The original Motor Wheel brand wheels that were installed on ’55-’56 Chryslers and Imperials did not have logos on them. Just a simulated knock-off hubcap. The caps were being reproduced recently. Owners sometimes apply small Chrysler 300 medallions to the center.
The chrome plating process is likely to introduce elemental hydrogen into the steel-setting it up for cracking failure. This problem can be at least partially solved by baking the wheels after plating. This can drive out most of the free hydrogen before it does its damage.
A local wire-wheel repair shop told me it costs more to restore an old chrome wire-spoke wheel than it does to buy a new one. Plated steel spokes are typically replaced with stainless-steel spokes.
Cleaning wire-spoke wheels to show condition consumes a lot of time, Claims of spray-on wheel cleaner effectiveness are grossly overstated.
Personally, I loved them on our ’55 C-300—on later letter-cars-the newer the year, the less I like them.
Not only are the wire wheels factory incorrect after 1956, (1957 and later were dealer installed accessories only while supplies lasted), but the repops are not identical to the original Motor Wheel rims. Differences are subtle but evident in the short spoke shapes and “nipples.” Chrysler used 48 spoke wheels on a 5 bolt by 4.5 inch pattern. Imperial and Chrysler wagons (with Imperial suspension) used 52 spoke wheels on 5 bolt by 5.5 inch pattern. Repops might vary as to number of spokes; check carefully if of concern.
Posted by: "Rich Barber" <c300@xxxxxxx>
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