Aftermarket rims have been around for a lot longer than many of us realize. They first gained prominence in the 1960s and maintained that growth trajectory till the mid-1970s or so. It was the era of the American Counterculture, and it is hardly surprising that these rims first established a name for themselves in the United States.
American Racing was perhaps the greatest non-OEM wheel brand of those decades. Magnesium rims, or Mags, were all the rage. While the market dipped significantly post those heydays, it was just dormant. In 1996, Lexani Wheels was founded in California. It was to be a customized rim manufacturer, and it is still best described that way.
Savini Wheels came along in 2003 as its promoters realized that the market for off-road and bespoke rims was growing at a pace no one could have predicted. Like its arch rival, Savini operates out of Anaheim in California.
These are just 2 of the most premium aftermarket rim companies. If you are looking for a set of wheels that will turn heads, break hearts, and complement your premium vehicle the way you like it, you should take a look at the 5 brands mentioned in the next section.
5 most premium custom rim companies
Do note that this list is not arranged in any particular order. Every brand is as good as the others.
A. BBS: Well, there’s scarce little left to be said about this marque brand. It was founded in 1970 in the German town of Schiltach by 2 friends who were keen motorsports fans. In those days, aftermarket rims were slightly looked down upon as mere replicas of the factory-fitted ones. Hence, they were often called ‘reps.’
BBS is, at the moment, the official supplier of high-end aluminum alloy wheels to companies as BMW, Porsche, and Mercedes Benz. Needless to say, different vehicle types require different rims – and BBS Aftermarket (as it’s known across the US) caters to all such demands.
Its wheels are all flow-formed and are capable of enduring very heavy loads at high speeds without showing any hint of trouble. The downside is, of course, the same as most top-of-the-shelf Lexani rims: all their models are pretty expensive.
B. Savini: Savini is America’s reply to the European masters. Yes, they are infants if you compare them with the likes of BBS or even the USA’s own American Racing. But over almost 2 decades, Savini Wheels have earned accolades from the most hard-to-please customers who wanted to switch to something flashier than an OE rim.
Savini’s greatest strength lies in its capability to forge a set of wheels that is a complete one-off. Unique. Without any peers or duplicates. That’s why their rims have been the cynosure of people who own very high-end passenger cars including sedans, coupes, and street-legal sportscars.
Savini rims are available for off-road use as well. All one needs to do is ask the company – via their website or a retail outlet – to slightly modify and machine a few areas. Savini’s post-purchase support is also outstanding.
C. Enkei: We are now in Asia. From Europe to North America, we come to Japan, the birthplace of drift racing. While it is one of the most dangerous things you can do with a car, Japan’s drift legends have been idolized globally. Not surprisingly, Enkei’s design standards and manufacturing legacy is widely regarded.
Its rims for cars, trucks, and bigger vehicles are known for outstanding durability; a few custom wheels which work well on dirt terrain are also available. Backed up by industry-leading warranty periods on both finish and structural integrity and a number of proprietary and patented techniques like the ‘Spec-E‘ (even though its primarily used for quality control), Enkei’s wheels are special.
D. Lexani: Another company known mostly for its exquisitely crafted and tailormade rims, Lexani is reputed for playing to the gallery and churning out unique stuff for the likes of Rolls-Royces & Bentleys. Lexani rims are often forged Monoblocks, meaning that they have been manufactured from a single block of HQ aluminum alloy for low weight but more strength.
Of course, Lexani has 2 major advantage it frequently uses to rise above the shark-tank of aftermarket rim manufacturers. One is their superior supply chain and their extensive dealership network that ensures zero bottlenecks. The other is the company’s SOP of frequently upgrading their product outlay so that their clients are never bored!
Lexani’s products are some of the few in this hallowed circle which have managed to hit that sweet spot of affordability without any compromise. The sales figures are proof enough.
E. Vossen: A list of this sort must include Vossen, one of the few icons that have followers even in the generally critical online fan forums of buyers and rim enthusiasts. They manufacture a wide range of aftermarket wheels and have a significant chunk of the luxury market in their pockets.
We will have to admit that one of their models – the VVSCV4 rims – are about as attractive as they come. These rims have been seen adorning everything from the latest Mercedes SUV to the Huracan. While Vossen products are certainly as expensive as BBS or Savini, their workmanship & structural warranties are high notes of confidence.
Do note that like everything else, multiple forged models that appear exactly like original Lexani Wheels are in circulation. Beware!
Buy with confidence; get your set only from established retailers like AudioCity USA of California.