My first post back after the awesome blogger contest entries! Thank you again to everyone who participated!
The new Gram Lights 57G is one of the hottest new Rays wheels I’ve seen in a while (from the first look at the pictures released) and I think is worthy of a post here. It is refreshing to see a new rim by Rays that I can get excited about. There just has not been much to get crazy over when it comes to new rim designs out of Japan in recent years.
Rays clearly has a tough job when it comes to making impactful new wheel design trends. I say that because the TE37 is still one of the hottest wheels from any manufacturer in any country after more than 10 years. I had a set of Bronze TE37s on my Honda Prelude in the late 1990s, and after all of the trends and innovation the TEs are still at the top of my list of rims I’d select to do a build with. I cant think of many products I can say that about over that long a period in time. Its damn near an impossible feat.
So on one hand I feel a little bad for the product designers at Rays because they’re having a hard time eclipsing the desirably of the TE37 which is more than a decade old. Not to lay any fault on them…they still have made some really great wheels over the years, but to me, only the CE28N has been at the same level as the TE37 when it comes to classic wheel greatness. There are plenty of honorable mentions, but only two certified timeless classics in my opinion. (thats still two more than most wheel companies will ever get)
Put the Meister S1 2pc and 3pc wheels, the TE37s or the CE28Ns on any car and they will always look great. Forever.
So the modern wheel game consists of some very big shoes to fill. The VR G2 wheels were one of Rays newer releases and has the makings of a wheel with good design longevity. But honestly, I cant ever say that I felt excited about them…they always felt like a safe play, and if you were to think of them as TE37 Generation 2s, they feel a bit like a letdown. Like remakes of classic movies, sometimes sequels are hard to do…especially when comparing to a set of concave TE37s in 18×10.5+15 GT-R offsets. That’s like doing a remake of Scarface without Al Pacino, pretty much an impossible task to eclipse the original.
So maybe me hoping that they will make a rim more classic than the TE37 someday is nothing more than a pipe dream.
I’m at least excited to make this post and show two new rims which I’d say are some of their best designs in years. I really wish the 57G posted above would have been a Volk Racing branded wheel since my experience with Gram Lights has for the most part been an inferior product when compared to Volk Racing. I still dont understand why they use the word light in a brand that has heavier rims than Volk Racing. That always from a marketing point of view turned me off on Gram Lights, from the very first time I picked up a wheel in Japan and wondered how a light wheel could be so heavy. I used to call them Gram Heavies when talking with my friends. I mean, I get that Volk need a more economy line but I always felt the name was a bit misleading.
Give me a set of these 57G wheels under the Volk Racing brand with forged production (these are cast for cost savings reasons) and a concave face. That would be a classic winner. Until that never happens, this is still one of the hottest new rims out. Certified.
These 57G wheels by the way have a concave face available it seems (not pictured). They actually have 3 different face profiles which is a GREAT idea. Sizes max out at 18″ with offsets going down to +12 on the 10.5s. Makes me still want to run a set on my S2000 widebody in 18×10.5+12 Face-3. Hmm…if only they were the forged Volk Racing versions I wish they were.
And for those old school Honda heads out there, this variation below might just be even cooler for you. The 57 Vintage offered in 16″ with 4×100 bolt pattern only. A “new classic” wheel if you will…Put on the right car, this would be certified hotness. (Mugened out EF Civic HB and Slammed DC2 Integra Type R quickly come to mind)