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American Racing: Pioneers of Performance Wheels


American Racing, founded in 1956 by drag racer and innovator Romeo Palamides, has been a trailblazer in the automotive industry. Initially known for manufacturing magnesium drag race wheels, including the iconic 5-spoke Torq Thrust, the company quickly gained popularity. This article explores the history, innovation, and impact of American Racing wheels, which have become a staple in motorsports and a symbol of American engineering prowess.

The Birth of American Racing

In 1956, Romeo Palamides established American Racing with a vision to create cutting-edge racing wheels. Their first breakthrough came with the introduction of magnesium drag race wheels. Among them, the Torq Thrust stood out with its iconic 5-spoke design. The innovative construction provided significant weight reduction and improved performance, quickly making American Racing a prominent name in the drag racing community.

Expanding Horizons

As American Racing's drag race wheels gained popularity, the company diversified its product line. They introduced street versions of the Torq Thrust wheels, available in both magnesium and aluminum. This move allowed automotive enthusiasts to experience the performance and style of American Racing wheels on their everyday vehicles. In 1963, the Torq Thrust D was developed to accommodate factory disc brakes, further solidifying its reputation as an innovative and adaptable wheel.

The success of the Torq Thrust did not go unnoticed, and it became the most imitated wheel in history, a testament to its timeless appeal and enduring impact on the automotive industry. In recognition of its influence, the Torq Thrust was honored with induction into the Aftermarket Speed Parts Hall of Fame.

Wheels in the Limelight

American Racing wheels achieved widespread recognition when they appeared in popular TV shows and movies, such as the Bullitt Mustang and Dukes of Hazzard General Lee. Subsequently, the Fast & Furious franchise featured these wheels, propelling their popularity to new heights.

Moreover, American Racing wheels have proven their mettle on the racetrack, being used by winning teams across various motorsports events. Their reputation for performance and reliability makes them a go-to choice for professional racers and automotive enthusiasts alike.

The Pursuit of Innovation

American Racing's commitment to innovation has been a driving force behind its enduring success. Over the years, the company has transitioned from using magnesium to forged aluminum in its wheel manufacturing process. Forged aluminum wheels offer superior strength and reduced weight compared to cast alternatives, further enhancing the performance and handling of vehicles equipped with American Racing wheels.

Handcrafted with precision and expertise, the American Racing Forged line showcases the company's dedication to producing top-of-the-line custom wheels. Each wheel is made to order, ensuring a perfect fitment and finish that complements the vehicle's aesthetics and performance.

Manufacturing in the USA

While embracing innovation, American Racing has also focused on bringing manufacturing back to the United States. In addition to its custom wheel manufacturing facility in Southern California, the company operates a forged wheel factory in South Carolina and a cast aluminum factory in Alabama. These domestic facilities not only support the American economy but also emphasize American Racing's commitment to maintaining the highest quality standards.

American Racing: A Heritage Brand

American Racing is more than just a manufacturer of high-performance wheels; it has become a heritage brand with a lasting legacy. In recent years, American Racing Apparel has expanded into the automotive lifestyle fashion genre, joining the ranks of other esteemed heritage apparel brands like Carhartt, Dickies, and Levi's.

The popularity of automotive lifestyle apparel, especially featuring "Racing Graphics," has surged in major retail chains across the U.S., including Pacsun, Zumiez, and Tilly's. American Racing's name lends itself perfectly to various styles of graphics and artwork, resonating with enthusiasts across different categories.

AR x Cherry LA Collaboration

In a significant collaboration, American Racing has teamed up with high-end streetwear brand Cherry LA, tapping into the vintage automotive lifestyle in their apparel designs. The collaboration between AR and Cherry LA is set to raise the bar for the apparel division, generating substantial demand among big-box retailers.


American Racing's journey from a pioneering drag race wheel manufacturer to an iconic heritage brand reflects its unwavering commitment to performance, innovation, and quality. With a legacy spanning decades and a continued focus on cutting-edge technology, American Racing is set to inspire future generations of automotive enthusiasts.

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