Our '75 Laguna project car has a custom set of Bassett Racing Wheels in their D-Hole Light
If you're down on bucks, and don't think you've got the dough to afford a set of custom wheels, you might want to reconsider going with steel wheels. That's exactly what we did with our '75 Laguna project car. We call it Project Talladega because it's a replica of a '70s-era super speedway NASCAR racer. To get the look we wanted, we need steel wheels, and none of the off-the-shelf steelies looked quite right for the Laguna's huge body and huge fenderwells. After looking at a bunch of stock cars, we decided on Bassett Racing Wheel in Burlington, WI.
Like a lot of folks, we entered the world of Bassett Racing Wheels from their internet portal: www.bassettwheel.com. We were immediately intrigued by the possibilities, but to make it simple, Bassett wheels come in either 8-spoke (called D-hole) or five-spoke. What really got us excited was the lightweight of a steel wheel (as little as 15 lbs. for a 15-inch rim) and the low cost (under $80 retail for some 15 inchers). What we didn't find out through the website that we did find out by calling is that Bassett can make virtually any rim size and offset, and custom powdercoat them in virtually any color (they have something like 400 colors to choose from).
It's a pretty closely guarded secret, but Bassett Racing Wheels can build pretty much any
We sent photographer Robert McGaffin over to Bassett to shoot our Laguna wheels as they were built. We ended up ordering five hoops (four plus a spare) in the D-Hole (8-spoke) Lightweight line, which is supposed to be for off-road use only. In our 15x8 size, these weigh only 17 pounds each, so we had to promise Bassett we'd be easier on them than Neil Bonnett was when he ran 'em at Talladega. Most NASCAR wheels are 5 on 5, but we wanted a factory 5 x 4.75-inch bolt pattern. We also chose a fairly standard 4-inch back spacing.
The powdercoating was a nice touch. The Bassett website and the catalog doesn't really go into this in detail, but just know that Bassett makes wheels for most of the NASCAR teams, and they like custom colors. Bassett does on-site powder coating, and they had no problem matching the bright orange vinyl color sample we sent them. The cost of this is very reasonable (it's just a few bucks extra), and can really set your car apart from the crowd. If you're doing a race-inspired theme, they can do whatever you want. You can even get them in bare steel (for a reduced cost), and paint them yourself with one of Dupli-Color's specialty wheel paints. (That would've been our back-up solution).
We paid $448 for our five custom wheels and one set of NASCAR-style lugnuts (catalog pricing on this exact same wheel in black powdercoating is $399.75 for a set of five).
Here, our 15 x 8-inch wheel hoops are being formed out of sheet steel on this automated sl
After the lip is formed, the finished half-finished hoops are stacked here.
On this wooden palette, you can see the "D-Hole" wheel centers before (foreground) and aft
This operation merges the hoops with the centers. The machine operator is welding the two
Bassett does their powdercoating in-house, and they were able to match our bright orange v
Here they are-lovin' from the oven! Bassett makes the D-hole wheel in 14 x 7, 15 x 7, 15 x