Steering Wheels [POLL]

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How much would you be willing to pay (USD) for a new (reproduction) Bugeye Steering Wheel?

$0 - (I'm not interested in a new steering wheel at all)
2
12%
$1 - $100
3
18%
$101 - $200
5
29%
$201 - $300
6
35%
$301 - $400
1
6%
$401 - $500
0
No votes
Over $500 - (These are impossible to find and any price is a bargain)
0
No votes
 
Total votes : 17

Steering Wheels [POLL]

Postby admin » Tue Jun 23, 2009 2:34 pm

Wanted to start a separate thread on Steering Wheels (and possibly re-manufacturing them). This discussion originally started on another thread where we were discussing "Hard to Find Parts"...

In any event, I began thinking about what it might take to get Bugeye steering wheels remade. Folks have reported that even poor examples needing restoration often went for over $100. Perhaps this is one of the items that we should consider sourcing ourselves to help improve the hobby.

Please take a moment to vote on what a new steering wheel would be worth to you, if they were available for purchase.

Additionally, I have taken some photos of the spare steering wheel in my basement (as well as the one on my car).

(See my SpriteSpot Photo Album on Steering Wheels for all the photos)

Here's a picture of what a Bugeye Steering Wheel is supposed to look like:

Image

Now, here's a photo of the spare wheel I had in my basement. Came from a Bugeye parts car (I think) but obviously NOT a Bugeye Wheel. Construction and hub appear to be the same though--so first question is: "What kind of wheel is this?" (Midget? Mini? Other?)

Image

This wheel is in tough shape (missing chunks of the coating) but it gives some insight into how these may have been made. They seem to have some kind of aluminum (?) alloy substructure, and then are "coated" with some kind of a rubber (?) material.

Image

Here's a photo where the coating has separated, showing the core underneath:

Image

So--if one were to consider remaking these--where would you start? Does anyone know a manufacturer that might be able to look at this and provide some insight as to construction, and possible cost to remake? Indeed, does it make sense to duplicate the original construction (metal core with coating) or simply create a modern "cosmetically equivalent" but better constructed product? (Whatever that might be?)

Let me hear from you--am serious about looking into having this (and/or some of our other rare but needed parts) reproduced.

Thanks!
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Re: Steering Wheels [POLL]

Postby D.Valentino » Tue Jun 23, 2009 5:27 pm

For my 100, I am going to make a new wheel using my old one as a mold. Pretty sure the same can be done for a Sprite. My friend Don has made the steering wheels for all of his cars and 20 plus years later, not one of them have cracked.
1955 BN2 Austin Healey 100M
1959 AN5 Austin Healey Sprite
The Original "Airport Racer"
1951 International Metro Step Van
http://www.1951snapon.blog.com/
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Re: Steering Wheels [POLL]

Postby admin » Wed Jun 24, 2009 2:02 pm

Thanks Dom--have looked into this a bit, and there are a number of folks on the web that can repair your old wheels (many of these are one-of-a kind wheels--think "1924 Rolls Royce" and you'll get the idea).

Some folks are willing to "recast" your steering wheel (and of course you need an original as a mould--so a tough call for an individual to choose as an option). I'm trying to find someone that might provide this for us...can certainly use my original wheel as a mould, but likely will need to do at least a limited run to make this cost-effective for members.

Still researching...likely going to look into tach gearbox drives next...

(Keep those opinions and votes going...still want to hear from our members on this!)
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Re: Steering Wheels [POLL]

Postby admin » Sun Jun 28, 2009 10:33 am

Hi all--

Wanted to give everyone a bit of feedback on where we are (as well as to 'bump' this thread and keep it active). :)

I've contacted a number of folks, and it seems that there are a lot of companies that can "resurface" (or "recast") a steering wheel. That's the good news.

The bad news is that it's expensive, AND you need to supply an old "core" (the metal part that includes the hub and the substructure (see the photos of this post to get an idea)).

I'm still investigating (and may have found a place that can remake the cores) but I'm wondering if any of you have old, beat-up, cracked, damaged, etc. steering wheels in the garage/basement that you might be able to donate to the cause (please PM me if you do). What I'd like to see if we could do is accumulate a store of steering wheel cores for SpriteSpot members--then we can have a mold cast, and likely drop the overall cost per unit for folks.

It's a plan in progress, but it looks like we'll be able to drop the per-unit cost significantly if we can accumulate at least 10 cores, and then have a mold cast.

And if you've not yet done so, please vote in the poll--and please offer your thoughts/comments as a reply to this post!
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Re: Steering Wheels [POLL]

Postby Sean » Thu Mar 29, 2012 3:24 pm

has there been any more interest in pusuing this? I've spoken to several restorers and no one currently recasts the original wheel. they repair them but often they will crack again under normal use and with changes in temparature...
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