American Racing Torq-Thrust Wheels

From Kustomrama
(Redirected from Torq-Thrusts)
Jump to: navigation, search
Magnesium drag racing wheels. An early editorial ad from Hot Rod December 1959 that introduced the American Racing mag wheels.
An early ad for "Mag Wheels by American Racing Equipment" from Hot Rod Magazine August 1960. The first wheels were only available as 14" magnesium wheels.
A couple of street racers were used to promote the 7" x 15" Torq-Thrust wheel for competition and street use in 1962. Designed for 7.10/15 slicks or 7.60 to 8.20 street rubber, the wheels were priced at $65.00 each.
Paul Hannan's 1929 Ford Model A roadster photographed at the 1962 Grand National Roadster Show in February of 1962. This is one of the earliest street rods we have found running Torq-Thrust wheels. Hannan polished the wheels before he installed them on his roadster. A very labor-intense process. Today you can achieve the same look by ordering and installing a set of Polished Torq-Thrust Original Wheels. Check sizes, prices, and availability on these wheels on Amazon.com. Photo from The James Handy Collection.
Attending the 1962 Grand National Roadster Show was also John Gomez's 1957 Chevrolet. A radical Joe Bailon build that had been dressed up with mag wheels for the season. This is one of the first customs we have seen rolling on Torq-Thrust wheels. If you want the same kind of wheels for your custom, you better check out the Polished Torq-Thrust Original Wheels, or the Chromed model of the Torq-Thrust D's. Check sizes, prices, and availability for these wheels on Amazon.com. Photo by Bud Lang, from The Petersen Archive.
In 1963 Larry Farber toured the West Coast with his Lil' Coffin. By then the Dave Stuckey built show rod had been dressed up with 15-inch Torq-Thrust wheels, Coker whitewalls, and cheater slicks. Click here to check price and availability for the same wheels on Amazon.com. Photo from The James Handy Collection.
Doyle Gammell's 1932 Ford 3-Window Coupe of Sierra Madre, California. The car ran Torq-Thrust wheels when it was featured in Rod & Custom December 1963.
A photo of "Coney Island Ralph Landolfi"'s Willys gasser taken at Island Dragway in Great Meadows, New Jersey circa 1963. Ralph is running Torq-Thrust wheels and Blackwall pie crust slicks. Photo from The Greg Palen Photo Collection.
A slingshot dragster photographed at Island Dragway in the 1960s. The rear wheels are running American Racing Torq-Thrust mags. Photo from The Greg Palen Photo Collection.
A homebuilt slingshot dragster photographed at Island Dragway in the 1960s. The dragster is running American Racing Torq-Thrust wheels and Blackwall pie crust slicks. Photo from The Greg Palen Photo Collection.
A 1959 Chevrolet Corvette photographed at Island Dragway in the 1960s. The Corvette is running American Racing Torq-Thrust wheels up front. Photo from The Greg Palen Photo Collection.
Another slingshot dragster that Greg photographed at Island Dragway in the 1960s. The rear wheels are running American Racing Torq-Thrust mags and Blackwall pie crust slicks. Photo from The Greg Palen Photo Collection.
Bob Nordskog's 1963 Chevrolet Corvette was restyled by Barris Kustoms in 1963. Used both on the street and strip, Nordskog ran Dayton wire wheels on the street, and American Racing mag wheels on the strip. At shows, the car was regularly displayed with one side wearing street wheels and tires, with the other set up for racing. Today you can easily replicate this look by ordering and installing a set of Torq-Thrust Original Wheels. Check sizes, prices, and availability on these wheels on Amazon.com.
Back in 1963, when Bob Hagerty built his 1931 Ford Model A Tudor Sedan, he ordered a pair of Torq-Thrust wheels for the rear of the car. "I can't remember how much they cost. I bet it took every dime I could save," he told Kustomrama in 2020. The wheels ran M&H Blackwall piecrust slicks. Click here to check price and availability for the same wheels on Amazon.com.
Bruce Olson's 1932 Ford 5-Window coupe of Fremont, California. Bruce's coupe had received Torq-Thrust rear wheels by 1964. Up front he ran American Racing LeMans wheels.
Barely Legal. Per Thoren's 1928 Ford Model A roadster of Sweden. In 2008 the radical roadster was running 8x15" magnesium Torq-Thrust wheels with M/T 8.20-15 slicks. Up front he ran spindle-mounted Radir 3-18 wheels with Firestone Deluxe Champion 4.00-18 Cycle Tires. Photo by Sondre Kvipt - Kustomrama.
Torq-Thrust Original - Silver w/ Machined Lip If you are not a die-hard aficionado, or just not interested in the swap meet aspect of purchasing original wheels, the modern manufactured wheels look just as good and it is hard to see any difference. The Torq-Thrust Original was introduced in 2004. Known as the TTO, it is a disc-brake friendly version of the original early 1960s wheel where the washers have been recessed more than the original wheels. The center-cap is also larger to allow the wheel to fit later-model cars. Check sizes, prices, and availability on these wheels on Amazon.com.
Torq-Thrust Original - Polished. Today you don' have to spend time polishing the wheels yourself. Keith Christensen recalls American Racing as a wonderful company that had one of the best quality control wheels on the market. "The machining, drilling of lug holes and valve stem holes was held to the highest standards of quality. To own a set of American Racing wheels was indeed a feather in your hat, as they were expensive. People, quite often, would take them out and have them fully polished, a labor-intense process, but then you were "top turkey". Everyone would ooh and aah when they saw those wheels on your car." Check sizes, prices, and availability on these wheels on Amazon.com.
Available on the market since 1965, the original “D” model originally targeted Corvettes with disc brakes and were only available in 15x6 and 15x7 sizes. The modern version, which still is available today, was released in the 1980s, and it has more sizes to offer. The wheel is available in gray, black, and chrome. Check sizes, prices, and availability for these wheels on Amazon.com.
A chromed version of the Torq-Thrust D model is also available on the market today. A wheel that requires less maintenance then a polished wheel. A wheel well suited for custom cars that wants to run the iconic wheel. Check sizes, prices, and availability for these wheels on Amazon.com.
The popular Torq-Thrust II wheel hit the market around 1967. The Torq Thrust II is a 2-piece wheel built with a cast aluminum center welded to a forged aluminum outer barrel. This 2-piece construction allows for custom widths and backspacings. This is important when brake and suspension modifications have been performed. For example, a tubbed car with a narrowed rear axle. This wheel is available in 14x6 through 20x15. The VN405 is the fully polished finish. The VN205 is the mag gray center with polished outer. The VNC405 is for a chrome center with polished outer. These wheels are made to order. Check sizes, prices, and availability for these wheels on Amazon.com.
Torq-Thrust II 1-Piece. The 1-Piece version of the TTII was realeased in 2009. This is the 1-piece cast aluminum version of the VN405/VN205 Torq Thrust II. It is designed to have the appearance of the 2-piece wheel for a fraction of the cost. It is produced in the most common sizes and backspacings for most classic vehicles and is kept in stock for immediate delivery. It is available in 14” through 22” and comes in many versions: Chromed, Magnesium Grey, Polished, and Powder Coat Paint.
Inspired by the straight spoke design of the TTO but in a 2-piece construction with a cast aluminum center and forged outer for custom widths and backspacings. These wheels are made to order.
The Torq-Thrust M. The “M” stands for “modern”. This version was designed for modern Mustangs, Camaros, Firebirds, etc. It was designed for the larger diameters and high offsets of modern musclecars. It proved to be a popular design so sizes and offsets for classic cars were added. The wheel is available in Black and Chrome.
The Torq-Thrust SL is a 2-piece wheel with a cast aluminum center welded to a forged outer. The spoke profile was designed for a more modern appearance and it uses a snap in center cap. The wheel is available in 17” through 22” and uses a modern soft lip outer barrel. These wheels are made to order. The wheel comes in Polished and Black. Check sizes, prices, and availability for these wheels on Amazon.com.
The Torq-Thrust Original Directional is a twisted spoke version of the Torq Thrust with a cast aluminum center welded to a forged aluminum outer. Designed for classic vehicles it is available only in 17”. These wheels are made to order.

The American Racing Torq-Thrust Mag Wheel is by many considered to be the most famous and recognizable wheel of all time. It started as an idea, and a need for a wheel that would give less weight, with strength and the cooling ability for race cars. From slingshot dragsters, it found its way onto hot rods and custom cars, before it eventually became an iconic design copied by many. What started as a need on a race car ended up as a need by the public for an image to relate to. Custom wheels give the car an identity. An alteration from the norm to stand out from the crowd. Back in the early days of customizing, installing a beautiful set of wheels was one of the first things a person would do to a car. It still is today. American Racing Equipment's invention was quickly copied by many in the auto customizing industry. The copy cats soon innovated, and it didn't take a long time before there was a flourishing of copies of the Torq-Thrust wheel available on the market. From Appliance to Fenton, to Astro's and Ansen. A conglomerate of sorts, making it hard to tell or desire a specific wheel. American Racing was the leader of the pack. The one to imitate. Demand was created by the leader using a certain style or brand of wheel.


A star is born

Ads for the first American Racing five-spoke mag wheels started showing up in Hot Rod Magazine as early as 1960. Promoted as "Mag Wheels by American Racing Equipment," Palamides and Ellison advertised that their competition wheels were sold through leading speed shops.


The 7" x 15" Torq-Thrust

By 1962 Torq-Thrust wheels had started popping up on the streets, and a couple of hot rods and customs running American mags attended the 1962 Grand National Roadster Show. The first Torq-Thrust wheels were only available as 14” wheels, and in 1962 a magnesium 7" x 15" Torq-Thrust wheel for competition or street use can be found in American Racing Equipment catalog for "Magnesium Racing Wheels." Designed for 7.10/15 slicks or 7.60 to 8.20 street rubber, the wheels were priced at $65.00 each.


Aluminum wheels for the mass market

As the popularity of the Torq-Thrust wheel increased, Palamides and Ellison followed up with a lower cost aluminum version of their wheel. A good alternative to have for the mass market. Since then, the iconic wheel has rolled on to become one of the most popular brand names throughout time, and Hot Rod Magazine even named the Torq Thrust wheel itself "One of the top 20 speed parts that changed the world." The one-piece cast wheel was very suitable for the drag race market, and shortly after, a variety of models quickly hit the market. Baja, Libre, 200S (known as the “Daisy” and infamous from the cult movie Two Lane Blacktop), Silverstone, and Vector.


The best wheels on the market

Keith Christensen recalls American Racing as a wonderful company that had one of the best quality control wheels on the market. "The machining, drilling of lug holes and valve stem holes was held to the highest standards of quality. To own a set of American Racing wheels was indeed a feather in your hat, as they were expensive. People, quite often, would take them out and have them fully polished, a labor-intense process, but then you were "top turkey". Everyone would ooh and aah when they saw those wheels on your car."[1]


Still running strong

Today, the wheels come in many variations, widths, diameters, bolt patterns, and backspacing options to fit your personal needs. You can also, for instance, choose between a chromed, black, gray, machined, or polished center. It all depends on what look and style you are going for. The wheels you saw at that car show that looked bitchin on a wild hot rod, may not be the style you want on your 1969 Camaro, and vice versa. The traditional American Racing Torq-Thrust D was re-issued in the mid-1990s. It is by far the most iconic model available today, and it will look great on pretty much any 1960s car. A fully polished model, named Torq-Thrust II, is offered in a wide range of sizes. Today there is a big variety of Torq-Thrust sizes, and you’ll find them in everything from a traditional 14” to a more modern popular 20” diameter.


Hot Rods Featuring American Racing Torq-Thrust Wheels

Per Thoren's 1928 Ford Model A Roadster - Barely Legal
Paul Hannan's 1929 Ford Model A Roadster
Bob Hagerty's 1931 Ford Model A Tudor Sedan - Jade East
Bosse Eriksson's 1932 Ford Cabriolet
Bruce Olson's 1932 Ford 5-Window Coupe
Doyle Gammell's 1932 Ford 3-Window Coupe
Earl Bailey's 1932 Ford Tudor Sedan
Dave Stuckey's Lil' Coffin


Custom Cars Featuring American Racing Torq-Thrust Wheels

Tom Bacon's 1953 Studebaker Commander
John Gomez's 1957 Chevrolet
Bob Nordskog's 1963 Chevrolet Corvette


References




 

Did you enjoy this article?

Kustomrama is an encyclopedia dedicated to preserve, share and protect traditional hot rod and custom car history from all over the world.




Can you help us make this article better?

Please get in touch with us at mail@kustomrama.com if you have additional information or photos to share about American Racing Torq-Thrust Wheels.


This article was made possible by:

SunTec Auto Glass - Auto Glass Services on Vintage and Classic Cars
Finding a replacement windshield, back or side glass can be a difficult task when restoring your vintage or custom classic car. It doesn't have to be though now with auto glass specialist companies like www.suntecautoglass.com. They can source OEM or OEM-equivalent glass for older makes/models; which will ensure a proper fit every time. Check them out for more details!

Do you want to see your company here? Click here for more info about how you can advertise your business on Kustomrama.


Personal tools
Help us
facebook