Great history from Wikipedia:
"The spinner cap was introduced into the commercial vehicle and passenger automobile market in the 1930s. The spinner or "knock-off" was designed to keep the wheel on the automobile. They were screwed on and "knocked on tightly" using hammers and tools, hence the name "knock-offs". Most setups will feature right-hand threads on the left side of the vehicle, and left-hand threads (rotate clockwise to remove) on the vehicle's right side so the screw-on spinner would stay tightened as the auto was in forward motion. The knock-off spinners were used until the development of the lug nut method attaching the wheel.
During the 1950s automobile manufacturers offered simulated wire wheel covers for a look of luxury that featured criss-crossing spokes designed to look like the real wire wheels that were used on vehicles in the 1920s and 1930s. These "spinner-wheel covers" were available on standard as well as featured on custom cars, and lowriders quickly adapted them for their own vehicles.
During the early-1960s, the simulated wire wheel covers returned, but with new look designed to emphasize sportiness with their radiating spokes and center "spinner caps." These classic center spinner caps feature a rigidly mounted propeller-like center element, usually with two or three projecting "blades."[They were intended to simulate the knock-off hubs that were used on vintage racing vehicles and classic sports cars where a hammer or special wrench was used on the spinner to release or tighten the wheel to the hub.
These spinner hubcaps were most often an optional appearance upgrade to the standard equipment hubcaps or full wheel covers that attached to stamped steel wheels.
In the late 1960s, U.S. Federal safety standards banned the use of protruding bar spinners on automobiles."
My first love of spinners was from the Mach 5.
Coincidentally the Mach 5 or Mach GoGoGo was originally serialized in print in Shueisha's 1966 Shōnen Book - immediately prior to the U.S. ban. Which made them even more HIP!