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A great sales tactic... WalMart steering wheel cover on a late '40's Cadillac


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I'm hard to shock, but I let out an audible gasp at my desk when I saw this while looking at photos of this Caddy for sale this morning, just too awful not to share. First time I've ever seen a WalMart wheel cover on a late '40's Cadillac, and its gotta be my last, right?? I'd almost buy it just to experience the sense of relief I'd feel ripping this thing off. It's not a cover- it's a cry for help!  😁 

1949-cadillac-series-62 (1).jpg

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We have a big box full of fuzzy dice and crappy wheel covers like that. They, along with non-OEM fender skirts, are the first things to come off when a car arrives in our shop. Yuck.

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Is it really that bad? Maybe the steering wheel has been recast and he's trying to protect it from UV damage. I love the feel of hard cast steering wheels and would have never done that, but whatever floats your boat.

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Posted (edited)

While some (including me) may find such covers less than appealing, I’ve known/seen many such being used in vintage cars by drivers/owners with severe arthritis issues in their hands/fingers.

 

I personally use (leather) gloves when driving my vintage cars with casted steering wheels, merely to prevent body oils, sweat or suntan lotions, etc to getting impregnated to casting and causing premature aging/failure issues.

 

OTOH, they have also been known for decades having been used to hide cracked or otherwise damaged steering wheel rim when presenting a car for sale.

Edited by TTR (see edit history)
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What, you never had a Superior "500" steering wheel cover?!

 

I'm old enough to remember when they came in colors and were actually laced to the wheel😊. My 76 Ninety Eight has a blue leather one to cover Olds' notorious foil and lucite insert which usually lasts only a few years at best before disintegrating, and is almost impossible to restore.

 

To seller's credit he matched the colors nicely. I also suspect he's trying to protect an original or $$$ restored steering wheel.

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That's the Sombrero wheelcover. "Mexico" stamped on the inner lip.

 

Reminds me of a life-time memorable early '50's Cadillac I looked at for sale in the early 1990's. It was inherited or liberated from a widow and restored by a frugal man. Every replaceable part was refitted with J. C. Whitney's universal, fits all, parts. That was back way before Ebay thought up fits all parts compatibility. The old guy thought he had done his due diligence. That one stuck in my mind and must have saved me money by example.

 

Back in my mid-teens one of my grandfather's dealer friends gave me a log lecture on his methodology of "Pyramiding his investment" in used cars. A lecture to last a life-time, I avoided his technique at every opportunity.

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Whenever seeing this kind of thing at Wallyworld or the AutoZone/Discount Auto/O'reilly's, I have to wonder who buys this stuff?  Now I know...  To be fair, I did put some aftermarket mud flaps on my first car ('67 Mustang) that fit into this category nicely.

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The one on the Caddy is actually kinda upscale compared to many. I think they're made for any and all tastes. Camo with Ford/Ram/Bowtie for redneck boys, pink marabou fur with glitter for princesses, two-tone "leather and wood" for nouveau riche import owners...

 

But to really throw down you gotta have one with Hello Kitty on it!😃

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2 hours ago, rocketraider said:

 

I'm old enough to remember when they came in colors and were actually laced to the wheel😊

...and if you removed it, you were left with a steering wheel with hundreds of little round dirt dots.

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Good grief!   I think some of you folks grew up in another universe!   Things like that were sometimes used for impression. Good or bad as the case may be.    That [  wheel cover ]  was sometimes used  as a softener to the hard wheel after a person had driven a car with a "soft"  wheel.  Ever grabbed a holt of a hard wheel in , say Phoenix ,  when the temp is 115 or so?  Thought not. 

 

  BLONDS, BRUNETTS OR REDHEADS. 

 

  Ben

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38 minutes ago, Ben Bruce aka First Born said:

  Ever grabbed a holt of a hard wheel in , say Phoenix ,  when the temp is 115 or so? 

If you don't have two or three of these laying around, you're not from the desert.

 

Windshield-Sunshades.jpg.6a0827d61f9d95ef7ad3f181aa23d3ab.jpg

 

Besides, the outer door handle will blister your fingers long before you scorch your backside on the seat or attempt to touch the steering wheel without turning the A/C on HIGH for 3 or 4 minutes first.  :lol:

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The steering wheel in my 1984 Chevrolet S-10 was "decomposing" and left sticky gooey stuff on my hands, so before selling the truck I installed a similar cheap cover over it and the buyer was never any wiser about the issue.   Actually the entire interior of that truck was plastic and was cracking from UV exposure

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Posted (edited)
6 hours ago, Bloo said:

Is it really that bad? Maybe the steering wheel has been recast and he's trying to protect it from UV damage. I love the feel of hard cast steering wheels and would have never done that, but whatever floats your boat.

 

I agree with Bloo and TTR. Some covers might actually be used for their advertised purpose: covering to protect or enhance grip (rather than covering to hide defects or be ornamental.) None of my cars have steering wheel covers - I don't really like them - but all that stuff is easy enough to remove so I'll direct my disdain towards flame paint jobs on '73 Plymouth station wagons.

Edited by JamesR (see edit history)
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Posted (edited)
10 hours ago, MikeC5 said:

Whenever seeing this kind of thing at Wallyworld or the AutoZone/Discount Auto/O'reilly's, I have to wonder who buys this stuff?  Now I know...  To be fair, I did put some aftermarket mud flaps on my first car ('67 Mustang) that fit into this category nicely.

Did somebody say “mud flaps”?. Here’s a pair I’ve been kicking around the garage for almost 40 years.  Paid a whole $2.14 a pair! Sorry NFS. Bought for my 69 Cougar XR7 convertible, never put em on.

Edited by Steve9 (see edit history)
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As mentioned previously, many older drivers find larger steering wheels easier to handle. Simply compare a late model steering wheel (on the fat side) to a 30's, 40's, 50's, or 60's, steering wheel. Which one is more comfortable?

 

You seem to be forgetting something.... These old cars were made to drive, and if they are easier to drive - all the better. You can do what you want, but don't sneer because someone else made an adjustment in order to enjoy his or her vintage auto.

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20 hours ago, rocketraider said:

...cover Olds' notorious foil and lucite insert which usually lasts only a few years

at best before disintegrating, and is almost impossible to restore.

 

Yes, the steering wheels you describe I sometimes

see deteriorated;  others are perfectly fine decades later.

I wonder whether sun exposure deteriorates them.

 

But thankfully, Rocketraider, they are restorable.

I just had one from my 1969 Eldorado beautifully restored

by Gary's Steering Wheel Restoration in Carlisle, Penna.

It's as good as new.

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Posted (edited)

Well, when and where I grew up, mud flaps were mandatory (in the rear) on most cars.

The ones with Yosemite Sam/“Back Off” and “Keep On Trucking” were quite popular on American made ‘50s/‘60s (hobby) cars. The ones with a car manufacturer name or logo were also popular but more costly and difficult to obtain than “B.O.” or “K.O.T.” which were available in-stock or through the 2-3 parts stores specializing in (aftermarket) parts for American cars.


Anything through a Dealerships parts departments (OEM parts) usually cost an arm, a leg and your (not yet conceived) firstborn, therefor not accessible for most of the enthusiasts/hobbyists, especially younger ones.

 

Heck, even most aftermarket parts for older American cars were often costing arm and at least a foot compared to similar European car items. 

And no, there were no Horrid Frights or RockBottomAutos to offer “cheap” junk and even if there had been, I’m pretty sure most of the guys I grew up with into this hobby wouldn’t had shopped in places like that, even though many of us often had to save a month or few to buy a set of new wheel cylinders for our pride and joy.

Edited by TTR (see edit history)
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Early steering  wheels are like old people, after 65 years they start to deteriorate.  Bake-o-lite starts leaving your hands black.

The cure I found is single stage acrylic enamal with  hardner and a flattening agent.   Resulting in clean hands!

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  • Peter Gariepy changed the title to A great sales tactic... WalMart steering wheel cover on a late '40's Cadillac

For those of us who live in areas that are extremely cold in the winter heated steering wheels are a blessing. For older cars steering wheel covers can feel pretty nice in the winter. My Escalade lacks a heated wheel and I seriously considering a cover for the winter. I have found myself driving with two fingers to keep from gripping a cold wheel. Some gloves are very slippery on a shiny wheel.

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1 hour ago, SC38DLS said:

Paul, I started deteriorating long before 65!
My 38 Studebaker steering got its first crack last year at 82!   

    I guees I buy more aged used cars than I thought.  If they still have big headlights and a good body, I can live with a chauky

    steering wheel.  I have a few new suspension parts myself, but not until 73.  There is a Birthday card comparing old cars to

    old men, something about leaking, backfiring, loosing power etc, but I try to ignore that stuff.

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