Night-Import: Photography by William Lee
If you are reading this special coverage today, you're time will be well spent. Why? Not because you'll be seeing a first step to my new project, but to see some amazing work done by amazing people and to hear a story from the owners of the shop. But first, how I met these guys is the first thing I want to share.
During Fall of 2010 when events were happening almost every week, I went to a local meet located somewhere in the OC area and not knowing too many people back then, I was doing what I did best, taking photos of cars.
It was then when a slammed Honda Wagon rolled in with Impuls, scraping on the slightest bumps and a Lexus behind the wagon, with black faced rare rims tucking into the fenders. I saw some of the staffs putting a business card on wheels and on the windows of cars and always having the urge to find out something that I'm curious of, I picked one up and read the words to myself, 'Simple WheelWerks'.
I'm a bit confounded on how I introduced myself to this group, but if I do remember clearly, it was through a friend. Simple Wheel Werks staffs were the only person I hanged around with on that day and that’s how the friendly relationship continued on.
It was Paolo and Virginia who I kept running into at events, the owners of Simple Wheel Werks. This was back in the days when I didn't know anything about cars, especially wheels. "What the hell is powdercoating? What's refinishing? What are BBS's?"
All these questions of mine were answered; not in words, but by seeing.
There were several cars that have been featured with wheels redone by Simple Wheel Werks, such as Minh's Lexus IS and John's G35. One of the reasons why I favor this company is because of the fabulous work. Let me relate this from the two cars I've just mentioned; RPF1's on Minh's IS and Varrstoen's on John's G35. The colors do not have a specific color code, but a mixture of several, making it the ONLY color that ever existed.
Inside the warehouse is where all the rare wheels and finished products will be seen and witnessed. This Nardi Wood Grain Steering wheel caught my attention.
and the finished VS-XX faces in Black Chrome.
You'll also be seeing several wheels here and there, not just for display, but for projects, customers, etc.
Another steering wheel.
It might seem dirty, but the finished product will look like new and you'll see one very soon.
I mentioned rare wheels and wasn't lying at all.
Slicks and a pile of used tires.
This 'rareness' never ended.
What do we have here?
3-piece wheels brought by a customer.
What you see here is the first step of my new project.
The inner barrels were highly polished by Simple Wheel Werks. Why did I decide to do this? To flip the whole barrel and making the inner barrels the lip. It might seem crazy (and yes, it is), but I hope I can pull it off by the end of March.
It's really not the wheel that I want to talk about, but the owners of the shop. At the left is Virginia, one of the owners of SWW
and Paolo at the far left, the other owner. Paolo's love in cars started when he was only 12 years old. Every car that passed by him became an attention. It wasn't the toys or computer games like every other kid, but cars in general. But being young and not having the wealth to purchase his dream car, he worked at several places to fulfill his dream. After being laid off during what I call the 2nd depression, Paolo had to do something, which was when he decided to jump into the automotive business,. The company started slowly, but by constant on-going business and dedicated work, Paolo was able to purchase all the cars he wanted, owning about 30 cars as of today.
When we all thought 'hellaflush' or 'stance' was silly and when no one even attempted to try, Paolo was one of those guys who drove a slammed G35 on a set of very aggressive wheels. Was he the trendsetter of the stance movement? I wouldn't be surprised.
The time I spent at this warehouse will be one of those unforgettable moments. It is the place that made my first project possible, but also a place that made me see how hard these guys work in order to fulfill their customers. It really isn't the cost or location that matters, but the finished product. These guys will make it happen. Trust me, they will.