Car Parts: Hot Wheels

Big custom rims, made famous by rappers and sports stars, can cost more than a good used car, yet sales are fast and furious

These days a nice set of wheels can set you back $15,000. The tires--and car--cost extra. Most drivers are barely aware of their wheels, the metal rims that connect the tires to the axle. Back in the Beach Boys era of muscle cars, some guys stuck fancy hubcaps over their wheels to add a little flash. But in recent years the wheels themselves have been getting dressed up, transforming these ordinary auto parts into urban fashion statements, starting with the hip-hop crowd and spreading to suburbanites who drive SUVs. "They're like jewelry for your car," says an auto executive. Indeed, a...

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