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John & Steve

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  1. The third Neville fatman wheel came my way last month. I bought it because I could see several differences between the first two I had. The cross over piece on the bottom is located behind the wood rather than in front, like every other Neville I've seen. The straight shaft is 3/4" diameter, with two key ways at the 9 and 3 position. Only one of these key ways was used, so it may have been installed on a "T" Model Ford. The key used on this wheel was made from square "key stock" which is still available from Napa Auto parts (#770-1782). For us DB guys, if we need replacement keys for our steering shaft, (it takes 2). They are called "Woodruff" keys and are half moon shaped. I went down to the local Napa auto parts store, to buy an over size key to file to fit; and much to my surprise they had an exact replacement key, I could not tell the difference between the one original I had, and Napa copy 85 years newer! This Napa part (#80474) is only 95 cents.----- Back to the Neville...the wheel has only one marking on it , and that is "C-1". All of the Nevilles I've bought, have six screws holding the wood to the spider. These screws have seen better days. Either the slots were worn or the screw head was pitted. I finally tracked down a box of NOS “Arrow Brand 1" X #10 nickel-plated, raised-head, iron wood screws”. The Neville Co. installed blued or nickel plated oval head wood screws------ what ever they had on hand at the time. I replaced all 18 screws on my three wheels...they look great! If any Neville owners out there need replacement screws, I have some extras...yours for 75 cents each, plus postage. If anyone out there has a Neville "More Room" steering wheel with any other markings than the three we have talked about, please let me know...Still Collectin'...Steve.
  2. Hi again Rodger: A belated “thanks” for helping Dad and me get the Neville questions posted. Did any of the DB factory wheels have the oil holes? If not, I wonder about the need for such; as an open hole just invites water and grit into the steering system. When installed properly, a little grease on the spline and keyways should suffice for many years. Also, to respond to David D’s question on fatman reproduction steering wheels, here are a few ideas and opinions on that subject. I talked to a very knowledgeable Texas collector some years back. He had researched getting the Neville wheel reproduced both in the U.S. and over- seas. The cost in this country exceeded the highest prices paid on eBay. Having 500 pieces made in China dropped the cost down to about half. Everyone I’ve talked to wants an original, “...I will wait as long as it takes to get one...” (In my case almost six years). I believe the cost of a good Neville wheel is more than offset by the increase in value of the vehicle in which it is installed. The Ford fatman and tilt type repros cost around $500. This is a lot of money when you consider how many Fords are out there. Ford owners had many different types of wheels and companies to chose from when buying their after market wheel, so many that Ford finally made their own factory tilt type wheel. This never happened with the DB factory. Most Ford repros wheels go on “hot rods”; “rat rods” and “speedsters”. This is fine for that type of application. The true Ford restorer wants an original, not a repro when it comes to a tilt or fatman type of wheel, and like most DB people I know, will wait for the right original to come along. More than one Ford and DB owner has bought a car or truck just to get the fatman wheel. After swapping wheels the vehicle is resold. David D...Your original Neville “ More Room” wheel is out there, and is worth waiting for! You don’t really want a Neville repro marked “Made In China” do you? Still Collectin’...Steve.
  3. Thanks for the info. Jan. I had a T model, after market, tilt wheel, w/horn button, for the early ‘20s Ts. I would walk around the swap meets with it...every Ford guy would try to buy it, but I said it was for trade, only, against the cost of a Neville wheel for my ‘24 DB. After getting the two Nevilles I sold the T fatman for approx. $350, much less than the Nevilles bring on eBay now. Jan, you and one other DB member have expressed a wish to buy my “extra” Neville wheel; the one with the 4 key ways and the best of the two data plates. I paid top dollar for this one because I didn’t want to go to Hershey and maybe, even then, come home empty handed. The old timers, myself included, cringe when they see Nevilles going for $800 to $1,200 on eBay, but with the cost of gas-hotels-air travel-etc., it’s sometimes the only way to go. I want to find out if this 4 key Neville fits any other vehicle, like a Cad, Buick or Packard. The wheel could be worth more to them than a DB owner...maybe? I bought this first Neville on eBay last winter, eBay # 37001991, I doubt if the listing still appears after this amount of time. The original listing said circa 1917 Neville, it had good pictures and description. I paid approx. $950 with the shipping etc. I will sell it , but not at a loss...Still Collectin’...Steve.
  4. Fellow DB Owners: After almost six years of looking for a Neville (Fatman) steering wheel for my '24 Fisher Body Coupe; I finally lucked out and bought two of them on e-bay. This past winter I installed each of them (one at a time) just to see which one fit the best. Both wheels are in great shape and fit equally well. My question to you Neville owners is: -one wheel has four keyways, at the 12&6 and the 9&3 positions, and is marked 3B-5. The second wheel has two keyways only, at the 12&6 positions, plus a hole drilled through the hub marked with "Oil Here". The second wheel is marked 5B-5. Both wheels have the same makers plate with the same patent dates. Is the 3B-5 older than the 5B-5? I presently have the 5B-5 installed and may relist the other on ebay. Has anyone in the club ever "centered the wheel" on a '24 DB? With only one tie rod end, and what appears to be a square shaft coming off the steering box, I can't figure out how to center the wheel as I have in the past on other cars and trucks. Both wheels seem to come out at the 2 o'clock position when driving straight down the road. Even the original advertising for the wheel shows a well dressed lady with the wheel somewhat off center to the 1 or 2 o'clock position. Any ideas Guys?-----Should it be straight or slightly to the right to provide more room to get in and out? Still Collectin'.... John & Steve
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