Posted by Kevin DeVries on 9/16/2013 to Tech Articles
[This article was first published in Late Great Chevys, January 1992, pp 9-12]
Have you ever wandered around a swap meet looking for wheel covers? You’re not sure what they look like, but you saw them some time ago on a car and now you want the same thing for your Chevy. As you make your way down the rows of people, you come across a person who has a lot of wheel covers. You stand there in total amazement looking at all those covers, you wonder how any one person could have come across so many of these chrome dish shape objects. The excitement of the hunt has your blood flowing. You immediately ask the owner of these chrome wonders if he has any of these special wheel covers to fit your particular car. The salesperson replies back to you that he is sorry, but he does not know what they look like and points you to a stack of Chevrolet wheel covers.
At this point in game you are on your own. You start thumbing through a stack of hub caps. If you only had some reference material that you could take along with you. In this week's “Tech Check" we will be providing you with a quick reference guide. In it I will identify the 14" wheel covers that were available for all '58-'64 Chevys. Along with this information I will also show you new parts that are available for restoring the 1958 to 1964 wheel covers.
1. For 1958, the small hub cap had three radial fins which project inward to a center disk. Inside the disk there were two crossed flags, one checkered and the second was black with a stainless fler-de-lius and a Chevrolet crest in the center. This cap was standard equipment on all Bel Air and Biscayne models. The full wheel disc for 1958 had three fins which protrude inward to a center disk with two cross flags in the center. A black embossment with silver protruding bars were added to decorate the outer disk area. This full wheel disk was standard equipment on 1700 and 1800 series cars and optional on all remaining models. This wheel cover was also available with optional three spoke spinner which attached to the center of the cap.
2. There are several parts available to help you restore your 1958 full wheel covers. To save you many hours of trying to paint the black embossed area, a decal set is available. This set contains enough decals to do all four wheel covers. The optional spinners which attach to the full wheel covers are available in a set of four with the retainers. To help you install these on your wheel covers, purchase an Accessory Installation Manual, part #02-16. If you already have the spinners and the center plastic emblems are in bad shape, new ones are available.
3. The small hub caps for the 1959 model year retained the cross flags in the center just like the previous year. Six radial fins extend out to the outer periphery. The space between the six fins was a blacked out area to further enhance the hub cap. The full wheel covers had a set of cross flags in the middle of a large disc area. Eight radial fins extend out to the outer periphery where a row of slots were added to assist in brake cooling. In the center of the cap was a blackened area with 5 bars in between the eight fins. All the cars in 1959 came with small hub caps as standard equipment, the full wheel covers were available as optional equipment on all models. An optional two spoke spinner could also be added to the full wheel covers.
4. For the 1959 wheel covers, the wheel spinners are available in a set of four with either a black or silver back-ground. To help you with the installation of these spinners on your wheel covers we would suggest the purchase of the Accessory Installation Manual, part #02-59. The inserts for the spinners are also available in the event that you should need to replace one. Both the silver and black background inserts are available.
5. The small wheel covers for 1960 were used in their entirety from the previous year. The full size hub caps featured the slotted holes around the outer edge of the cover to aid in the cooling of the brakes. Between each air inlet a short protruding spoke was added to enhance the wheel cover. A large convex disk with a machine surface with the two crossed flags adorns the center of the wheel cover.
6. The spinners and inserts for 1960 are the same as those used in the previous year. Both the silver and black background inserts are available.
7. The small wheel cover for 1961 had four radial fins which protrude to a cone in the center. There was a ring around the center of the cap which had a group of inverted bars that were painted black. On the outer edge of the cap opposing each other the word Chevrolet is spelled out. The full wheel covers had a row of small spokes around the outside of the cover with three larger spokes. A large dish shaped middle with a protruding center enhanced the colorful crossed flags with Chevrolet spelled out in two places on the outer edge of the black background. The small cap was standard equipment on all models with the full wheel cover being offered as optional equipment. On the 1961 Impala Super Sport models, the full wheel cover was used with a three spoke spinner which replaced the plastic emblem.
8. New inserts are available for the 1961 full wheel covers, as well as the Impala Super Sport spinners.
9. In 1962 the same small wheel covers that were used the previous year were standard equipment on the three primary models, Impala, Bel Air, and Biscayne. The center of the full wheel cover for 1962 had a bright Chevrolet emblem on a field of blue. Twelve spokes protruded from a textured finish in the middle of the cover to the outside of a polished surface. The openings around the outside were placed there to aid in the cooling of the brakes. The small wheel covers were standard equipment on all three models with the full wheel covers offered as optional equipment.
10. Items which are available for the 1962 wheel cover restoration are as follows: full wheel cover center emblem, and the Super Sport spinners. These two items are both sold in sets of four.
11. The small wheel cover for 1963 had the bow tie emblem in the middle with a ring around the outside. The background of the center area was painted silver. A black background with radial ribs was enhanced by four radial spokes that extend to the outer edge of the wheel cover. The full wheel covers had a bright trim ring around the outside with radial ribs protruding upward to the center. The area between the ribs was painted silver. In the center of the cover was a black insert with bright details and a bow tie emblem in the center.
12. The Impala Super Sport hub cap for 1963 had a trim ring around the outside with several openings for cooling of the brakes. Three radial spokes extended from the outer trim ring to the center of the cap. A highlighted black plastic emblem with bright detail enhanced the "SS" script in the middle.
13. An added wheel cover for 1963 was the simulated wire cover. An illustration is provided in this “Tech Check” to show you what to look for.
14. The only item that is available at for 1963 wheel covers is the center inserts for the Impala Super Sport wheel covers.
15. The 1964 small wheel covers had a bow tie emblem protruding from the center with an embossed black painted ring around the middle. A series of radial spokes surrounded the outer part of the cover. The field behind the spokes was painted black. The full wheel disk had that distinctive outer trim ring effect with the radial spokes that were open for cooling the brakes. A brushed metal finish surrounded the middle of the wheel cover with a plastic insert in the middle. The plastic insert on these covers had a silver background with bright radial spokes which lead up to a bow tie emblem in the middle with a black background.
16. Optional 14" simulated wire wheel covers were available for all models. The spokes from the center chrome hub extended out to a chrome trim ring. A black painted backing plate with holes around the outside was added to help the cooling of the brakes. In the middle of the wheel cover was a chrome three spoke spinner with a bow tie crest in the middle.
17. The only part available to restore the wire wheel covers are the three spoke spinners which are sold as a set of four.
18. The standard Impala Super Sport wheel covers were highlighted by three bright radial ribs which extended from an outer ring which had eleven holes to help cool the brakes. Behind the three fins, a tooled finish was applied to the middle of the wheel cover to enhance the background around the three ribs. In the center of the wheel cover was a deep recessed black plastic emblem with the red "SS" script in the middle. Chrome ribs in the plastic emblem extend upward to the center cup which had ribs placed all around the outer edge.
19. The plastic center emblem for the 1964 Impala Super Sport wheel cover is the only thing reproduced.
I hope that you will find this “Tech Check” to be helpful in the search for, and the restoration of, your Southeast Chevy wheel covers. The only thing you will need to remember is to take this “Tech Check” along to your next swap meet.