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Los Angeles has always been at the forefront of car-culture trends. The City of Angels is the original automotive-lifestyle city. Hot rods? That was us. Lowriders? We got that poppin’. The Bling! Bling! Dub scene? We created it. Not the throbbing, subsonic bass line found in ska/reggae music — we’re talkin’ 20-inch rims. L.A. car culture even birthed the ultimate in four-wheel styling: the Dävin (Sprewells) “spinner” rims, shiny chrome rims that keep on rollin’ after you’ve stopped.
Chrome spinners are all over the place now, on everything from basketball shoes to wheelchairs. Yup, wheelchairs. The new Y-360 wheels from Colours, a cutting-edge wheelchair company headquartered in Corona that makes spinner rims for the chairbound. To pimp any set of wheels, just add Colours’ “Clover + Sawblades” rims (with crazy clovers that spin), or “Dollar + Cents” rims (cool spinning dollar-and-cent symbols). “We seen them on cars a long time ago, and we said, ‘Let’s do it,’?” says John Gunnar Box, company founder and president. Box became a paraplegic at 17 after crashing his motorcycle.
“I was in the market for a new tennis wheelchair,” Box explains. “I traveled to a company to order my 11th wheelchair and they told me they didn’t have time for me. I started the four-hour drive home and decided that I wouldn’t buy another chair from these guys. I asked my brother Mike if he would help me produce a better chair for every day — and wheelchair tennis. The rest is history.” For 14 years, Colours has been designing cool, tricked out, one-of-a-kind custom wheelchairs with names like “Boing!,” “Eclipse,” “Krypto,” “Hammer,” “Zephyr” and “Tremor” that come with “fatso” wheels designed for people who like to ride on sand, whether that’s the desert, the beach or dusty trails. Ordinary tires can’t maneuver in these places, but 24-by-5-inch tires can (THEY ARE FAT!). Box is always trying to change the way people see the disabled, and he takes it to another level with the spinner rims.
Locally, you can buy the Y-360 spinners at Life Medical Home Care Services in Downey, which provides home medical supplies and equipment services to customers in L.A. County, including patients from the neighboring Rancho Los Amigos Rehabilitation Center. One of the largest centers in the U.S. specializing in rehabilitating people with SCI, Rancho Los Amigos also treats those shot and paralyzed in gang-related shootings. Like 38-year-old Life Medical employee and wheeler Eric Gibson, a former Fruit Town Brim foot soldier who was shot five times in the back and paralyzed in a drive-by. Now he’s a T12 incomplete, which means that although he has some movement and feeling in his legs, he is still confined to a wheelchair. Gibson, like many of the gunshot victims treated at Rancho Los Amigos, decided to change his life, and spends his time talking to L.A. youth about peer pressure, drugs, gangs and gun violence.
Box is constantly searching for new ideas that will improve the lives of the disabled. Like most of Colours’ employees, Box is into trick stuff. He loves off-road racing, and says he has “a constant need for speed.”
Anything that is mechanical and has a motor in it draws Colours’ curiosity, including the annual custom-auto show and concert at the Los Angeles Convention Center, sponsored by Dub, the ultimate automotive-lifestyle magazine. (This year’s show is on Sunday, February 19.) The Dub car show features the hottest tricked-out cars with the hottest car models, a celebrity-car showcase, and an all-star hip-hop concert with Mike Jones this year.
Colours, www.colourswheelchair.com ;(800) 892-8998. Billet wheels, $999; spinners, $650. Check out the Web site for info on fatso tires and hundreds of other designs.
Life Medical Home Care Services, 8051 Imperial Hwy., Downey; (562) 904-1000.