If you subscribe to the view that the only place for wood is in trees, then read no further, for this feature deals with wood-rimmed steering wheels. Although there is some controversy over the use of wooden facias the wood-rimmed steering wheel is growing in popularity and is now commonly seen in staid saloon cars as well as the more sporting types. Three staff cars have been fitted with wooden-rimmed wheels, which are discussed here.
The Editor’s Mini-Minor is now graced with an Ashley Laminates “Springrim” wheel, which is of the three-spoke polished alloy type, while the varnished wooden rim has raised rivets on the reserve side to aid grip. The snag with this wheel is that other Mini drivers expect the car to disappear into the distance at great speed, but the engine has not been modified. The “Springrim” is available in 16-in. size for a number of British cars and the range will soon be extended to cover many other models.
The Assistant Editor’s Sprite has been fitted with a very luxurious wheel of first-class design and workmanship marketed under the name of “Formula de luxe” in Britain, “Laurie” in the United States, by Motor Books and Accessories. The rim is properly profiled to fit the hand, and finger grips ensure that the wheel cannot slip from the hand. The metal frame continues right round the rim, giving great rigidity and strength. This wheel is available in 15- and 16-in. size for a large number of British and foreign cars and ranges in price from £9 10s. to £11. Rather more expensive than the average wooden-rimmed wheel but the extra quality is well worth the price asked.
Fitted to a staff member’s Ford Special is the “Carlotti” wheel marketed by Les Leston which follows the normal practice of an aluminium frame to which a lamination of either beech or sapele has been bonded. Finish for a wheel costing £7 is good and its lightness and firmness renders it an excellent wheel for both racing and luxury machinery.