Wheels and tires – the sizes, the way they look, the way they fit – have always been key to car-style subcultures. Just look at Donks, stance, jacked-up monster trucks, etc. That's why I think this coming year will finally see the biggest stylistic wheel-and-tire leap of all: the subculturization of the tweel.
Tweels have been around for a while, but so far haven't gotten much traction on mainstream passenger cars for a number of reasons. They're still too loud for most people's tastes, and there's a variety of NVH issues still to work out. For other, non passenger-car wheeled applications, though, they're actually taking off, to the degree that Michelin now has a factory just to make them.
And that right there is the key. Now that they're actually being produced in quantity, I bet some daring go-getter will get a set to put on their passenger car, just because they look nice and weird. Sure, they won't work great, and the car will likely lose a lot of drivability, but how is that different from any severely donk'd or stanced car? It's not.
I think once the tweels get rolling here, we'll start to see some really bizarre, fun stuff. Colored tweels, maybe tweels backlit with LEDs, dramatically over-and-undersized tweels, spring-loaded noisemakers tripped by tweel spokes, Tweeler car shows where they drive over piles of jagged crap just to see the crazy ways they can get the tweels to perform — I think it's gonna be good.
What I'm not sure of is what kind of car will be the preferred Tweeler sled — lowriders like 40s-60s big Americans, Donks like 70s-80s American sedans, stance folks like late model Japanese and Euro cars, Rockabilly/Ratrod types are partial to mid-60s Fords, and so on — but what would be best to show off a Tweel?
I'm thinking Tweeler culture will be pretty open. Vintage cars would maybe be better, as the modern/moon-buggy look of a Tweel may be more jarring on them, but I could also see something unexpected, like a minivan-focused subculture, with the vans painted flat neutral colors to emphasize the brightly painted tweels, or something.
I'm open to suggestions. And, if the Michelin folks want to send me a set, I'll stick 'em on the Beetle and kickstart this trend, already. I mean, how much louder and harsher could it be?