Certain wheels never seem to date – and the timeless lines of the Ronal R50 Aero rim certainly seem to fit that mantra. For those looking for something truly unique, the ‘ball-polished’ version of this beautiful wheel might be just the thing. Despite being based on a nigh-on 40 year old design, this is a wheel that works on almost every type and size of car.
Far from being the product of a dry, soulless design meeting, the R50 Aero lineage comes from an even more iconic rim, the smaller Ronal R10 ‘Turbo’ – a wheel that can actually trace its roots to one Harald Ertl, a successful racer who even enjoyed a brief dalliance with Formula 1.
Ertl approached Ronal and pressured CEO, Karl Roland Wirth, to produce him a lightweight wheel for his Group 5 Lotus Europa, one which would draw on the company’s industry leading knowledge of lightweight alloys. The result was a three-piece ‘split rim’ originally called the Ronal Racing, a design based upon Ertl’s specifications and designed specifically for his Group 5 Lotus. It didn’t take long before Ronal was inundated with orders from Europe’s motor racing elite, and the rest, as they say, is history.
Its formative years might have been spent pounding around the race circuits of the world, yet the Ronal Turbo design has actually been available for road use since 1983, the year that Ronal opted to re-design it to meet the unique demands of the public highway. To achieve the optimum functionality, strength and cost structure, the masterpiece was executed as a one-piece aluminum cast wheel with easy-clean, bright turned outer face. At the same time the wheel’s name was changed from ‘Ronal Racing’ to ‘Ronal Turbo,’ the new moniker a reference to its radial spokes, a clever design feature intended to aid brake cooling, and a legend was born.
The R50 Aero, the Turbo’s bigger brother, is truly timeless, a case of form following function and all the better for it, which probably explains why it’s proved such a popular choice amongst all sections of the performance motoring community. The twin virtues of strength and light weight have been a core part of the R50 since its inception, and these facets are every bit as applicable today as they were then, as are the wheel’s exceptional brake cooling properties.
Ball-polishing sees the R50 subjected to an intensive treatment process which results in an impressive, high quality polished surface, one made all the more striking by the total absence of the Ronal logo. It’s a wheel that can’t help but stand out for all the right reasons. Available in 7.5 x 16” and 8 x 18” sizes in 5 stud, and the smaller size in 4 stud PCD, the R50 can also be ordered in a tough looking black and diamond cut finish, for those looking for a slightly more overt appearance.
Best of all, the online configurator on the Ronal site allows you to see how fantastic your car could look, thusly adorned. Awesome!
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