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OZ 50 Year Anniversary 2021
1971-2021: OZ is 50 years old.
The Italian company celebrates half a century of innovation, design and success in motorsports.
The story of OZ, true and proper icon of the automotive world, started on 4 January 1971 thanks to the intuition of two individuals united by their passion for automobiles.
It was out back, behind the gas station in Rossano Veneto, a small village in the province of Vicenza, that Silvano Oselladore and Pietro Zen (whose initials led to the name of OZ) decided to create the first light alloy rim specifically designed for a Mini Cooper.
It was the first step of an amazing 50 year-long path of constant growth and development for OZ as a company and for its products, 5 decades in which it kept pace and most often anticipated the needs of consumers and trends of the automotive industry.
This very obsession for research and innovation drove the company to enter the world of motorsports within a few years of its establishment, quickly grow to earn a leadership position, and become a true icon for motorsport aficionados. OZ is in fact a synonym for winning, and the numbers speak for themselves. In Formula 1 since 1985, and the WRC Rally since 1988, OZ boasts more than 200 titles, stepping onto the podium with legendary teams and racing squads, which most recently include: Scuderia Ferrari, Mercedes AMG Petronas, Red Bull Racing, Renault Sport F1 Team, Haas F1 and Sauber Alfa Romeo F1 Team in the F1, Ford World Rally Team and Citroen Total World Rally Team in the WRC, Audi Sport in the DTM, Le Mans and many others.
Nonetheless, motorsport successes have always kept pace with its business growth both in the aftermarket and in the production of extremely high level automobile models, where the company immediately asserted itself as a reference point for design and innovation.
For 50 years OZ has partnered with the most prestigious automobile brands in the world, foremost amongst which Ferrari, Lamborghini, Maserati, Aston Martin, Lotus and McLaren.
These partnerships have resulted in exclusive projects and extremely high-tech wheels now preserved and displayed in the OZ wheel museum (located at its San Martino di Lupari headquarters in the province of Padua).
We are talking about models that made history, and left an indelible mark on the minds of all automobile aficionados: Lamborghini Countach, Ferrari Testarossa, Lotus Esprit, McLaren F1 LM, Bugatti Veyron, Pagani Zonda and the Mercedes-Benz SLR.
Over the years there was no lack of contributions by the most prestigious automobile design brands like Bertone, Fissore, Dallara, Pininfarina, Italdesign, AMG, Hartge, Carlson, Koenigsegg, Hottinger, Pagani, Fittipaldi, Mazzanti, Callaway, AC Schnitzer, Cizeta, Strosek and Giugiaro.
And not only cars, but motorcycles as well. In 1972 OZ entered the two-wheels market, and thereafter established a dedicated business division: OZ Motorbike.
Through the years OZ has partnered with leading motorcycle manufacturers, including Aprilia, Ducati, Norton and Bimota, and equipped the best teams in all categories of global motorbike racing. The 5 back-to-back MotoGP titles won by Marc Marquez are just the latest milestones achieved by OZ in this sector.
Today OZ is a lean company and radically different from the OZ of the 1970s,a global excellence that has managed to preserve and consolidate its Italian spirit of craftsmanship and creativity.
Headquartered in San Martino di Lupari, its foremost manufacturing site to date, the company produces and sells light alloy wheels to 72 countries, through a global network of commercial partners and sales subsidiaries.
Today OZ plays a relevant role in the aftermarket wheels sector, with a multi-brand offer that includes over 70 alloy rim models available in over 25 finishes (colors), and a diameters range spanning from 14” to 22”.
OZ covers hundreds of thousands of automotive applications through its extremely wide ranging offer and a multi-brand strategy which, in addition to the OZ Racing brand, also includes the MSW Wheels and Sparco Wheels product lines.
Ever committed to continuous improvement, for OZ this 50th anniversary is not only a moment to be celebrated, but an opportunity to plan ahead by focusing on the evolution and future needs of the mobility market. The company has been working on developing rims for hybrid and electric cars since 2016. As tradition demands, its research and development activities are conducted on racetracks, and specifically in partnership with all Formula E championship teams.
Its commitment and sensitivity to future mobility issues is also further borne out by the company’s decision to venture into the e-bikes market and launch the OZ brand first foldable electric bike.
A new project, a message about a future bound to be different from today, where the company continues to be center stage, as it has for its first 50 years.
Fifty years of dreams, gratification and successes, but also over 10 years of commitment and support to the entire community, and the University of Padua in particular.
To help educate future engineers, OZ opened actual labs within its manufacturing facilities, where students develop prototypes to be entered in Formula SAE competitions, commonly known as Formula Student. The event seeks to foster the development of race cars driven by renewable energy. It’s a precious opportunity for students to work and learn side by side with the same engineers who design OZ wheels for leading F1 teams.
“We take great pride in what we do - says Eng. Bernoni, CEO of OZ Spa - and all of us are committed to creating the best products possible. Our greatest desire and hope is for everyone who uses and falls in love with OZ wheels to perceive this commitment to excellence.”
Therefore, this 50th anniversary is not merely a birthday, but an opportunity to continue telling and sharing decades of achievements: a wealth of knowledge, experiences, innovations and technologies cyclically imbued in wheels made for everyday cars.
For the company 2021 will be a year of celebrations culminating with the market launch of several new products bound to create a buzz, and revolutionize the paradigms of the wheels market.
After 50 years in business, the company eagerly continues to set new goals and pursue the vision that brought it to life. Happy birthday OZ.