The Cragar S/S Wheel: The Most Iconic Wheel of All-Time

adA classic Cragar S/S ad from 1971
During the 1960s, American automobiles hit a new stratosphere of popularity. Muscle cars were becoming the new sensation, tantalizing drivers with everything great about this country. Strength, power, endurance, and danger: they had it all. In a 1969 article from the New York Times, writer Jerry Flint says, “The thrill business, or the promotion of muscle cars, as Detroit calls them, is one of the automobile industry’s major thrusts today.”

The Cragar S/S Wheel Bursts on to the Scene

Because their needed to be more power and strength for these cars, the most iconic wheel of all-time also emerged during this era: the Cragar S/S Super Sport Wheel. Originally developed in 1964 by legendary gearhead Roy Richter, the Cragar S/S Wheel was the very definition of cool, emanating a sense of confidence and style. The wheel features a classic five-spoke design and was one of the first aftermarket wheels to feature both a cast aluminum center and a rolled steel rim.

Ray Brock, a publisher for Hot Rod magazine in the late 60s, owned one of the very first sets of Cragar S/S wheels, placing them on his brand new ‘64 Mustang. Brock says,
“They were beautiful, and I was crazy about them… [Creator Roy Richter] was like that, a perfectionist and truly one of the finest guys I ever met.” Quickly, the wheel gained a lot of traction amongst drivers of all shapes and sizes. Most of this was also due to the fact that the wheel was unbelievably strong and could overcome every obstacle that was thrown its way.

Steve Evans, a racer and friend of Roy Richter, recalls, “I was running a rocket car in exhibition drag races and stuck on a set of S/Ss. Roy was furious. He said the wheels weren’t designed for such high speed applications. One night the car crashed at well over 150 mph. It was a wreck, but the wheels were perfect. Roy wasn’t happy, but I could tell he was pleased that the wheels had such enormous reserve strength.”

camaro cragarThe Cragar S/S is the most iconic wheel of all-time.
Through word of mouth and stories like the one above, it didn’t take long for the S/S wheel to become the preferred choice for street racers and off roaders alike. Soon enough, it was being featured on everything from show-quality hot rods to everyday road warriors. The surge in popularity also pushed the Cragar company to produce dozens of different variations of the iconic wheel. Not surprisingly, other companies tried to imitate the wheel, as well. Looking at the current market of custom wheels, the influence of the Cragar S/S is undeniable. But don’t be fooled; the S/S is still as strong as ever and able to dominate on the road against newer, inferior designs. Not to mention, it’s a whole lot cooler too.

Posted on February 14th, 2014
By: Tim Snyder
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