Not all OEM wheels are created equal. Some cars have some really good-looking shoes out of the box, while nicer designs are often reserved for high-end trim levels. One remedy that most owners turn to is a good set of aftermarket wheels, which can usually turn an average-looking econobox into something a little more special.
Here are 13 of our favorite aftermarket wheel designs. Feel free to comment if you think we missed anything.
American Racing Torq Thrust. This one is for fans of muscle cars and hot rods. The classic five-spoke design has been around since the 1960s, and remains popular with owners of American cars. One famous application of this wheel was the Ford Mustang driven by Steve McQueen in Bullitt, which sported two-tone rims.
BBS LM. The LM has its origins in the 24 Hours of Le Mans (hence the name). This forged, two-piece multi-spoke wheel has been well-liked by customers ever since its introduction in 1994.
BBS RS/Super RS. The RS is a fan favorite from the German company’s numerous designs. Eagle-eyed readers will be quick to point out that this was available as an OEM option for many cars in the past (most notably the E30 BMW M3). The original RS that came out in 1983 was a forged-aluminum three-piece wheel, finished in either silver or gold. The modern version is the Super RS, which retains the classic look but is now a two-piece design.
Enkei RPF1. This is another design that has its origins in motorsports. Enkei has been a longtime wheel supplier of the McLaren Formula 1 team since the 1990s. The RPF1 has a twin-spoke design, and is lightweight and strong despite being a one-piece cast wheel.
Nismo LMGT4. This is a popular choice for Nissan owners out there, and possibly the most iconic Nismo wheel ever made. Manufactured by Rays, these wheels are specifically made for the R32, the R33 and the R34 GT-Rs. Black LMGT4s can still be had brand-new, but other colors are now relegated to the pre-owned market and command hefty prices.
OZ Racing Superturismo. If you’re a WRC fan, you’ll immediately recognize this single-piece, multi-spoke wheel as rally cars have used it in the iconic Race White color. The Superturismo has several variations like the LM, the GT and the Evoluzione (featuring center-lock hubs). This wheel works best with hot hatches or rally-inspired builds.
Rota Recce. Of course, we didn’t forget the proudly Filipino brand of wheels. The Recce has a rally-inspired, multi-spoke design that looks great on practically anything from subcompact cars to lifted SUVs and pickup trucks.
Rotiform BLQ. We’ve mentioned this wheel before in another article. The BLQ is one of Rotiform’s signature products. To put it bluntly, the three-piece design is very Lamborghini-influenced, and that’s not a bad thing for those wanting their cars to look a little exotic.
RS Watanabe eight-spoke. While America has the Torq Thrust, Japan has the RS Watanabe eight-spoke wheel. The design traces its roots all the way back to 1968 when it proved to offer a significant performance advantage during races. That still holds true as the wheel (especially magnesium ones) continues to see widespread use in various motorsport disciplines. The eight-spoke design matches many Japanese classic cars.
Volk Racing TE37. Ask any car enthusiast and he’ll inevitably bring up the TE37. This one-piece, forged-aluminum six-spoke wheel is incredibly light and strong, and still proves to be one of the best performers out there. Fun fact: “TE” means “Touring Evolution,” and the “37” comes from the 3.7kg weight of the entry-level 15-inch wheel.
Vossen CVT. This one-piece wheel stands out from the others with a concave, directional design that resembles the blades of a turbine engine (which has been copied a lot ever since it was introduced). It’s the brand’s signature product, and it goes particularly well with premium cars. Sizes range from 19 up to 22 inches.
Work Equip 01. Much like the RS Watanabe eight-spoke, this four-spoke, three-piece “ninja-star” wheel suits older Japanese cars. It is available in 14- and 15-inch sizes, and you’ll find boxy vehicles from the 1970s and 1980s rolling on Equip 01s.
Work Meister S1 3Piece. This iconic three-piece wheel is arguably one of the brand’s most recognizable products. Maybe you dig this for the classic, pulled-back spoke design that allows it to clear big brake kits, or you just love the deep-dish look that would go well with wide bodykit. Customers will be pleased to know that the Meister S1 can handle racetrack abuse.