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Thread: " chrome reverse wheels"

  1. #1
    Junior Member SHOW GUEST
    Join Date
    Jun 2012

    " chrome reverse wheels"

    Hello Folks:
    I just came across an ad on this site selling " chrome reverse wheels" Now, I've seen this happen all too often where someone is selling chrome reverse when actually they're not. They just chrome wheels.
    A bit of hotrod history....reverse rims came about when stock car racers in the 30's and 40's wanted a wider wheelbase which would give them more stability in corners but the only wheels available at the time were OEM on which the bias of the offset put the rim center well over on the chassis side of the lugs and wheel-mounting face. There were, some guys that had access to large engine lathes who tried splitting the rims and adding a section to make the whole rim wider; ostensibly to fit a wider tire. Problem was however, that wider tires (unlike today) were almost non-existant. At some point one of these savvy machinists realized that by merely separating the rim from the wheel center section and flipping it, you could create any offset that you desired within the physical limits of the wheels in question. You could make the car's track 4 to 5 inches wider which simple physics demonstrates has the same effect as lowering the center of gravity, not to mention improvements in roll-center etc.
    Now with the advent of the solid steel wheel in the 30's as opposed to the multiple spoke designs earlier on; it became necessary for the OEM's to design cosmetic considerations into these steel wheels. So, they added the raised ring around the lug area which created a mounting point for adding the small hubcap in the center which we now loosely refer to as "baby moons". Another addition was the 90 degree step on the outside of the rim that provided: first a horisontal flat where a beauty ring could be mounted (which would also become the mount for full wheel-covers eventually) and second, a vertical surface to drill for a valve-stem which puts the stem at the correct angle to protrude thru a beauty ring or full cover. Originally this 90 degree step was only on the outside of the rim so when a rim was reversed there was no easy way to mount beauty rings because the 90 degree step was now on the inside. What you had now was an angled surface that gently sloped down to the flat which seated the tire bead. If you look at early cars like the "Ivo T bucket" and the "Norm Grabowski T" you'll notice that they both use the "baby moons" but no beauty rings. There were variations between OEMs of course and some wheels looked better that others when reversed.
    When eventually someone got the idea to chrome these modified wheels, they really created an iconic look as the gently sloping rim section between the wheel center and the bead surface forms a deep dish effect with very attractive reflective characteristics from the chrome.
    There are a few publications out there with photos of hotrods from "way back then" and if you look closely, you'll be able to see the difference between "chromed" and " chrome reversed".
    When I became old enough to get bitten by the car bug, the words "mag wheel" were non-existant. It was very different especially when you consider the fact that virtually every OEM vehicle today can be had with "alloy wheels" as an option and in magazines we are inundated with alloy wheel choices "ad nauseaum". Back then the average hotrodder would use caps n' rings. It was also popular to use the wheel covers from the doner car that provided the engine that you swapped into your hotrod/custom which thereby gave a subtle hint that you were packin' prodigious horse-power. Of course some guys would have the money left over after the cam and carbs, headers and gears, etc., to get the chrome stuff and chrome reverse was pretty high prestige, even show quality if you had the spider caps! Albert :wink:

  2. #2
    Senior Member RACING JUNKIE TheYellaBrick's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Emmett, Idaho
    Well, Albert, that was quite an interesting first post ! Kudos to you as it is about historic American car culture, AND it doesn't appear to be a spam or an advertisement.
    Welcome aboard.
    to those who

    God Bless our folks in uniform
    "We the People, have your backs"

  3. #3
    Senior Member DYNO OPERATOR bixblk's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Chicagoland area


    agreed (x2)

  4. #4
    Senior Member RACING JUNKIE
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    falkville al
    chrome reverse arent bought, they are the time you change the centers around and have them chromed you have spent a fortune. but damn they look good with a set of baby moons. but with the price of chrome today id have to settle for smoothies.

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