The after market alloy is an enormous business, a simple way (if you make the right choice) of changing the overall look of your car. There’s nothing worse than seeing a £75,000 car sitting on a pair of incongruous £5000 wheels.
Even if your ride is of no particular style or pedigree, a simple pair of matched alloys will give it that little extra those revolting plastic hubs can’t. The range of wheels available is an infinite pit of swirling aluminium and magnesium, and of course the personal choice is subjective, so I’ve selected some alloys that cover the broad-spectrum of car styles.
BBS Forged Split Rims
BBS have been in the business years, well known for supplying BMW in the eighties with factory fit alloys on their higher end models. Mercedes-Benz also look good with the retro BBS. This modern split rim is quite a common sight on VWs and Vauxhalls, and in black or white it can really set a car off. Although expensive, this BBS alloy is a safe choice as it sits well on most manufacturers’ design.
Momo are another experienced company when it comes to wheels. This Ten-S has a diamond cut centre and spokes, framed with gloss black paint. The spokes are raised to run flush with the rim, again quite commonly spotted on a variety of manufacturers. With its diamond cut finish, combined with black gloss and raised spokes, this looks like an expensive bit of kit, but a set of four will only set you back around what you’d pay for a good set of tyres. This alloy is a safe bet, as it looks good on most cars, particularly the smaller variety.
Sparco Monobloc Rally
Coloured wheels seem to be the ‘in’ alloys at the moment, especially the luminous orange and yellow ones finding their way onto dark coloured cars. These white rally alloys look fantastic on red and blue cars, particularly sporty saloons. The simple stripe running around the rim also set the wheel off nicely, obviously choosing the colour to match the car. These also suit black and white cars, and the smaller hot hatch can also pull these off. Depending on diameter, the price varies – money well spent if you consider the bold improvement they make to your car’s appearance.
Lorinser make expensive, high-quality products, and it shows just looking at them. The LM-5 was made specifically for Mercedes-Benz, and although their AMG models come with stock AMG alloys (very nice in their own right), sticking Lorinsers on make it a cut above. These will also suit Lexus, Jaguar, and the bigger prestige cars.
ENKEI Apache II
These Apache IIs from ENKEI’s classic range are a personal favourite. With deep lips and aggressive offsets, these couldn’t be anymore old school. They sit very nicely on box-shaped cars, particularly old Mercs and Beemers. Old school VW Golfs look great suited and booted in these, as do ‘dub’ campers.
A look you think will suit your car in your head may not appear the same in reality. A simple way of finding a good match is to take a side-on photograph of you car and upload it to your computer, using a simple paint program to cut and paste pictures of alloys over the top – some websites have this facility built-in, so all you’re required to do is upload your picture.
Finally, another important aspect to consider before paying out for new wheels is the condition of your brake callipers – depending on the alloy and how much brake calliper is visible, freshly painted or even fully replaced callipers can also make a huge difference to the overall look. You wouldn’t buy an expensive jacket and leave the house wearing a filthy T-shirt underneath, would you?
One rule of thumb: No matter how good the alloys look, if you feel the slightest doubt about how they’ll look on your car, don’t go with your heart, go with your head.