GUNIWHEEL™ Makes the Collision Repair World Go Round One Wheel at a Time

GUNIWHEEL™ Makes the Collision Repair World Go Round One Wheel at a Time

An auto body shop manager in San Francisco, CA, told me he spends more time moving cars than fixing them.

With limited space on the shop floor and literally zero parking in the lot, staging vehicles is a full-time job for an apprentice whose title is “porter.” He wants to train to be a technician, but in the end he’s nothing more than a valet.

Fixing cars back to their pre-accident condition is tough enough and, in many cases, moving vehicles safely around the shop is a separate job all on its own.

With a mission to safely mount and move vehicles with its universal bolt pattern shop wheels, GUNIWHEEL™ is popular with body shops, car restoration companies, towing companies, wheel repair companies and car dealerships.

Its universal four- or five-bolt pattern designs for cars and light SUVs are made of thicker steel for more durability needed in heavy-use shop environments. Easy to mount and safe to install on all hub locations, their skinny compact design frees up work space around the hub, stacks up neatly on racks and stands and eliminates the need for multiple spares laying around.

Drivable up to 5 mph, GUNIWHEEL™ rolls easily over hoses, grates, humps and ramps. It can also be used in the paint booth to avoid overspray on expensive wheels and tires.

It comes in three sizes based on the vehicle’s bolt pattern and the size of the center bore: the GUNIWHEEL™ 45S, 56 and 80.

Made from polyurethane injection molding, the solid black tire on every GUNIWHEEL™ won't go flat and features a unique safety feature to prevent over speeding. Evenly-spaced ribs are molded across the width of the tire and will begin to vibrate once speeds reach the speed limit rating of 5 mph. The carbon steel rim has a durable design and is painted orange for quick and easy identification. Each wheel weighs just 34 pounds.

Director of Marketing Mike Dunlap has seen the market for GUNIWHEEL™ explode and has been integral to the company’s success. The first big distribution agreement it signed was with LKQ/Keystone, and shortly thereafter, car rebuilders and many top names in the industry started lining up to try GUNIWHEEL™.

“We were at SEMA setting up a small booth for their Ignited event in [2019], and we ran into some of Chip Foose’s builders,” Dunlap said. “They saw the GUNIWHEEL™ and said 'we love it,' and two weeks later Chip called us. When a major player like Foose starts recommending a product, people listen, and that’s how we found a whole new group of people who became believers.”

Alex Rodriguez owns Dynamic Collision, a mini-MSO with three shops in New York, New Jersey and Florida. He has been using GUNIWHEEL™ products for the past three years and has been an enthusiastic brand ambassador for the company since the first day he tried one. He owns a total of 60 GUNIWHEEL™ products of all different sizes to accommodate every vehicle that comes through his doors.

“When I find products that provide solutions for my business, I am never afraid to recommend them and that’s why we often post photos and reviews about GUNIWHEEL™,” Rodriguez said. “Our shops are busy all the time, so we can’t afford to stop or slow down our production. We need to keep the vehicles driveable and moving through the body repair process. They make us more efficient and we’re able to get rid of multiple spare tire racks or digging through the customers’ trunk for spares. Our insurance partners are always looking at our cycle time, so efficiency is paramount and GUNIWHEEL™ helps us to keep the ball rolling without stopping or waiting.”

Great inventions often start as simple solutions for potentially complex problems. In 2018, the inventor, GUNIWHEEL™ President and CEO Sergio Rovito, had a company that repaired and reconditioned wheels for body shops and car dealerships.

One particular customer of Rovito’s indirectly led to the invention of the GUNIWHEEL™, Dunlap said.

“We had a high-end body shop in Arizona that we were repairing wheels for and one particular Bentley gave us some trouble. We were having difficulty matching the color on the wheels, so the Bentley sat in the shop as we went back and forth," he said. "They told us they needed the wheel back so they could finish the repair and get the vehicle out of the shop. So, Sergio thought of a solution, and that’s the genesis of GUNIWHEEL™.”

When he came up with the initial design, Rovito was going to name it the Uniwheel, but to make it more unique and personalized, Rovito added the “G” in honor of his daughter, Gabriella. Many people call them “Gunis” and the company’s motto is “Get your Guni on!”

The true genius behind the product is a universal vehicle bolt pattern Rovito conceptualized and then patented.

The company’s road to success has been random and wonderful, Dunlap said, with a string of amazing victories along the way.

“We have been nominated for the SEMA New Product Awards every year, and we have always been a bridesmaid," he said. "But, just to be associated with SEMA has given us a ton of credibility. Then, Kristen Felder at Collision Hub did a video about us as part of her 'Cool Tools' series, and that was huge.”

Some of the country’s top vehicle restorers praise GUNIWHEEL™. Chip Foose called them “Great rollers for around the shop!” Dave Kindig said, “GUNIWHEEL™ is awesome for us! Perfect for moving our many projects around the shop." Ryan Evans from Count's Kustoms said, “These are a staple in our shop.” Goolsby Customs said, “GUNIWHEEL™ is the perfect option for transporting or just to move things around the shop."

Every year, GUNIWHEEL™ comes up with new products for new applications, with each one gaining industry acceptance and garnering five-star reviews. One of these is the GUNIHUB™ 45, a universal rotating hub used when brakes are disengaged or when a car is stuck in the parked gear.

“This product is perfect for cars like Teslas and other electric cars where if the battery is dead, the wheels won’t rotate,” Dunlap said.

Another product GUNIWHEEL™ will be releasing in mid-2022 is the new GuniSpare, designed for cars without spare tires. It’s a universal emergency spare wheel that will come with one year of roadside assistance and all the accessories needed to change the spare, including a safety vest and a hydraulic jack.

Ed Attanasio

Columnist
Ed Attanasio is an automotive journalist and Autobody News columnist based in San Francisco.

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