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Wheelsmith 2006

Wheelsmith 2006


Gone Racin’…Wheelsmith

Roger Rohrdanz and I stopped in to see Bob Sage, owner of Wheelsmith, and his son Chris, at their shop in Santa Ana, California. Bob is from the San Joaquin Valley where so many wheel companies originated. He has a true craftsman’s eye for quality and a solid sense for anticipating what wheel styles the hot rodder and custom car owner desire. Chris took us through the shop, explaining the various steps in the wheel construction process: drill valve stem holes, deburring, grind the back side of centers to make them perfectly flat, press the center into the rim to create backspace, align with dial indicators to exacting tolerance, tack and weld center to rim.
Wheelsmith turns out more than 1500 wheels and hubcaps a month and does only custom made work. Bob limits growth, to stress personalized attention to quality. Starting with the initial phone call, Bob entices the customer to explain the vision that the owner has for his car. With knowledge gleaned from over 30 years in the business, the final rim selection is chosen and the manufacturing begins. He sells most of his work by word of mouth and by mail order, and has a large following in the international hot rodding community. He keeps a large variety of rims-centers and hubcaps in stock and can have a custom set of wheels and hubcaps shipped out in 3-5 working days.

Sage developed his own system for drilling blank Aluminum wheels and changing bolt patterns, called the “Wheelsmith Drilling System.” What started out as a method to change bolt patterns in Aluminum wheels has become a large part of their business, building and selling these machines nationwide. Bob and Chris are hot rodders, and spend their spare time building their own cars and supporting the local car culture. Look for them at Cruisin’ For a Cure, Orange County Cruise, and the L.A. Roadster Show.

Gone Racin’ is at