On August 12th I got a special treat with the Ultimate Road Rally – a private tour of Billet Specialties 100,000 sq. ft. facility in La Grange, IL. They are currently building me wheels for both my Mercedes-Benz E63 AMG and Madness, the World’s Fastest Hearse, so it was a great opportunity to see first hand the process from start to finish.
As most URR events do, we started by meeting at the Chicago Motor Cars Naperville location on the Iron Gate Motor Condos campus. A convoy of 30+ cars then headed East on I-88 to the Billet Specialties headquarters in La Grange.
Billet Specialties Factory Tour
Billet Specialties is one of the few companies who perform all operations of wheel manufacturing under one roof, from design to finishing. Having control of the entire wheel manufacturing process, they offer the worlds finest forged wheels. They offer 2 and 3-piece hand-crafted modular wheels with versatility in sizes, series, and styles.
In addition to being local to me, it is a family run business. Billet Specialties was founded by Glenn Grozich in 1985 and started by producing parts for the Hot Rod industry. Their first wheel was machined in 1989. The company is now run by both Glenn and his son Glenn Jr.
Premium Wheels For Luxury & Exotics
In 2013 the B-Forged wheel brand was created to provide the luxury and performance market with the same quality, design and engineering Billet Specialties had been providing for 30 years. Each wheel B-Forged makes is custom tailored to the owners specifications from small criteria like bolt style down to color and finish. For the URR crowd, B-Forged was the focus of our tour.
The B-Forged Process
The B-Forged process starts with a CAD design performed by their in-house engineering team. This team is responsible for deigning record setting wheels that have tackled the Bonneville Salt Flats at over 435 MPH so I guess you can say they know what they are doing!
Once designed and programmed, the raw 6061-t6 forgings start off with the lathe operation. This process prepares the forging for machining the design into the center. The wheel centers are then transferred to the milling department where they are precision machined to exact specifications.
All finishing is performed in-house with many options including polished, solid, transparent, and brushed. Each wheel surface is prepared then thoroughly cleaned to remove any contamination. The powder coating is applied in a clean environment and cured in the oven.
Before final assembly begins, each wheel component is meticulously inspected. Once assembled, both the lateral and radial run-out is checked to ensure a vibration free wheel. Final fastener torque is completed and the sealant is applied to the thoroughly cleaned surface.
Only The Best Wheels For My Cars
After this tour I am glad I chose a reputable company like Billet Specialties/B-Forged for my cars. If you are in the market for new wheels I highly suggest checking them out. When you do, tell them Arne sent you!