Top Ten Wheels – SEMA Show: Don’t blame SEMA. After all, they put the wheel guys in the back, in the hall that’s over the bridge and far away from everyone else.
It didn’t work.
Instead, the wheel hall became the place to be, with all the booth babes, celebrities, diamonds and gold. Case in point: Royalty Luxury Alloy was at the show, proclaiming to have (pictured) the world’s only 11-inch lip. Such is life with wheels. They’re expensive, over the top and at times plain dumb, and that’s exactly why we pick ten or so favorites every year.
by Brian Chee
Photo Credit: Staff
10. Rock Starr Road Wheels
Named Rock Starr Road Wheels, these certainly do bring to mind a certain rock star. Just can't think of his name...wait a minute…never mind. Either way, the garishly violet wheels are sure to make doves cry, or even turn the rain purple, if you know what I mean. Wondering about the kind of company that builds such wonders? Their booth at the 2007 SEMA Show featured a life-like babe doll, frozen forever in a suggestive pose. No wonder they put this booth toward the very back of the farthest-most hall.
9. Hot Wheels
Okay, okay, it's not a wheel, per say. But it is hot, it does have wheels, and it is the 40th anniversary of the toy that churns out car enthusiasts like Mario Andretti on career day. This one is a life-size replica of Twin Mill, and yes the wheels are too cool to ever become real. Then again, judging from Royalty Alloy’s 11-inch lip, maybe…
8. Foose Wheel
They should have called this the 2007 FOOSEMA Show, and paid tribute to the man who has stamped his brilliance all over this place and its people. Seemingly everywhere at once, Chip Foose also had time to create a FooseFlex Ford Flex crossover. This sampling of his work, 22-inchers from the Foose Design shop, are marvelously machined with just the right uptown, affluent touch.
7. Dub E63 AMG
Color-k eying your car’s wheels is nothing new, but did the owner of this “That Ain't Right” car, an all-pink Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG, really have to include the wheels? Here's hoping that the next time they get a car, they run out of paint. Or call Chip Foose first.
6. Cubic Zirconia Wheels
Sure, Asanti sells wheels that cost over $2 million. But who can really afford that? And besides, overindulgence like that is so 2002, really…plus, well, we could never afford it, so we'd turn to cubic zirconia. Price for these? A mere $3,000 a set, but there’s a set with fewer cubies that sells for $1,800. People never really know the difference between cubic and the real thing, you know. We just think we do.
5. Dub Acrylic Wheels
Last year at SEMA we saw clear wheels from a maker named Forgiato, and they won our challenge in a landslide. Not so this year, for the simple fact that building acrylic wheels has already become the old new in the wheels world. You know that’s true when you see 'em on a, uh, vibrant green Buick Riviera. Not sure on the size – maybe 30s - but we are sure that cleaning these wheels would sure be a pain.
4. Barbell wheels
Here's what the south hall at SEMA is all about: Barbell wheels so that you can take the gym with you when you roll. Made by a company named Good Health (GH), the rims were created in part to give back to charity: $2,000 out of every $15,000 purchase goes to a children's health program. That program could also be called “Feed the Designer's Poor Starving Child” because these wheels are so, uh, unique. Or not. Get yours today!
3. Roulette Wheels
Designed by Lenso Wheels and beautifully encased so that no one could get their dirty little mitts on the bling, this roulette-themed wheel is just the thing to drive home wearing after a week of blowing the kid's college account in Vegas. Hi honey, I'm home! Wanna see the new wheels I bought for your Camry? There’s no price tag, but here’s a hint: in the booth also featured a genuine Louis Vuitton leather couch.
2. LED Wheels
Please, Lord. Can we have spinners back? I know, I know, we hated them too, but these are worse. As if cubic zirconia wasn’t bad enough, we’re now cursed with video inside our wheels, courtesy of some company that will go name less so that no one will ever buy this product. We saw it the very last aisle in the infamous Wheel Hall, just a tiny booth with one tarted up Chrysler 300 and a lonely guy standing behind a counter. According to him, a set of these LED wheels starts at around $20,000.
1. 42" Lexani Gold Wheel
Going to see the Lexani Wheel booth is a rite of passage. Every year, they set the standard, and this year it was a 42-inch gold wheel. And just think: some day, we may see a car with 42s roll on by. Oh, it will happen, and when it does we'll think back to Lexani where we saw our first-ever gold 42 blocking the view to a stunning green Lamborghini. When it happens, when some crazed wheel freak does it, we hope it's on a Civic. And we hope he or she explains why in the world someone would put this kind of wheel on a car.