Focal Wheels Releases Rat Rod Inspired Wheels

Rat rods have been called the most misunderstood cars in the world of tuning and custom car modifications. Some people think that their muffler-less exhausts and dinged up exteriors are the result of lazy engineering, others think that it’s going the “cheap route” to modifying a car while some snobs find the style down right offensive.

No matter how you feel about the rat rod style, one thing is for sure—if you see a rat rod driving down the road, you are going to take a look at it. It’s this reason that Focal, the high-end wheel company, has started to offer wheels that are mimicking the classic finishes of rat rod automobiles.

The History of Rat Rods

In the late 1970s, vehicle customization was at an all time high. Hot rods, muscle cars and tricked out vans could be found cruising on every major highway. However, not everyone likes shiny paint jobs and spotless interior. Eventually, groups of renegades started stripping down older American coupes and roadsters to increase performance. Rat rod owners never wash their cars and two rat rods never look exactly the same. Most people describe the look as “unfinished,” which is why it generates a lot of hate from the racing world.

"There's a huge difference between rat rod and beater,” says hot rodder Brad Ocock. “A beater has potential. A rat rod is something someone threw together to make a statement, and usually that statement is, 'I don't know how to weld. I had a bunch of crap lying around and realized there was enough to put together a car but didn't want to put any effort into it.’”

Yet, no matter how you feel about the style set by these automotive outcasts, you have to admit their wheels always look cool. Rat rodders usually choose steelies or old spoke racing wheels to throw on their ride, if it costs a lot of money, you generally won’t find it on a “rat.” However, a few cans of spray paint and a steady hand can go a long way.

Focal’s Black and Red Wheels

For reasons that are unknown to the guys at 4WheelOnline, nearly all the wheels that are found on rat rods are primer, flat black, red or a combination of all three. Focal Wheels, a new brand from Ultra Wheels has been rolling out a few styles of wheels that embrace the black with red trim look.

The 163 F16 and 172 F01 are both solid black wheels with a red trim that runs around the lip of the rim. The 172 F01 goes one step further and has cherry red accents added to each of the five spokes of the wheels.

If it wasn’t for the custom look of the red wheels, these rims would appear to be a modern racing wheel, but the eye-catching accents to the lips give an owner the spirit of a rat rodder without having to strip out their interior and scuff up their paint job.

Who Makes Focal Wheels?

Ultra Wheels, the parent brand of Focal wheels makes sure that the same examination as the rest of their products, which makes them some of the strongest and most durable wheels on the market.

In addition to providing tuners and road racers with a vast variety of wheels, their catalogue mentions that many of their wheels can be used on SUV or off-road applications. And while you might not find their wheels on any rat rods any time soon, it doesn’t mean that you can’t borrow a few ideas when you’re building a car of your own.

By Sean Bowes
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