It’s a surreal feeling to create something, from nothing. WCI was created with no fancy education, no investors and with little outside support. Check your pockets. Chances are, if you have money there, you have more than what we started with. The “world seemed against us.”
How It Started
WCI was originally an online shop that specialized in offering big brake kits, suspension parts and wheels. We were not receiving the best customer service from some of the wheel manufactures and thought the industry needed a breath of fresh air with a creative and new outlook. We took a stab at creating one of a kind, beautiful works of art in my own way.
That first year, we begged people to run our wheels. We would spend 12-16 hours, seven days a week, holiday’s included, begging people to rock my wheels. It was an uphill battle. Why would someone buy WCI wheels when you could get a name brand wheel for roughly the same price? Did we mention, WCI at that time, had only created one set of wheels? There were 3 or 4 models but 2 or 3 of them were just renders. Who would even know if the quality would turn out, or if the wheels would be sound and safe? Anxiety and fear ran through us. We were selling other peoples wheels and it was going just fine!
We hung tough though, stayed steady, and in the fifth month, the phone finally rang. We sold our first two sets of wheels.
Introducing Andy and Pearl Faulkner
The couple was looking for something a little OEM+ but with a pop and some insane fitment. Andy and Pearl put faith in WCI. They opted for 18×9 and 18×10 BL8’s with hidden hardware, gold concave centers, and polished flat lips. The BL8 was meant to be something that could work on any car. It was simple yet much defined and had a lot of detail with engraving and machining.
Introducing Andy Albert
Andy only had a render to go off of. He had to trust that it would come out just like the render, and what he had envisioned in his head. Andy opted for the SY10 in brushed concave centers with chrome flat lips. This SY10 was meant to be an OEM+ wheel but with engraving on the inside and outside of each spoke to add greater depth and detail.
We will never be able to thank Andy Faulkner and Andy Albert enough for their support during the beginning stages, and taking a chance in us.
In April 2014, WCI created the very first, directional mesh wheel, and the MT10 was born. Before, there was either mesh wheels, OR there was directional wheels. No one had brought the two concepts together. It was WCI’s goal to innovate, change the industry, improve on it and add something of value. The people really started to notice.
The Struggle of Keeping up with Demand
Status Updates for Every Customer – Improve Customer Service and Updates
Building Wheels In-House to Control All Aspects and Reduce Lead Times
HOW WE DO IT
Designing / Custom Bespoke
Improving Machining Quality
After the wheel has gotten it’s profile, it’s onto the wheel model. Each wheel is machined for the custom bolt pattern, center bore and design. This process takes hours and needs to be done without mistakes. Here is Cody machining a set of CC10’s- The machining is vital and actually helps tremendously with the finishing. Instead of having to sand out cutter marks, we can leave them as is, as the cuts are superb.
Prepping for Finish
Each 3-piece wheel center then needs to be prepped for finish. From here, it’s decided what needs to be done, whether that be chrome, polish, brushed or powder coat. Each finish requires different prep. Some customers opt for a brushed finish wheel.
Each 3 piece wheel is hand-brushed to get precise brush marks. Here is Collins brushing a set of BP1’s- This brushing process takes hours, and is very meticulous work.
Powder Coating In-House
We have recently brought powder coating in-house to reduce lead time for the customer. Powder coat is more durable than standard paint; we can create a beautiful finish within a few hours, and be able to ship the following day. This is extremely important for that customer that wants wheels yesterday or for a show in a week or two.
We Stock 3-Piece Parts to Reduce Lead Time and Improve Customer Satisfaction
WCI uses the best of the best materials when it comes to all components of the 3 piece wheels. The lips and barrels are the best money can buy with the exception of carbon fiber parts. We stock lips and barrels to reduce lead time. We stock a minimum of 75 sets of lips and barrels at all times. This means if a customer curbs a wheel, they can get it fixed quickly. Each lip and barrel is made of forged 6061 aluminum and made in California. We also use top of the line assembly bolts, which are made in Italy. Even the center caps on the 3 piece wheels, are made of billet aluminum to save on weight. The center caps are also made in California. A key component to the 3 piece wheels is also the raw forgings. We stock over 100 sets of forgings at all times, to reduce lead times and improve customer satisfaction. If it takes 8-10 weeks to get a raw forging, the customer will not be happy. Just plain and simple.
Aligning All of the Pieces
So now we have the lips ready from finish, the barrels in stock, the bolts in stock and the centers are ready from finish. A key component to this is making sure the wheel is completely true or round. If one of the key components, isn’t lined up properly, it can cause vibration. This is vital and needs to be taken very seriously. When done right, the wheels will feel like a hot knife, cutting into butter while driving down the road. WCI does a run out on each wheel to make sure it is to the highest standard. Here is Joe making sure the wheels are to the highest quality and the run out is perfect.
So now that the wheels are all aligned and ready to go. It’s time to assemble by hand and with patience. If it’s rushed, a bolt can end up scratching a lip or scratching a center. The whole process would have to be redone. Pictured here, Joe is making sure the wheels are 10/10. The end product is something WCI is proud of.