View Full Version : Wheel Question..

05-02-2006, 01:20 AM
You folks are smart and without question the most polite auto forum I am on, so I will pose another question...

I have a 64 TR4 that I am slowly dismantling. It came with a nice new interior still in boxes and 7 wire wheels. If I ever get it apart, my plan is a slightly modern restoration with an eye toward a daily driver.

I have been poking around the pic you folks and while I get why folks go with the normal bolt on wheels, I just can't resist the tempatation of the wire wheels. They just look so great.

I was reading on someone's restoration site, that if you go with new wire wheels, you should swap the hubs as well, something along the lines of them wearing together.

The wheels I have are straight, but rough. They look like they were painted quite some time ago.

My long winded question is in several parts;
Can I just have my wheels chromed?
Is it cheaper or better to just buy a new set? I was looking through the Victoria and Moss catalogs and they seem quite pricey.

If I go with refurbishing my old ones, is there a place you folks reccomend?

This is some time off, but again, I am deployed and my thoughts always return to my garage when I am away. So I spent a lot of time dreaming, schemeing, and planning.

Thanks for your time and input.

05-02-2006, 06:54 AM
It would be pretty expensive to have wire wheel's chromed... I think it would be cheaper to just buy new wheels. If you get new wheels, the hubs should be replaced at the same time, why? for same reason that you replace the lifters when you get a new cam: wear patterns. If you replace one without replacing the other, the new parts starts to wear much quicker, thus significantly reducing the part's usable life.

For a vendor to use... at least on the east coast Allen Hendrix of Hendrix Wire Wheel is great guy (https://www.hendrixwirewheel.com) and extremely knowledgeable. He was able to source 5 Dayton 72 spoke wheels for cheaper than any of the big parts houses.. or he can recondition your old wheels, if they're salvageable.

05-02-2006, 07:18 AM
I had a 64 TR4 with wires and I think they gave the car a look that steel wheels cannot. I never had a problem with them and drove the car hard (very) for three years. Sometime I will share my "rubber-side-up" story and the durability of a TR. /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/angel.gif
I did loose a wire wheel on my 67 GT6 though. The spline gave way and it spun the knock-off off while breaking for a turn. The car was only a year old then and recieved a set of magnesium wheels after that. Of course I drove the GT6 very, very hard. OK, I admit, I was an idiot back then! /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/crazyeyes.gif
I still love wires and sometimes consider them for our 76 TR6. I know they are not original for the car but I do love them!

05-02-2006, 07:39 AM
The wire wheels weaken with age. You can them restored, but for safety's sake and your self assurance, I would suggest new.
The best wheel out there is Dayton, especially if you are thinking about chrome. The Dayton wheel has chrome rim and hub with stainless spokes. I had another brand where the chrome was falling off after 200 miles. Exchanged them for Dayton and have been happy since.
I would also go with 60 spoke over 48. A stronger wheel for a little more money.

05-02-2006, 07:55 AM
I wrestled with the same issue for yrs and after asking the same ?s found these answers. the stainless wires don't need near the adjustment because they don't stretch like the cromes and as doug said, there is quality issues with some crome wires. All that being said, if you do decide on wires, I have a buddy who used 60 spoke on the front & 72 spoke on the back of his TR 3. he had no problems and one great looking car.

05-02-2006, 10:20 AM
wow, wire wheels...I could go on and on...I have a 70 TR6 with painted Daytons. As much as I love the look, they have been problematic. That being said, wire wheels look great especially on the earlier TRs I loved them on my TR4. No british car of that era should be without them! A few obervations: They are expensive to buy and maintain. Painted wire wheels are NOT salvagable. The nipples rust, and any adjustments after they are more than a couple of years old results in broken spokes. If you want wires, go with stainless spoke Daytons. They stay true, and are adjustable forever. Stay away from chrome spokes(dunlops) They rust. Get them set up by someone who knows how. Allen Hendrix is the guru. These wheels can't be balanced or trued properly by your local shop. Therefore, tire changes are expensive. Expect to pay $60.00 per wheel at Hendrix for mounting, trueing and balancing. (plus shipping). He will retrue for free. Check out His website. I can't say enough good things about Allen Hendrix. You can also check with British Wire Wheel. Anything less than 60 spokes belong on a trailer queen. I would opt for 70 spoke TR6 wheel unless you are wed to the correct look. Wire wheels are heavy compared to MAGS, and the 5" rim limits the amount of rubber you can use. If the car is used for autocross, some people would say the wire wheels won't hold up. Also, if you get a flat, the wheel will probably need rebalanced, as it is almost impossible to get the tire back in the correct orientation. I just put new michelins on my car, had the wheels balanced and trued, and had a 4 wheel alignment. I can't imagine how my car could drive better. Good luck with the decision

05-02-2006, 11:02 AM
The painted wires that came on my 4A looked beautiful but (even after I changed out the awful Brazilian Volkswagen tires) did not run particulary well on the highway. Since I wanted the option of using modern tires on a 6" rim I swapped out all 16 wheel studs for the longer disc wheel variety. Then I got some new spline adapters and had some spacers machined up. This setup allows me to swap back and forth at will. The wires look great for show, but I find they mostly sit in the shed. They have new 185/15 Michelin's and tubes, all checked and mounted and balanced by my local mechanic. I run 195/65 Continental Touring on 15x6 English panasport replica's almost always. They just work better.

Wire wheels are beautiful things, but they require a major investment and regular maintenance. I would not trust any of the wire wheels you recieved with the car without them being checked by a professional. New painted wires are $265, new chrome $320 or so. Bolt-on spline adapters are $80. By all means, get them. You should get new tubes, if you don't get new tubeless wire rims. Check out:


The chrome vs. painted thing, well if you want original, I'm not sure if chrome wires were ever factory issue. I know cars were delivered that way, but I think the dealers did that at the customers request. (I'd be quite happy if some someone could set me straight about that, especially if they really know.)

It's your car - do what you like - and do what you can afford - and do what you can to be safe! /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/thumbsup.gif

Geo Hahn
05-02-2006, 11:18 AM
I like wires too. My TRs both had good steel wheels so I kept the longer studs and used spacers so I could swap a set of wires on & off the 2 cars.

64 TR4 on disk wheels: https://www.geocities.com/tucson_british_car_register/5side.JPG

Same car with wires: https://www.cybertrails.com/~ahwahnee/wires-4.JPG

Same set of wires, different car: https://www.cybertrails.com/~ahwahnee/wires-3.JPG

I have thought about putting wires on one side and disk on the other and seeing how long it takes club members to notice. The possibilities aren't endless but at least numerous and amusing.

Those are Dunlop painted wires. Because of the 2-car swap they are in almost constant use. Still look as good as new after 7 years.

05-02-2006, 02:50 PM

One way to decide if you should rehab and try to use those old wire wheels would be to have an experienced shop look at them. Might be difficult to find someone who's worked with real wire wheels, though.

I'd definitely not have them chromed, since chroming can weaken the wheel and/or spokes (many hi quality "chrome" wire wheels actually use polished stainless steel spokes for strength). Painting would be more "correct" anyway, if that's any concern.

I too like the looks of wires, but opted not to use them for weight, strength and tire size considerations. On my TR4 I'm using KN Minators (Minilite copies) and would consider Superlites. But, that's just me.

As said, painted ("argent" silver) wire wheels were the most common type when installed. Chromed w/w were available, per the TR4 catalog, but I imagine were quite expensive even when our cars were new. Actually, the TR4 parts manual lists various paint options (I recall some body color matches and off white), although I've never seen a TR4 with anything other than silver or chrome wires installed. I have seen paint colors other than silver on TR2/3 and IMHO they look great.

Frankly, I would think a new set of wire wheels might be the best option, especially without a lot more info on the existing ones.

(BTW, there are some good uses for a set of old, worn wire wheels and adapters when doing restoration work on IRS TRs. The wheels and adapters can serve to roll the car around the shop and transport it for paint work, etc. The adapters make it easy to raise the car up on special jack stands that support it with the suspension and chassis fully weighted, which is the best way to make structural body repairs on the IRS models. Old worn out wire wheels and adapters are excellent for these purposes, but generally shouldn't be used for driving.)


05-02-2006, 07:13 PM
I ordered some Panasports for my TR4A a few weeks ago. I thought about wires, then remembered my father's experience when I was growing up. He had a Spifire, and the wheel spun on the hub and came off while driving. He drilled a hole thru the knockoff and hub, inserted a bolt to hold in place, and sold the car. This was about 40 years ago.

05-02-2006, 08:47 PM
As always, timely, thoughtful and solid advice. Thank you all so much.

05-03-2006, 08:56 PM
I always liked the thought of trg wires on a trg spit...