What’s So Great About Wire Wheels, Anyway?
Photography by Dorothee Auldridge, Wogbe Ofori, & Clayton Seams
I’m aware of how wheel technology developed, how in the early years it’s not as if Enzo Ferrari could have picked a modern set of lightweight alloy wheels and low-profile tires from the shelf and gone racing. Wire wheels were a necessity because there was nothing better, for a time.
My memory of them has been irrevocably shaped by the wire-like hubcaps that General Motors installed on everything for at least a decade, a look that ensured cars made during the Roger & Me years looked obsolete before rolling out of the factory.
But why did they live on well past their sell-by dates, as alloy and pressed steel wheel technology improved to the point of ubiquity? Moreover, why bother with the upkeep today, when many older cars can benefit from a tasteful upgrade onto steel or alloy wheels?