TMCP #184: Tony Stevenson – How GRIP EQUIPPED Measures and Makes Custom Forgeline Wheels!


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Grip Equipped Wheels by Forgeline
Grip Equipped Wheels by Forgeline



In this weeks interview Tony Stevenson talked to me about the creation of Grip Equipped and the collaboration between Ben Hermance and Forgeline Motorsports. “Performance, Styling, and Attitude” are words that describe Grip Equipped Wheels.

Ben Hermance Jim Wagner Signature GTO Built by Big Three Performance (Tony Stevenson)
Ben Hermance Jim Wagner Signature GTO Built by Big Three Performance (Tony Stevenson)

Tony started in the automotive field at a very young age as his father worked at a Cadillac dealership. They worked together at the dealership but eventually his dad had the idea that it would be fun to go into more of a performance market.They started building high performance muscle cars as Big Three Performance.

Tony met up with Ben Hermance when he did some renderings for a customers cars and a relationship was started. One of the last cars that Big Three did before Tony sold the company, was Jim Wagner’s Signature Edition GTO and it was designed by Ben.

Grip Equipped Wheels by Forgeline are designed using a Finite Element Analysis (FEA) method that uses computer modeling to show stress points of the wheel. Forgeline uses their experience with these techniques to design the wheels as light and as strong as possible. The wheels are manufactured using 6160 T6 aluminum and forged on a 6000 lb hydraulic press. This “aligns the grains” of the metal and make for a stronger overall product (40% stronger) to handle the super high horsepower applications coming out in today’s muscle cars.

My ’64 Chevelle (also designed by Ben Hermance) will utilize an 18″ Grip Equipped Rebel Wheel with a smooth lip.

Grip Equipped Wheels are a three piece design as compared to a one piece. Tony said that building wheels as a three piece allows greater flexibility in design and they can be taken apart to repair it. Everyone has bumped a curb with a wheel before, but with Grip Equipped  you can replace just a section to fix the damage.

Tony said they offer wheels in 18, 19, and 20 inch diameters with either a smooth lip or a stepped lip design. Stepped lip is like the old school wheels where the outer lip was where you put the wheel weights. Polished lip wheels have no lip on the outside and makes for a smooth transition from wheel to tire.

The Grip Equipped Wheel Measurement Guide! Every number should be checked and re-checked before ordering wheels.

Tony told me about the wheel fitment calculator on their website that allows you to input your cars specifications and know exactly what wheels will fit. He added that Forgeline (their manufacturer) has a lot of experience fitting wheels and they have probably run into your combination once before. Tony also talked about the “Wheel Visualizer” where you can try out the different rim and finish combinations and see the results.

The wheels I am getting for the Chevelle are the Rebel wheels. These wheels mimic the old school styling of the “turbine” wheels similar to what was on the General Lee and other popular muscle cars. Grip Equipped’s full line of  forged wheels enhances the muscle car stance and historical look many people want in traditional wheels while upgrading to modern styling and design.

Tony, along with Ben Hermance and others, explain in this video how Grip Equipped came to be and how the line fits well with Forgeline Motorsports. Forgeline and Grip Equipped both have a commitment to quality and safety that shines through in the final product.

Thanks for the interview Tony!

262-679-4444 Direct phone line



This interview sponsored by our pals at National Parts Depot – your premier source for muscle car restoration parts!


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