The history of American Racing is intimately tied up in the history of muscle cars. Whenever muscle cars are present, so you will find the wheels that are considered by many to be the only proper choice for their heavy iron – American Racing wheels.
American Racing was founded in San Francisco in 1956 and quickly introduced their most famous wheel - one of the most iconic wheel designs in history – the Torq Thrust. Originally a magnesium-alloy wheel with a unique flared-spoke design, it is considered by muscle car enthusiasts to be one of the most famous wheels of all time, and is perhaps as responsible as any other single factor in creating the tuner and custom wheel markets. In November 2004, Hot Rod magazine named the Torq Thrust as one of “20 speed parts that changed the world.”
Today American Racing can be found on some of the best performance cars in the world; Shelby, GTO, Charger, Camaro, Cobra, Corvette, Mustang and many others. From the original magnesium wheels, American Racing has branched out to create an entire family of aggressive performance wheels, with staggered fitments, modern finishes, larger diameters and high strength-to-weight ratios. They also have stayed true to their roots by continuing to provide a line of wheels with the lower offsets needed for the classic American hot rods, including the Torq Thrust II, an aluminum alloy remake of the original magnesium wheels.
In 2012, American Racing returned to IndyCar competition after a long absence, sponsoring the KV Racing team, including drivers EJ Visio and Tony Kanaan.
Owned today by Wheel Pros, American Racing products are sold worldwide in more than 20 countries on four countries and through an extensive U.S. network. They are one of the best known and most iconic wheel companies in history.
American Racing's philosophy is quite simple – make muscle cars look good and drive good. Just about everything is subordinate to that goal. The wheels are generally an excellent balance between classic looks and classic performance. Appropriately, chrome is a major design feature, although perhaps less so than in earlier decades, as machining technology has gotten better and better.
American Racing is not a wheel company too much involved in high-tech manufacturing, partly by the very nature of what they are making. Most of American Racing's wheels are made by low-pressure casting, but there are some forged wheels in the lineup as well. American Racing's street wheels include a few 2-piece and 3-piece designs, but the majority are just as they have been since the 50's – clean, muscular 1-piece classics.
- The AR890 has a solid, no-nonsense look in either Chrome or Machined/Black.
- The AR898 has a sharp blocky look in Anthracite/Machined, with its highly curved and edged split spokes.
- I'm not a big fan of the Dagger, which I think is a bit too busy, but it certainly strikes a challenging pose in Machined/Black or Machined/Silver.
- The Outlaw II comes only in Silver/Machined, but is a perennial classic look for vans and light trucks as well as muscle cars.
- The Razor looks ready to take on any road - tough and solid with thick rivets and thicker spokes. Razor comes in Anthracite/Machined, Chrome and Silver/Machined.
- The Rogue looks simply evil in Black/Machined with silver rivets.
- The Ventura draws the eye with a slightly unsettling twisted-spoke design in Chrome.
- The updated Torq Thrust M is now available in Anthracite/Machined, Black/Machined and Chrome.