- So it took a lot out of me to not make my fingers do this for the entire episode of Wheel History but I just have to make one Italian joke. That's a spicy meatball. - [Mario] Hello. - Hey guys what's going on it's Alex from Fitment Industries and today we're gonna be talking about none other than OZ Racing. So this was probably the most talked about in the comments so we hope you're ready and we're just gonna delve right into it. OZ Racing was founded in 1971 by Silvano and Pietro Zen. Silvano has a last name, I think it's Oselladore but I don't really know how to pronounce it correctly. However the last names, both of those form OZ Racing. And their game plan was just extremely simple, to make racing wheels. They just have always existed in that realm and for good reason. Their entire heritage of their company has been formed around the racing community. And they've done really really well. Founded in Rossano Veneto, OZ Racing has just always stuck around that culture and heritage of making Italian racing wheels for anybody that really wanted them. So debut the first wheel that OZ Racing made in 1971, it was god ugly.
It went on a Mini Cooper, but it won races. OZ started to get it's name out by just winning stuff almost all the time. The two brothers, they're not brothers. The two partners ended up realizing that they could continuously make products for different companies and different wheel manufacturers because it works. So they went from just making it for Mini Coopers to pretty much everything. And OZ began to dabble in Italian motorcycle wheel manufacturing. Why? Well because they're Italian, what the hell do you expect? OZ's like the Italian version of Air Lift in the 70s. If there's anything that OZ could be involved in they were involved in it, especially if it was a motor sports scene. And it worked out very well for them. In fact once they became a public capital company in 1978 with an annual investment of 210 million lira, which is around 50 million dollars, at the time, they were like on to something. And it was at this point that they really became a powerhouse in the Italian aftermarket wheel game. In 1984 OZ Racing got a facelift, by who? By none other than Claudio Bernoni, If you don't know who that is, you're a pleb.
(record scratch) Can't believe I said pleb to a camera. It was on the thing that I wrote and I instantly regret saying it. Cladio's goal here was just to make sure that OZ stayed true to it's nature and they did fairly well over the next 34 years they won pretty much every single racing style automotive event in the world. They have around a hundred international world championships for their brand. And if you're a Millennial and you consider probably how many times they entered into one of these events, that's like 600 participation trophies. In 1989 OZ Racing truly began to realize that they had a following. They had a cult of people that loved their brand, but unless you were Michael Schumacher you could never really afford racing forged magnesium wheels for your daily, or for your autocross or HPD vehicle just because of the price point. So OZ decided to then go into just a normal commercial market and start showing these wheels that an average Nancy and Bob could probably buy, if they chose to. OZ Racing from there began to grow internationally. They opened up a Japan and Deutschland in 1993. They continued to grow in the US market, and of course their European market was already solidified. They got involved everywhere they possibly could because that's what they needed to do to grow. Now you have to remember there are other companies out there that were trying to do the same thing. If you remember BBS was also a company that was bred out of heritage and racing, but the biggest problem that they faced was that they grew too much and ended up having to declare bankruptcy twice to re-solidify and re-angle their business towards something that they actually wanted to fulfill instead of the market that they were heading towards. You see, OZ Racing didn't have that issue because they thought about those things so early in the game that they knew that they needed to just stay true to what they were, and still have a couple extra legs on their bar stool to make sure that the company was profitable, solidified, and that it wouldn't break if they had a rough year or two. From 1998 OZ got their ISO 9001 certification across their entire wheel line up, which was unheard of at the time especially coming from the German board of implications because it was so tough to get that, by the time they ended up receiving that document, it was big news. Now for today's day and age it really isn't, because it's just so standard, but to get that back in 1998 was a huge monumental success for OZ Racing, because it allowed them to produce wheels that a lot of other manufacturers weren't actually legally allowed to do. And things for OZ continued to look good, they had a manufacturing plant for metal work cylinder magnesium wheels. They had a manufacturing plant for forged wheels.
They had a manufacturing plant for their lightwheel wheels. Their stuff was being made in Italy. Their wheels weren't breaking. Everything was going well for OZ Racing. Now this is usually where I'd say that they declared bankruptcy or somebody died, or something happened to the company or it liquidated or somebody sent out an Instagram tweet that was terrible and not fun to deal with, but that never happened. OZ Racing just continued to do well. And finally OZ decided to get involved in the aftermarket wheel community. And they started it off with a pretty good wheel design called the Super Turismo, which if you didn't know was an ode to their Super Leggara wheel design that they wanted to give to the community for them to use on their vehicles. It was just a normal wheel, it was a lightweight wheel and it looked absolutely killer. Pretty much on any hot hatch. A lot of people of forget that OZ is a brand that is pretty much angled towards those sport compact cars or cars that feature or go well with a multi-spoked style design. And OZ continued to do that until they essentially just ran out of designs. And if you're wondering if OZ makes good designs I would say that they do, because in 2007 OZ won best wheel of the year by Autobuild on their Botticelli III. I didn't even know you could win best wheel of the year. I didn't even know that was a thing. But apparently it is, because OZ Racing won it, so congratulations guys on winning one of one. I don't even know if you had competition, but if you did I'm pretty sure it was less to zero people. And from 2007 to 2017 and to this day even OZ's history is just littered with success in their racing pedigree. They just don't seem to quit. And even now they're still partnered with companies like Ferrari and Audi in the aftermarket wheel game for Formula 1 racing, for everything in-between to be their supplier until probably forever. And that's what makes OZ so cool. Everything that OZ touches they do it with a passion. Their wheel line and how they market themselves and how they are proud of their selves and take pride in everything that they do. You even go to their website and they tell you every single thing that they've won or done since the beginning of their history. And it's very cool to see a lot of the tech that they use, they use it across their entire brand. OZ's not shy to show that.
And that's why companies like OZ own other companies like MSW and Breyton and Sparco, because they just know what they can do with those companies, and it allows them to hit different markets so that they can make some extra cash. OZ is a good company and as much as we'd like to say to say poor things about them which we never really do in this series, OZ's just a company that has a lot of history. And I'm sure that if you're buying a set, you're buying a pretty good quality wheel. On top of the fact that they don't tend to bend or break they do take a damn beating considering that OZ does all of their testing right in house. OZ's a company that just is going to be there for a long time. And unlike other companies that were founded in the 70s I really don't think this one's gonna go away. Just simply for the fact that they've done so well with keeping the company alive through racing, through motor sports, through acquisitions, and of course, their cast wheel line and their rotary forged wheel line. Absolutely killer. That's everything that we have on OZ Racing. Let us know what you guys would like to see next, and drop a comment below with what you'd like us to talk about or not talk about. Of course I'm Alex from Fitment Industries, I just got new glasses, my pink face is not as pink anymore. Be sure to check out our website if you want to look at some wheels tires suspension or air lift, we have 30,000 wheels and tires. Www.fitmentindustries.com I'm Alex from Fitment Industries. I'll say Fitment Industries one more time. Fitment Industries. Fitment Industries.
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