Before you even take delivery of a new Mustang, we know you are already considering what wheels you want to install. After all, a fresh set of hoops is the easiest way to make your ’Stang reflect your unique personal style. For over 60 years, American Racing Wheels has been in the wheel game, but they are keeping current with wheels designed to mesh with modern muscle car styling.
Our most popular S550 Mustang wheel right now is a close race between our AR927 and flow formed AR924. — Chris Plump, American Racing Wheels
Mustang enthusiasts know there is only a small list of wheel manufacturers that have designed wheels aimed at our beloved Pony throughout its lifespan. You could find the American Racing Wheels on iconic race vehicles like the 1965 GT350R Mustang, the 1970 Boss 302, and Fox race cars. Likewise, the Shelby Razor was a popular choice for the S197 crowd, especially fans of Carroll’s steeds. Of course, one of the most famous Mustangs of all time, Steve McQueen’s Bullitt Mustang raced through the streets of San Francisco on the timeless Torq-Thrust wheels.
Many of us are accustomed to seeing the American Racing Torq-Thrust wheel on display at our local Rod Runs and classic car events, but what makes the company so unique is it’s dedication to innovation. The company says pushing the envelope in both style and performance is the critical factor in everything they do. American Racing’s dedication to the late-model enthusiast is what caught our attention on a Saturday afternoon in Anaheim, California.
We recently caught up with American Racing earlier this year at the Nitto Tire Auto Enthusiast Day. The company brought out an impressive display of wheels that were explicitly designed for the late-model enthusiast. This modern wheel lineup consists of over 50 different wheel styles, many of which can be customized into just about any configuration you desire.
The wheels on display at the event really piqued our interest, so we hit up Chris Plump, Brand Manager at American Racing Wheels, to find what kind of challenges they faced when designing wheels specific to late-model muscle.
“The biggest challenges with the S550 platform was making sure our wheels are compatible with the large Brembo brakes on the Performance Pack models and GT350,” Chris explained. “Keeping up with the widths that cannot fit under the new Mustang was also a factor. We came up with our forged monoblock VF104 specifically for the GT350. Many GT350 owners are afraid of damaging their carbon fiber wheels, so they are taking them off and replacing them with our VF104 and VF103 wheels.”
Eager to find out more, Chris invited us up to the distribution center of American Racing’s parent company Wheel Pros in Buena Park, California, so we could check out its entire lineup of late-model wheels.
Behind The Wheels
When we rolled up to Wheel Pros, the first thing we noticed was the scale of the facility. It is huge. The company manufacturers and distributes seven different wheel brands — American Racing, KMC Wheels, Moto Metal Wheels, Motegi Racing, Asanti, Helo, American Force, and MSA brands — all under one roof. The facility also includes a custom shop where specialists create a variety of different wheel specifications, including custom-drilling bolt patterns to order, assembling tw0- and three-piece wheels and machining forged monoblock center sections.
“We don’t sell directly to the public so a customer can contact their local dealer to place their wheel order,” Chris said. “We have dealers all over the world, ranging from mom and pop tire stores to large chain stores and mail-order stores. The order can be as mild or as wild as the customer wants. Especially with our custom finish options. We can paint any of our wheels any color. Including brushed finishes, tinted finishes, and color-matched finishes.”
Modern Mustang Fitments
After walking through the entire Wheel Pros warehouse with Chris, we were on the hunt for the three late-model Mustang wheels we came in contact with at the Nitto Tire event, and he was more than willing to lead us those models.
“Our most popular S550 Mustang wheel right now is a close race between our AR927 and flow-formed AR924,” Chris said. “But out of our Custom Shop facility, we have many one-, two-, and three-piece wheels designed for the S550 chassis.”
After the tour, we asked Chris if the company had any big announcements heading into SEMA. Although he was tight-lipped on any new wheel debuts for SEMA, he did reveal that we will see something fresh this year in Vegas.
“We have been really targeting the S550 Mustang as of late, and we have some new styles that will debut at SEMA that continue in that direction,” Chris teased. “You will need to keep checking our website and social media pages for updates.”
The Wheel Pros Shop tour exceeded our expectations and getting the opportunity to see precisely how these wheels are made and more importantly get a closer look at some wheel options that are available for the S550 platform. We now know that American Racing’s dedication to innovation really is the backbone of the company and look forward to stopping by their booth at the SEMA Show in Las Vegas later this year to see what they have in store for the late-model enthusiast.
To check out the entire line of American Racing Wheels for your late-model build, click on the company’s official website here.