Matt and his team at fifteen52 have really taken that brand in 2008 from just a thought to probably one of the most prominent names in the USDM tuning scene for hot hatches and a lot of the Euro scene as well. It gives a lot of variety into offering something that's not gonna be super in your face in terms of wheel design. It's gonna be subtle, it's gonna be sleek, it's gonna be minimalistic and that's what makes fifteen52 stand out from the rest of the gang. So what do we know about their wheels? Well they make casts, they make two-piece, three-piece. They make forged, their forged is made in America. It's pretty neat. Can fifteen52 wheels take a beating? Yes. Are their designs pretty cool? Also yes. They're actually so good, that they got replicated by another company, not even a couple of years ago.
The company that replicated fifteen52's wheels, is actually a very prominent company and it was none other than Work Wheels. You see back 2-3 years ago Work came out with the Seeker series line, that almost looked identical to three wheel models that fifteen52 introduced a long time prior. Pretty interesting to see that, even Matt commented on his own IG, to see the similarities between the two brands and it was insanely close. Now we do have to say that every design is a design of a design, but we have to just say that as a company that started in 2008, to have a company like Work, borrowing your designs for another international market, good job guys, take that as a compliment. Fifteen52, hats off to you guys, for having such a cool brand and just doing something different in the scene that just allows you to be who you are. So that's everything that we have on fiften52. I hope you guys enjoyed. If you haven't subscribed, please do so below, we're trying to hit 50,000, we're on the road to 50,000, so it would mean a lot, and on top of that, let us know what you'd like to see us covering next. We look at every single comment because Mario has to, but I'm Alex for Fitment Industries, my neck is probably burnt, there's a semi coming that's gonna be really loud, but we'll see you later.
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