A few days ago, Toby brought us his main coverage from a recent RAYS fan meeting held at Fuji Speedway. To follow this up, I thought I’d share with you some of the wheels displayed at RAYS ‘own events, extending to the latest offers in the early 2022’s until the early 1980’s.
Seeing the history of RAYS thus presented was an amazing sight.
Despite the bad weather of the day (I think my shoes haven’t dried yet!), Seeing a wall of vintage street and race wheels served as the perfect backdrop for what turned out to be a huge gathering.
Each of the historical models on display has a little bit of DNA that we still see on many wheels made by RAYS.
And some of these classic legends.
Past and a little race
From the mid-1970s to the end, the mesh design was popular with almost all aftermarket manufacturers, bringing an aggressive and attractive look to 2-piece wheels. Volk Mesh debuted in 1975.
Then came the original in 1981, called Volc Racing.
You can see the progress of RAYS fake offers, ranging from the first model to the mesh FF, which ranged in size from 12-inch diameter for front-wheel drive applications.
Which has always set RAYS wheels apart – and this is especially true of their Volk Racing product line – fascination with light but strong construction. This is something that has been at the heart of RAYS’s business to this day.
From 2-piece mesh to 1-piece cast and fake repeats that were so popular in the late 80’s and early ’90s.
Of course, the mesh designs took their inspiration from the old wire wheels of the previous decade, but in 1983, RAYS created the Volk Spoke, a true wire wheel capable of driving a tubeless tire.
It was offered between 14 and 15-inch diameters and for obvious reasons it was quite heavy. The 14 × 6-inch version weighed 7.5kg (16.5lb), but it was still lighter than the other wheels on the market.
Then there was Super Volc, one of the first wheels to use a monocoque construction, which meant it had hollow spokes. With this model, you had all the advantages of a rigid wheel but without weight.
In 1986, 3-piece volcanic racing was used in many race cars competing in Group C racing class, including the construction of fake faces of Gr.C, which was named. The dimples in each of the five spokes are instantly hit and this is a design feature RAYS that has been brought back for the current Volk Racing 21C model.
In the mid-1990’s, the use of magnesium alloys really pushed the boundaries of lightness. This wheel was used on JGTC NSX, Supra and Nismo GT-R.
And from the 3-piece wheel with the magnesium alloy center came the 1-piece magnesium race wheel.
This wheel-making technology inspired RAYS to create an imitation magnesium version of the TE37, which I can still remember seeing in day-to-day stores, wondering why it costs twice as much as the regular imitation aluminum version.
From the fan disc to the F1 wheel, RAYS is involved. And all the lessons learned in construction technology, metallurgy and design have gone into the wheel lineup of their manufacturing vehicles.
Some of RAYS ‘most recent race wheels were on display.
It was great to be able to examine the intricacies of the design and learn how to push the envelope in search of lightness and ultimately performance.
It was equally impressive to see a large part of the current range on display.
Many people don’t realize how many types of wheels RAYS produces away from the top-of-the-line Volc Racing brand.
Gram Lights is their sports-based cast wheel brand, so you may have seen models like the 57S and 57XR (below) at drift and circuit events.
Or just on the street.
RAYS offers an ever-expanding range of off-road wheels.
And how can I not touch the most popular and sought-after of them all, the Volk Racing TE37, which continues to be refined and produced in a variety of flavors.
This includes the R34 GT-R and the larger 20-inch version to satisfy the Big-Body Lexus market.
I still consider Volc Racing CE28N to be the best and this is the latest (final?) Iteration, CE28 Club Racer II.
And 21C has those dimples from the 1986 Gr.C race wheel They were featured on the Volc Racing GTC model about 20 years ago.
Shown on TAS in January, the brand new Volk Racing 21A has the same deep-dish look as the 21C, but with the tip of the hat on that first RAYS mesh wheel. It also has 1-piece replica construction.
Here is another wheel GT090, 20 and 21-inch sizes With its drilled-out spokes, it is targeted at high-power vehicles such as the GT-R and M3 / M4s.
Over the years RAYS has had problems copying their designs, so they are always trying to figure out how to make it harder for other companies to copy their wheels.
This kind of complex machining in the spokes of the 10th anniversary TE37V is a great example of how they go about it.
Like bronze (almite), their finishes are also very smooth and difficult to copy.
The selection is at least extensive. Wheel vans like the Homura 2X7 Plus are popular with the crowd.
Toyota Highs and Nissan Caravan van tuning – which is probably the only thing in Japan. It’s huge here, which means there’s definitely an exclusive lineup of wheels on offer.
So which is your all time favorite RAYS wheel? I will accept two answers – one for racing and the other for the road. Let me know in the comments below.
Dino Dale Carbonare