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So I am looking at all the choices on new wheels for the Z, and I keep coming across one thing that I just don't understand.
What is the difference - physically - between reproduction wheels and OEM? Clearly one is made by the supplier, and one is made by someone else, but is there any downside to the Repo?
Is it made to the same specifications and tolerances as the original wheels with the only difference being the stamp on the made by line?
Obviously suppliers can't sell equipment, especially wheels, that do not hold up well, but I am still curious to the point of nervousness about this.

Anything to help me get a grasp on the difference would be appreciated.

chris
 

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I can't speak for the specific differences in this case.

I don't believe they can exactly copy the OEM wheel without a license (they can do their own version). In some cases the company that made the original wheels may also sell them to the aftermarket.

There has been an on-going stink (now settled??) about who owns the tooling in general - the supplier, or GM/Ford/etc. This arose as the big-3 put the burden on the suppliers to deal with tooling as part of their continuous effort to save money ("we just want to pay for the part - the tooling, etc are your problem").

If I'm paying close to the same price and I want OEM style, I will get OEM wheels because I know the quality is more likely be there - even where I can't see it. And thanks to the guys who can't stand'em, they're available ;)

As someone who likes to put sticky race rubber on cars, my major concerns: How are the wheels formed (forged, or type of casting), how good is the heat treat, how is the purity of the aluminum?

Not all casting technology is equal. Over the past decade there have been significant advances in the high pressure casting of aluminum wheels. These lower cost high pressure castings rival forged wheels in strength. Clearly, not everyone has this technology. A lower strength casting may require more material and be heavier.

That said, all wheels (or at least one of them!) are required to pass standardized durability and strength tests.
 
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