A brief history of iconic Cragar S/S wheels

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1964 Dodge Polara with Cragar S/S wheels Don Rutt

Hot rodding is all about making your vehicle unique, expressing your vision, and of course, going fast. Wheel choice could be a major factor in all of those aspects. When hot rodding was really taking off in the 1950s and ’60s, there wasn’t much to choose from when it came to aftermarket wheels. Roy Richter changed that.

Richter purchased Cragar Industries in 1955 and set a goal of producing a stylish wheel design that met hot rodders’ needs. Prior to aftermarket wheels gaining popularity, customizers had few options. Original equipment pieces were often modified or mixed and matched to reach the desired look. The process left a bit to be desired when it came not only to appearance, but also fitment.

The look of the Cragar S/S wheel was borne of necessity, with the spokes’ shape helping to increase strength. The main distinction was changing the attachment point for each spoke to the center hub. By making each spoke have a greater depth of attachment, the wheel gained the strength needed for high-speed stability. Perfect for drag racers.

The S/S design quickly gained popularity following its introduction in 1964. A staple of the muscle car image, it has spawned a subset of imitators over the years, but the S/S has always been the go-to wheel for any owner who wants that late-’60s look. Fortunately, they are still available new, in a variety of sizes to fit whatever project car you’re working on.

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