Cabrera: “The scene was pretty basic back in the early 1990s. When I got involved, 16 inches was just starting to become an option. Then in the mid-’90s, Pirelli put out the 20-inch tire, which set the fuse. Colorado Customs started making wheels, and then the next thing you knew, it exploded. The wheels got bigger and bigger, and selection increased, with more and more companies sprouting up to supply growing demand.”

Spinelli: “In the early ’90s, the tire technology changed so you could do these huge rims. There was also a new technology called ‘CFC,’ so you could design cheap prototypes. Then in the late-’90, SUV rims were coming out that were 20- and 22-inch, and people started putting them on cars. People started lifting their cars just to put on the bigger rims.”

Evan “Evo” Yates: Atlanta-based founder of Impalas N Caprices, a national custom-car club, owner of the custom-car clothing line Carma Brand Apparel: “Wheels really blew up, I’d say, in ’98 or ’99. Until then, people were on 15, 16, 17, maybe 19 inches. I remember seeing my first set of 20-inch Lorenzos and thinking it was the most outrageous thing I’d ever seen. How could the spokes not snap in half? Ca$h Money started the bling thing around the same time. What changed custom car culture were the larger wheels and skinnier tires. You couldn’t do one without the other. If you didn’t have a skinner tier, you couldn’t use a bigger wheel. That changed the complexity of everything. Things that would blast me years ago are regular now. Everybody started upping the size. Giovanni and Pirelli. Neeper and Niche were both made by MHT and they both were pretty big in the ’90s. Another form of wheel you can't forget is the Dayton wire wheels (like on the low-riders). Those were huge for a while on all cars and still are on the low-lows. They made tires that, at first, didn’t look drivable. Right now, I’m on something that even six years go I would have thought, ‘ridiculous.’ If you go back to old Outkast songs of the 1990s, you hear, ‘don’t ride 18s if you don’t have a wood-grained steering wheel.’ Eighteens were a big deal. Then spinners were big. But now they’re just big in Florida.”

Carl Webb, of Red's Miami, the world's largest truck and auto customizing center: “The real story of the donk—a passenger car that has been lifted and has 22s or larger wheel—began in Liberty City (Miami) circa 1993. At this time, ’71 through ’76 Caprices and Impalas were known as glass houses on the West Coast.  On the East, they were called a Chevy. People in Liberty City started switching their Cadillacs, Lincolns, and Delta 88s for the forgotten ’70s Chevys. They were customized by using 30- or 50-spoke Cragar, with Vogue tiresReds with our lowrider background started switching them to 16-inch Dayton 100 spoke knock-off wires, with a new low-profile Vogue. In late 1994, 20s were released. Red's started tinkering with the idea of building donks and Chevy pickups with the big rims. By the time we rolled into late ’95 and early ’96, donks were really popular, with big motors, custom interiors and paint, audio, and 16 and lows. After the 16 and lows got played out, we pulled out a ’71 donk with 20” Azevs and Michelin tires, owned by Emilio, who worked at Reds Hydraulics, to the Lowrider show in 1997. After that, the donk was the talk of the town and was made popular throughout the U.S. As time passed, people still wanted bigger rims to fill wheel wells up. In 1998, 22s came out and took the market by storm. The first person in Miami to put 22s on a donk was a customer named Chris, with a dark-green ’72 Caprice with a full race motor.”