They've been around for several years but I've had a heck of a time finding out what these rims are called. Finally ran across "'84's" on another site. Made by Cragar for GM, they were 30 spoke wire wheels optional on the '84 Eldorado a very rarely chosen upgrade option available in MY's 1983 and 1984.
Originals are selling for nearly $2K on eBay . . . each, and I'm seeing even more extreme examples on the streets. These aftermarket "84's" are selling for more than the originals, and are most often seen on twenty-year-old RWD cars that have seen better days. Now these rims were specifically manufactured for the FWD Eldo, so there may be issues concerning offset - but that doesn't seem to deter their growing fanbase.
Because of their price and cultural popularity, dozens of shops are copying the design, often going even more extreme. Far too many of these rims look like they were assembled by a high-school shop class in welding 101, with extremely poor spattered weld beads and spotty chrome. I've seen a number of these rims that don't even run true. Maybe it's a blessing that at speeds over 20 mph, so many of these knock-offs are unmanageable. One of those cases where we can call a "problem" a design "feature".
Although it's common to see older full-size cars rolling on rims that cost two or three times the value of the rest of the car, it's not the first time we've seen this - there are plenty of homemade body kits that are just as bad or worse. The difference is that if some cobbled-up aero package falls apart, it's probably not going to hurt anyone.
But there's a worse component to their popularity than beaters on $8K worth of rims. They're worth your life. If truly miserable fabrication quality isn't enough for some of these rims, because of their high value, carjackings and even murders are becoming common. It's not just a "style" it's becoming a medal of accomplishment for gang-bangers to ride on '84's. Just as there are people who will kill you for your kicks, there are those who will literally kill to own a set of these rims.
Then again, they might be practical . . . effective as a deterrent to left-lane passers, a la Messala's chariot in "Ben-Hur", or Bond's Aston Martin in "Goldfinger".
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TLN #42 -The Meaning of Life