Probably no word lights a hot rodder's charge more than the Halibrand name. Not only is it the most hallowed of all in hot-rodderdom, it's probably the only chunk of real estate where the high-tech and traditional movements find common ground. During its ownership by Ted Halibrand from 1947-79, Halibrand Engineering cast parts for just about every racer-even boats. But of those, two things lent themselves to the hot rod: the company's quick-change axles and its wheels. And of those two, the wheels hold probably the biggest sway.

As well as we know those wheels, there really isn't that much published about them. The information is there, it's just that not much of it has been compiled in bodies of information. That's a shame, really. What good is the Halibrand Engineering legacy if no one knows it?

This is in no way a comprehensive catalog of Halibrand wheels. If not impossible, it would certainly be tedious due to the countless unique variations. Eric Vaughn, who produced wheels inspired by Halibrand's designs, summed it up best: "Just about the time you think you've seen 'em all, another style shows up." Instead, this is a sort of glossary of the more popular and noteworthy examples. To keep this showcase concise, we're concentrating on the wheels the company produced when it was under Ted Halibrand's purview.

The reasons why we're concentrating on the period when he ran Halibrand Engineering are both long and short. According to Dain Gingerelli, who wrote a piece about Halibrand in the Jan. '93 American Rodder magazine, the demand for Halibrand equipment diminished through the '70s since many of the mid-engine Indy cars-the staple of Halibrand's business-started coming from England. Furthermore, the shop's foreman and Halibrand's brother, Teddy (yes, he had a brother named Teddy), died in the mid-'70s. According to Bob Falcon, who worked for Halibrand Engineering for 30-plus years, Halibrand sold the name and patterns to ARC Industries in 1979, which moved the operation to El Cajon, California.

According to Eric Vaughn, ARC was sold to Jackman Industries in 1982. That name is similarly familiar in the wheel world: it made stamped-steel and spun-aluminum wheels through the late '70s and '80s. The mere thought makes us cringe, but Jackman's employees allegedly re-purposed many of the company's exquisite mahogany patterns as fuel for bonfires at various desert outings. In his article, Gingerelli noted that Jackman sold the company to Wayne Mitchell in 1988 and Mitchell soon after brought in Barry Blackmore and the duo eventually sold out to Richard Lejeurrne. Everyone has a different reason why it happened, but Halibrand Engineering went into Chapter 7 bankruptcy in the mid-'90s and ceased to exist as a part manufacturing company. Lejeurrne rekindled the Halibrand name soon after, but the new company's name is Halibrand Perfomance, not Halibrand Engineering-the company Halibrand founded.

But we much prefer the short version: Halibrand Engineering under Ted Halibrand cast wheels from magnesium exclusively (all subsequent owners cast the wheels from aluminum). And for the record, we're sort of intrigued by metal that can burn.

Our good bud Greg Sharp, at the NHRA museum, has a photo collection to end all, and a number of the cars in those photos sport Halibrand wheels. Trimmer Paul Reichlin (Cedardale Auto Upholstery) and machinist Buffalo (Buffalo Enterprises) let us snap shots of their collections. And to us, photos are reason enough to run a story about the most hallowed name in the hot rod world: Halibrand Engineering. Enjoy!

Anyone who knows the Halibrand legend understands that anything that bears Ted Halibrand's name is borderline priceless. That wasn't always the case. In fact, some say that Halibrand was just as committed to making parts affordable for common racers as he was making those parts light and strong. A story about Halibrand's early years explains it best.