If retro is the name of the game you MUST keep the wire wheels. Also, if you are willing to stay with the "take you family or your pals to the beach" theme - you MUST go the wood route.
Don't hate the decision, go with it. Flame the wood, or let it drip wood . . do something else with it.
Sorry Timmy but when you mention the words 'beach' and 'family', there really should be some wood involved.
My 2cents and thanks for sharing your vision to us. Above all, it's your vision and will be your reality.