Chevrolet Corvette Wheel Rim Style Guide: Cast, Forged, Multi-Piece, Alloy, and Chrome
When it is time to upgrade the look of your Chevrolet Corvette, a good place to start is rim replacement. Corvette owners and enthusiasts can choose from a wide variety of rim styles and designs. One-piece (or “cast”) rims are light, strong and attractive. Two- and three-piece rims give Chevy Vette owners attractive choices at a lower cost. Exploring methods of manufacture and style options can help make your wheel choice a wise one.
Note: Although technically the term “rim” refers to the outer portion
of a wheel only, “rim” is now standard nomenclature referring to the
wheels upon which your Corvette tires are mounted.
Multi-piece wheels are comprised of two or three components. These
components are machine-assembled together to produce the finished
wheel. Manufacturers use a number of different methods to produce
multi-piece wheels. Wheel centers are cast or forged while the rim
sections for three-piece wheels are often spun from disks of aluminum.
In general, spun rim sections allow the manufacturer to custom-tailor
wheels for special applications which would be unavailable otherwise.
After they are constructed, the rim sections of a multi-piece wheel are
bolted to the center. A sealant is then applied to the assembly area to
help prevent rust and corrosion. Originally, three-piece construction
was developed for racing in the early 1970s. This construction
technique has been used on privately-driven vehicles ever since.
Three-piece wheels are most often used in 17-inch diameter sizes and
larger. The three-piece wheel design offers wider a range of
application than a two-piece wheel. However two-piece wheels are more
common in the marketplace with prices well below the average
Alloy wheels and wheel parts can be cast or forged. Most cast
components are “gravity cast.” Another method, called “low pressure”
casting, produces a wheel or wheel component that is denser and
therefore stronger than one that is gravity cast. Forging materials
include steel, aluminum and magnesium. While forged alloy wheels are
more expensive to manufacture than multi-piece wheels, the result is a
strong, durable, lightweight Corvette product.
Some countries have quality standards which govern wheel/rim
production. Although loosely enforced, countries like Japan and Germany
have government regulations that require aftermarket wheels to meet
certain manufacturing criteria and therefore ensure proper fit. The
government of the United States has taken steps toward establishment of
guidelines; however industry sources report it will be some time in the
future before the U.S. enacts regulations of any kind.
The array of rim styles and designs available is truly extraordinary.
You can find Corvette rims which are chromed; polished; and black-,
silver-, red-, blue, yellow-, green-, or grey-painted. Some rims are
painted but have a polished lip. Other choices include “riveted” rims
(rims that boast a riveted look) and machine-face rims with vents.
Sizes range from 17-, 18-, 19-inch and are available for the years C4
through C6, including Z06. Replica rims (replacements for OEM rims) are
also available. Manufacturers include traditional names like R2, NAD,
Savini, Gianelle, Nitto, BBS, and Continental, with new producers
appearing all of the time. These include Ice Metal, DropStars, DUB,
3100 DD, ACSchnitzer, ATX, DUB, GFG, KMC, MHT, Moto Metal, TechArt, SX
Series, XON Concepts, and many others. A simple internet search will
produce a huge variety of name brands, designs, colors, and styles.
Whether you are replacing bent or corroded wheels, or if your objective
is to upgrade and improve the look of your Corvette, wheel replacement
is an excellent starting place. Thorough researching and diligent
shopping will make your new rims look and perform to your expectations