Member Poll – 1931 Wheels

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    Ok, everyone here knows I am a purist. It’s correct factory pre war or nothing for me. That being said, I am thinking about making a modification to my 1931 Series 42 Dual Cowl, and thought I would run it by the members. 1931 is a one year only wheel, six lugs for all three series. 41 & 42 used 18 inch wheels, series 43 used 19. Here is my delema- I am going to chrome my wire wheels, but I am thinking of going from the snap ring to a drop canter wheel. Thus eliminating the snap ring. Since I drive my cars hard and fast, I like the safety and convenience of the drop center rims. By posting here I am obviously not trying to hide the fact or pull a fast on the judges…… but I am interested in the members comments. And, if you judge would you deduct points, and how many? Thanks, Ed Minnie


    Since you do drive your cars a lot and you say you are rather spirited while doing so, I would use the drop center wheel for safety sake.

    Sure, you may get points taken off at a show but that’s better than having a wheel come apart at speed.


    This may be a bit odd, but why wouldn’t you have 2 sets of wheels, one for driving and one for show? Those of us who also appreciate the cars after WW II (grin) often do this. A ’56 Tbird for instance, originally had rims without safety beards, and the ’62 Tbird Roadster came with Kelsey Hayes 48 spoke wires with tubes that were constantly cut by the spokes. Neither rim handles a radial tire well, so the simple solution is a modern (60’s vintage) 15 inch rim for the ’56 and 14 inch steel wheels with spinners for the ’62. Takes up a bit of space, but is MUCH safer and a better ride.


    Bob the wheels are one year only and just about impossible to find. I have a decent skills at finding cars and parts but I haven’t been able to come up with a spare set of wheels. And on the $20,000 price tag to chrome wire wheels today when you’re already have a set, the dollars add up very fast.


    5 years ago I had my 6 19″ wires reworked with Stainless Steel wires. Cost was about $900.00 per wheel. Location of shop was in Ventura, California. Painted the rims same as body. New hub caps from Dave Murray, and chromed the lock rings, $150.00 per set. Results are excellent.


    I really think Eddie that you are over reacting to stock wheels. My 1931 Model 42 convertible coupe was delivered to me from Long Island the day before the Pierce meet in Sturbridge, Ma. in the summer of 1984. My friend that sold me the car delivered it to me, having driven the car from Long Island on the New York thruway. The following day I drove the car to Sturbridge (car had wire wheels and thirty year old Martin 7 ply tires). There were no incidents on either trip related to wheels or tires. The spokes and rims after 50 plus years didn’t look the best. I sent them to Dayton Wire wheel, and much like Bill Rolapp, had them respoked with stainless steel, and the rest of the wheels refinished,also the split rings were replated.. When I sold the car two years ago, and 30 years after the work was done, the wheels were still fine. These cars were built at a time when roads were no where as good as they are today. The Pierce engineers appeared to have done a good job on the wheels.


    I can’t recall any wheel failures with snap ring wheels. Maybe it was common, and I just missed any articles about the wheels and their issues.

    My understanding of the snap ring wheels, is that once the tires mounted, the snap ring installed and seated, the tire inflated, the snap ring will not come out.. There can be a failure of the ridge on the rim that retains the snap ring, but that should be able to be checked for with magnaflux equipment.

    I think most people will not notice or object to the different wheel, as long as the hub cap has the right appearance, If the hub cap is like the ones for a ’33 836, that will be easily noticed.

    Greg Long

    Judging? probably a few points off for authenticity.


    There are a lot of reasons to convert. Much easier and safer to change a flat or install new tires. No issues with chrome and paint damage while installing the rings. With new drop center rims, I can run radials if I would like too, can’t be done with snap rings. There would be no change in hub caps. I’m thinking I am going to go with the drop center wheel option, it’s just an overall better option. And it’s only “one year”” off on the production calender. I’ll deal with the deduction and live with it. Thanks to all who chimed in. Ed Minnie.”


    An old thread, but an interesting subject. I’m curious about progress on the wheel and rim restoration.

    Ed, where will you have the drop center rims made? Will you go with 18″ or 19″” ? or 17″” like on the ’33 and later cars. Right now I think there is a better selection of tires available for the 17″” rim size.

    How about trim rings on the wheel? will you try to use a trim ring ??

    Greg Long


    Ed, the way you drive, you should have “mags”” and a parachute

    attached on the rear for added braking. A crash helmet and various

    dashboard religious symbols would offset the points that Greg

    would deduct for straying from original. The best to you…

    The other Tony”


    Tony, I need a crash test dummy for the 36 V12, can you make any suggestions? 😃. Greg, still working on the wheels. I will use current hubs that are of 19 inch factory wheel. I recently have had two sets made, and need to do two more for friends, then I will do mine. I am willing to take the point adjustment on them if need be. I may also restore a set of wood artillery wheels also, for PAS judging to beat the point deduction. The better safety of drop center rims, easier to change tires, and no dealing with snap rings are just too appealing for a car I intend to drive on a regular basis when I retire.


    Greg, no trim ring as the car is a 31 so it’s one aspect I don’t have to deal with. The series 42 used 18s and I intend to stay with them.

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