Varnished wheels may be a departure from original spec, but they look oh, sooooooo nice.
Somebody somewhere once told me that Ford dealers kept unfinished, wood-spoke wheels in stock because the early cars came in a choice of colors and slapping a coat of paint on a bare, wooden wheel was seen as a way to hold down the cost of inventory, as it wasn't then necessary to stock wheels in every color. This also gave the car owner a choice of whether to buy 'em bare and varnish the wheels at home (which, I skeptically suppose, might make sense if one were to buy a full set of wheels).
Anybody know whether there's any truth to this?
Demountable varnished wheels were available from about 1925 on. The non demountable wheels were always painted either black or dark (looks black) blue.
That being said I could not bring myself to paint over Stutzmann's work.
I picked up an NOS 30 x 3 1/2 wheel that has never had a hub installed. This one is painted black. The amazing part is this was at an auction a few weeks ago and everything was going for crazy money. I got that wheel for $35 and they were bidding 75-100 for wheels that needed respoked. Go figure.
I agree with Royce in that I could not paint over the wheel he shows. Original or not, natural wheels look fantastic.
Ford Canada offered painted or natural wheels
At 533KB I can not post here (I forget how to resize ..again)
I didn't have any problem painting over Stutzman's beautiful work.
Everybody has their preference. I like factory original. I would waste no time getting those wheels painted black and if it has a demountable rim, it has to be silver.
A little off the subject....I have made wheel turners for painting using old BBQ spit motors. Have over 5 wheel turners so I can paint all wheels with one set up. With the wheels constantly rotating, you can build up the paint so it is like glass. I keep the wheels turning for 1hr. after painting to avoid any runs or sags.
A wheel turner consist of 1ea. BBQ motor, 2 pillow block bearing, 1 shaft that is threaded on one end to support the wheel hub with a square on the other for the BBQ motor and a 3' length of 2 x 6 or 8. Clamp the wheel turners across a saw horse or hanging off a table or what ever.
Keep an eye on the turners that they stay running until the paint is tack free. I have a box of extra BBQ motors collected over the years from yard sales, flee markets.
The subject of natural finished wheels was extensively discussed over the course of several months at Santa Clara MTFC meetings about forty years ago. Several club members found and shared copies of original newspaper ads showing dealers (Ford and independent) that offered to strip the paint and refinish the wheels on your new car in a beautiful natural finish. For a small fee.
At about the same time, I read an article in a hobby magazine where someone recounted the story of kids that would work after school to hand strip the wood spokes for the local dealer so that they could be refinished.
Unfortunately, I do not have any copies of these items to share here. However, having seen these things, I have always considered them the reason to accept natural finished wheels as "era correct" even if I know they were not factory original that way. It really is no different than any of a hundred other things that were available to improve the look or service of your new Ford.
And the wheels do look good in a nice natural finish. I guess. I still prefer the look of a beautiful black paint on the wheels. Just me.
Drive carefully, and enjoy, W2
I used royces formula and am happy I did, they look sooooo nice who cares if its not correct. Thank you royce
My Mama always said it is illegal to paint a wood ladder, as it could hide rot. I figure the same goes for wheels.