January 19 2011
Simon de Burton
If you’re the type of person whose wheels appear to keep spinning when you draw up at the traffic lights, the services of HRE might not be up your street. If, however, you believe that your car deserves to stand on the automotive equivalent of a pair of Berlutis, then this small, California-based firm might well be worth a visit.
Founded 30 years ago, HRE produces truly exquisite, ultra-light aluminium alloy wheels that are designed to make your car go better, handle better and, of course, look better. Each forged rim starts life as a seven-inch diameter rod of billet aluminium, which is placed into a precision-engineered die for forging under a pressure of millions of pounds per square inch.
All of HRE’s products are essentially bespoke, not just because they are hand-built and -polished but because they are actually tailor-made to the specific car. A vast range of finishes is available, together with an infinite variety of centre caps. Forged wheels are markedly stronger than less-costly cast ones and are the default choice of the world’s top race teams – indeed, the stainless-steel fasteners supplied by HRE are made by the same firm that makes such parts for Formula One cars (titanium fasteners are also an option for the three-piece wheels).
It goes without saying that a set of HRE wheels does not come cheap, with prices ranging from $4,000 to $10,000 per set – but that’s hardly enough to get a car-mad high roller in a spin, is it?