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Found 1 result

  1. (Photo from forum member dlhoovler. Thank you, Dave) These leather-rimmed, metal-spoked wheels are best known here in the U.S. from their appearance on many 1970 model year '02s, something to do with a fire or labor strike at a steering wheel factory. What IS the metal finish on the 3 small trim pieces, applied where the spokes meet the rim (bottom photo below)? I have two of these rims -- in "core" condition -- and both have dull, pitted trim pieces. I don't want to restore the rims without restoring these trim pieces. None of my 6 trim pieces exhibits an actual "brushed" appearance but they are all dull and pitted, and thus may not reveal an accurate image of their original finish. How much of the present finish is due to deterioration and how much represents the original finish? Of less pressing importance, is the factory fire or strike the whole story behind these rims? My wheels are clearly dated '71 and '72. Were they simply replacement wheels for '70 cars with bad wheels? It seems to me that the (imitation) leather rims are a clear upgrade over the more common hard-plastic rims. But I don't believe for a second you could get one of these as a factory option on a U.S. car (Hoffman Motors' importing process wouldn't facilitate it) -- apart from the '70 cars that just "came" with them. Could they have been a dealer accessory? What further complicates things in my mind is that they are identical to the leather-rimmed, metal-spoked wheels seen on European models EXCEPT the spoke indentation on the U.S. (?) model is represented by a cut-out on the Euro (?) model. In my mind, I've speculated that U.S. DOT requirements did not permit the cut-outs so BMW modified the design to an indentation when they were forced to install the wheels on U.S. '70 cars, presumably due to wheel supply problems. And then they started selling the wheels here as a dealer accessory, since they were actually, and finally, U.S. legal. But I'm pretty much making this up as I go along, and surely we have more group knowledge about these wheels! Here's the parts schematic, showing the European version of this wheel, the only difference I note being the cut-out rather than indented spokes. http://realoem.com/bmw/showparts.do?model=2583&mospid=47141&btnr=32_0978&hg=32&fg=35 So here's my entirely conjectural timeline: 1. "Euro" leather-rimmed wheel with cut-outs is introduced as an option and accessory for the European market. 2. "Oh s**t: the steering wheel factory burned down!" "No problem: we can install leather-rimmed wheels temporarily," 3. "Oh s**t: U.S. DOT says our European leather-rimmed wheels don't meet their requirements because of the spoke perforations!" "No problem: make them comply!" 4. "U.S." version of leather-rimmed wheel with indentations is introduced to solve the supply issue. 5. Smart BMW business-school type says, "Hey, now that these things are U.S. legal, let's sell all we can through the dealer network." Later becomes CEO. Thanks and regards, Steve


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