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Early Factory Aluminum Wheel Options?


poci1957
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This is a little historical trivia for us to consider, because I am all about historic trivia.  Most of us will recall the Pontiac 8 lug wheels shown, offered in 14" sizes from 1960-68.  For those not familiar the finned aluminum center is the brake drum doubling as a drum/hub combination, with a steel wheel rim, both compatible with regular production tires and brake hardware.  This was patented under John DeLorean's name and marketed as a superior cooling solution for drum brakes, plus they are very good looking. 

 

So for our marque experts here on the forum, who else had factory aluminum wheels offered before 1960?  I guess the Cadillac "Sabre" wheels were offered starting in 1955?  And I guess they were made by Kelsey-Hayes (who also made the Pontiac units) and were an aluminum center with a steel rim?  Any other makes using aluminum in the 1950s?  What about imports?  Will be interesting to hear, thanks guys, Todd C

8LugWheel.jpg

8LugWheelB.jpg

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Biggest problem with older aluminum wheels or wheelcovers was corrosion resistance in areas with salted winter streets. Anodizing helped but even the smallest scratch started the destruction. Were these Pontiac Drums treated in any way to resist corrosion? When did they start clearcoating alloy wheels?

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46 minutes ago, TexRiv_63 said:

Biggest problem with older aluminum wheels or wheelcovers was corrosion resistance in areas with salted winter streets. Anodizing helped but even the smallest scratch started the destruction. Were these Pontiac Drums treated in any way to resist corrosion? When did they start clearcoating alloy wheels?

 

The first ones were a natural finish as shown in the photo, possibly anodized but I do not know for sure.  Later ones (1964-68) were painted black with the flat edge of the fins remaining natural.

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Funny story about DeLorean and patents. When he went to work for GM as an engineer his contract said any invention or patent he came up with while employed at GM, automatically belonged to GM. This is a standard clause in every engineer's contract. So he never bothered applying for patents on anything he worked on. Then he found out that if your name went on a patent, that information went into your employment file and could affect promotions and raises. After that he ran around writing his name on every patent he could get his hands on.

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2 hours ago, Rusty_OToole said:

Funny story about DeLorean and patents............ he found out that if your name went on a patent, that information went into your employment file and could affect promotions and raises. After that he ran around writing his name on every patent he could get his hands on.

 

You noticed I did not declare that DeLorean invented the 8 lug wheel, I specifically just said his name was on the patent.  Always try to be accurate and not overstate since I know we all are sticklers here, :) good comments.

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In an '80s brochure, Kelsey-Hayes did claim that the '55 Sabre Spoke was the first styled (partially) alloy wheel offered.
I pick up a rough pair of SS's at a farm auction a few summers ago for $10, couldn't let them go into the dumpster. Interesting construction on them, for sure.

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Here is a comparison of the early Pontiac 8 lug wheels. The top 2 wheels are mid 1961 through 1962. The lower wheel is from a 1960 Pontiac. I have a question for you POCI 57. At what time did Pontiac change from the 60 wheel to the later wheel. The early 61 cars had the 60 wheels, at some point in time they changed, I have seen March built cars with both kinds but I've also seen cars built after March with the early wheels. Been researching this for years 20150911_165537.thumb.jpg.646856a2fb2e8351c8266129624e0ace.jpgrc20150911_165537.thumb.jpg.646856a2fb2e8351c8266129624e0ace.jpgrly Pontiac 8 lug wheel.

20150908_192529.jpg

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On ‎12‎/‎10‎/‎2017 at 12:00 AM, real61ss said:

I have a question for you POCI 57. At what time did Pontiac change from the 60 wheel to the later wheel. The early 61 cars had the 60 wheels, at some point in time they changed, I have seen March built cars with both kinds but I've also seen cars built after March with the early wheels. Been researching this for years 

 

Good question Tommy, I do not know the specific timing on these early changes in 1960-61, are you in POCI and if so have you contacted the 8 lug technical advisor?  There are now several 8 lug relining services that might also know, good luck, Todd C 

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Todd,

Yes, I'm a POCI member. I haven't asked one of the advisers but a couple of years ago I was at the Muscle Car and Corvette show in Chicago and there were 7 SD cars on display so I asked Scott Tieman and Bob Kudson and neither knew. To tell you the truth I don't think they were aware of the 2 different styles..

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The editor of Smoke Signals magazine and founder of the Pontiac Oakland Museum is Tim Dye at www.pontiacoaklandmuseum.org and he is a repository of stuff like this, would be worth a call if you really want to know.  He seems slow to respond to Email so a phone call may be best but if you persist he will probably answer and if he does not know he will certainly know the right 8 lug guy to refer you to. 

 

Here is an online article that has some good information and mentions the different wheel rim with the flange but does not exactly answer your question, it more addresses the differences in the drums. 

http://www.pontiacparadise.com/parts-id/8-lug-wheels.php

 

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