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Above the rim

Published:Sunday | February 7, 2010 | 12:00 AM

Laranzo Dacres, Gleaner Writer

Cars display the rims at Unique Rides on Eastwood Park Road, St Andrew. - Photo by Laranzo Dacres

Just as a pair of shoes is worn to complement an outfit, custom-made rims are acquired with the intention to add panache and uniqueness to a vehicle, which, it is hoped, will be the envy of the motoring world.

The habit of 'dressing up' a vehicle dates back to the 1920s when the hub cap became popular.

In recent times, however, adding custom-made rims to a vehicle has become prevalent, as rap stars sing about their cars which have been 'pimped' with supersized rims, while complementary music videos show off the most outstanding ones.

According to Wes Anderson, custom concierge of Unique Rides on Eastwood Park Road, St Andrew, persons buy rims for different reasons, with the main ones being to express their individuality or for better traction and handling of the vehicle.

"Of course, there are those who want to be unique, so they add a special set of rims to their vehicles. And these rims, with the right set up, can, ultimately, give the driver a better handle of the vehicle. Also, if you decide to sell a vehicle which has nice rims, it will sell a lot faster than a motor that does not have rims," he said.

rim sizes

The size of custom-made rims ranges from 13" to 32" and can cost anywhere between $26,000 and $400,000 for a set of four, depending on the brand and material used to manufacture the accessories, such as alloy or forge.

Candy Perez, administrator of BD Greg, located downtown Kingston, says a motorist who adds rims to his or her car does so mainly for the look and for the immediate value that they add to the vehicle.

what onlookers see

"When an onlooker views a vehicle, the first thing that stands out are the rims," she said.

"For instance, just adding the right set of rims to a '91 Nissan Sunny immediately adds value to the car. So it ends up appearing to cost a lot more than it's actually worth. Rims are a good investment," Perez continued.

The Jamaican market is flooded with rims suited for Japanese vehicles, but those for US and European ones are not as readily available locally. So, those have to be ordered on demand by local dealers, with a delivery date of two weeks on average.