One of the easiest ways to personalise a car is to bung a set of decent wheels on it. Of course, the choice of wheels is largely a matter of personal taste and there are many, many styles to choose from.
However, there are some wheels that arguably suit certain cars better than others or are, for various reasons, synonymous with particular marques or models. Take, for example, the classic Vega shown above; it's a style that seems to be fitted almost exclusively to Alfa 105s and Spyders, although it's not unknown to see them on Fiat X1/9s, too.
|A Ferrari Daytona wheel.|
Even without the prancing horse emblem, the classic five-spoke wheel featured above would probably be immediately identifiable to most car aficionados as being from a Ferrari. There's no doubt it's a fine looking wheel and one that would enhance the looks of almost any car. Or would it? Might it look odd on, say, an Aussie Holden? You may get away with fitting a set to another Italian car but, for UMPH, it just wouldn't look right on anything else.
If there's a universal wheel, the Superlite - or the Japanese version (some would say copy), the Watanabe - would have to be it. They look great on anything British, be it a Mini (in the form of a Minilite wheel), an early Cortina, Escort or Capri, an MG or Triumph, right through to a big Jag. They suit early Aussie cars, too, as well as really adding something to the look of Datsun 1600s, Fairladies and 240 / 260Zs, 1970s Celicas and Corollas, rotary Mazdas and early Chrysler (Mitsubishi) Galants. They even compliment most Italian cars and it's not uncommon to see them on Alfa 105s. If there's one caveat, though, it's that they probably don't look so flash on newer cars; they're really more of a sixties, seventies or, at a push, eighties sort of style.
The Dragway pictured below is a classic wheel that's rooted firmly in the 1970s and 80s and really suits bigger cars, although the four spoke version in black looked pretty good on the UMPH Galant thirty plus years ago. They also look a treat on Holdens from as early as the FB right through to the HQ. However, according to the Australian Ford Register (http://www.aus-ford-uk.co.uk/html/wheels.html), they were first made as an option for the XA and XB Falcon range and marketed as a "Sport Road Wheel" and "Mag-Type Sport Road Wheel" in Ford brochures of the time.
According to Group 4 Wheels' website (http://group4wheels.com/wheels_pag1570.php), the first version of the Campagnolo 40802 was designed for the DeTomaso Mangusta in 1967. It subsequently evolved and was fitted to the 1973 Porsche 911 RSR and the 1976 Group 4 Fiat Abarth 131 rally car. It's now synonymous with both vehicles, although Group 4, who produce replica 40802s, point out that their version, the 15" PAG, looks equally at home on other classic 911s, early Ford Escorts, Alfa 105 GTVs and the Lancia Beta Monte Carlo, too.
|The Campagnolo 40802|
The Charger, like the one shown below, is another classic wheel that was popular in Australia during the 1970s and early 1980s. It may be that the original went by another name (some people call them "jelly bean" wheels, a reference to the shape of their slots), as the featured image was taken from the Performance Wheels Australia website (http://www.performancewheels.com.au/) and therefore depicts a reproduction of the 70s version. It's probably best known as being standard equipment on the mighty Valiant R/T Charger range (which may be how Performance came up with the moniker if, in fact, it isn't what the 70s version was called).
The Bathurst Globe tends to be the alloy wheel of choice for GT Falcons from the XW through to the XB, and the XC Cobra, although many owners prefer their riveted steel 12- or 5-slot 14" wheels. However, the Bathurst Globe was actually first manufactured for the XA GT but has become a popular retrofit since then.
The Australian Ford Register (http://www.aus-ford-uk.co.uk/html/wheels.html) article mentioned earlier goes into much greater detail on the subject of GT Falcon wheels and also identifies that, originally, Bathurst Globes were known as Daytonas, which the author euphemistically suggests is where the 'inspiration' for the design came from. A comparison of the image below and the Ferrari wheel from earlier in this post supports this, as does the unambiguous hint contained in original name given to the style. It also adds weight to UMPH's contention that a Ferrari Daytona wheel wouldn't look quite right on a Falcon but that might be because, in his opinion, the Bathurst Globe is better looking design.
The Hotwire, as shown above, is an all-time 1970s and 80s Aussie legend, and was commonly fitted to just about anything, from a humble Datsun 120Y through to a awesome Torana SL/R 5000. The UMPH Escort van had a set, as did UMPH's brother's GB Galant. They might just about have been Australia's most popular-ever wheel.
Formula wheels may not have been as popular as the ubiquitous Hotwire but, for UMPH, they're an absolute ripper, combining the simplicity of the latter but with a bit of added class. They're still available from Performance Wheels Australia and, at least until recently, were also made by a crowd called SSR (http://www.upgrademotoring.com/). They're so good, in fact, that a set currently grace the UMPH Galant!