Performance & Hotrod Business - April '15

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April 2015 n Performance & Hotrod Business n 53 tires and the wheels need to be assembled and balanced as a unit. Ideally you avoid problems in this area by starting with the tires and wheels you plan to use. I did this with "Blue Steel", the '32 Roadster that was a 2014 AMBR candidate. I just laid the four biggest tires and wheels out on the shop floor and connected them with a car. More often, though, tire and wheel selection is a compromise between aes- thetic desire and the physical limitations of the vehicle. Most often builders are given a car and a list of requirements by the owner. With the preponderance of vehicles being built today, the owner is looking for a particular car that he has an emotional connection to, a '57 Chevy for example, but he wants it to drive like his wife's Lexus. Fitting the right wheels to modified suspension and brakes takes some special care if you want to clear the fenders, clear the mechanicals, create the right "stance" and achieve the desired drivability. Where do you get the expertise to deal with the "black science" of wheels and tires? Georgie, Tire Buyer Before we discuss the how, I want to mention something about the why. If market size is any justification, the potential business is enormous. If you look at organizations like the Goodguys Rod & Custom Association, with over 50,000 members, more than 20 shows around the Avoid problems by starting with the tires and wheels you plan to use. I did this with "Blue Steel", the '32 Roadster that was a 2014 AMBR candidate. Specialty shops generally have more experience with aftermarket wheels. (Photo courtesy Coker Tire) nation that attract thousands, you see the extent to which enthusiasts participate in the industry. The best estimates from the Hagerty Group, which sells classic car insurance, pegs the number of collector cars in the U.S. at roughly 5 million (Car And Driver March, 2014). From the indications I get from suppliers of parts to the Resto Rod builders, I believe there are upwards of 250,000 cars under some sort of recon- struction in America at any given time. There are more than 220,000 vanity license plates issued in California for vin- tage vehicles. Multiply all this by four and you see tires and wheels play a big part in this industry. Boom! It is believed more than 60 percent of the cars and trucks are owned by baby boomers, or those born from 1946 through 1964. Data says that the median age of collector car owners is 56 years. People classified as "baby boomers" have lived beyond the complications of youth. They are the largest single con- sumer group, they have the preponderance of the assets and they have the time and the inclination to embrace our activity—a safe, socially oriented activity in a counter- culture environment where they can par- ticipate in an infinite number of sites and levels of financial commitment. This trend, yet to reach its peak, should continue for the next 20 to 30 years, mak- The great thing about dealing with the wheel-and-tire-package companies is that the wheels and tires come to you ready to bolt up to the vehicle. (Photo courtesy Coker Tire)

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