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#1 antonvrs

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Posted 10 September 2004 - 03:49

As I understand it, the first racing cars ran on wooden spoked wheels.
When did wire wheels come into use? When was the Rudge or Rudge-Whitworth wheel/hub introduced in motor racing?
Anton

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#2 dbw

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Posted 10 September 2004 - 07:10

i think the riley folks were into centerlock wire wheels early on....there is a story as to how they lost the rights to rudge....we are talking spline drive with epicylicic auto tightening...as more folks got into the business,to avoid the rudge patents, we got wedge drives,dental drives,pin drives and more...by the mid-twenties the52mm rudge long nose speedway hub and shell was the standard US speedway and dirt track setup...this combo lasted well into the early "mag" era

the europeans favored off the shelf rudge 32,42 and52 mm units rersonal preferences dictated rim type,lace patterns,offset,etc..

the whole story is probably out there...or someone should write it! [i remember a facinating tome written by borgenson on the evolution of the bugatti alloy paddle wheel and it's relation to harry miller's earlier patent, combined with other less sucessful concepts.

#3 robert dick

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Posted 10 September 2004 - 08:09

In 1906, in the first Grand Prix/Le Mans, non-detachable wire wheels were used by Darracq and Hotchkiss. Non-detachable because of the regulations : The wheels were integral part of the car and it was not allowed to change them during the race. It was allowed to change the tyres, ... and the rims. That 's why Michelin, in 1906, came up with the detachable rim, the jante amovible which was mounted on the winning Renault.
In 1908 Napier intended to start with RW wheels, but the ACF did not allow them. Napier withdrew.
In the 1910 Coupe des Voiturettes run at Boulogne, Boillot's four-cylinder Peugeot (Lion-Peugeot) started on RW wheels, while Goux' two-cylinder still used non-detachable wire wheels.
In the 1912 GP de l'ACF at Dieppe the Peugeots used RW wheels - Boillot won. Fiat made tests with RW wheels but the drivers preferred the traditional solution of wood wheels with detachable rims.
In 1913 and 1914 detachable wire wheels (which did not always come from RW) were standard.

= = = = = =

Bugatti alloy wheel and relation to Miller patent :
I am not so sure that there was a relation, or only a relation to the Miller patent. An alloy wheel similar, nearly identical to the later Bugatti wheel was patented in France and its description was published in 1920 in "La Vie Automobile".

#4 GIGLEUX

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Posted 10 September 2004 - 23:36

In fact, the use of wire wheel can be found in the first ever race as wire wheels were rather common on horse tracted vehicules. If you refer to cars "looking like racing cars", from 1898 (approx) you find wire wheels on "voiturettes" and "Light cars". On "heavy cars" the restricting factors were weight and power, so such cars were fitted with wooden+cast iron wheels called in french "artillerie wheels" which were more robust. After a quick glance in my archives, in 1905 the Darracqs "Heavy cars" and the Gordon Bennett 6 cyl-Napier were fitted with wire wheels.

#5 antonvrs

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Posted 11 September 2004 - 00:57

Thanks to all for your replies.
A friend is about to be involved in "pitching" a movie about early racing and was thinking in terms of "artillery" wheels in the mid-teens.
I thought wires would have been common by then.
Anton

#6 Arthur Anderson

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Posted 12 September 2004 - 03:55

Originally posted by GIGLEUX
In fact, the use of wire wheel can be found in the first ever race as wire wheels were rather common on horse tracted vehicules. If you refer to cars "looking like racing cars", from 1898 (approx) you find wire wheels on "voiturettes" and "Light cars". On "heavy cars" the restricting factors were weight and power, so such cars were fitted with wooden+cast iron wheels called in french "artillerie wheels" which were more robust. After a quick glance in my archives, in 1905 the Darracqs "Heavy cars" and the Gordon Bennett 6 cyl-Napier were fitted with wire wheels.


In the US, wooden, artillery wheels fell out of favor very quickly in racing, due to their inability to handle any serious side-loading (G-forces in turns), particularly if there were ruts in the track. At Indianapolis, for example, wood-spoked artillery wheels were pretty much a thing of the past after 1912, for this reason, in addition to their greater weight. Also, the quickly removable wire wheel with its threaded center cap made for much easier pit stops than the then-common demountable steel rim on wood wheels.

This also parallels the preferences and practices on the open road, for passenger cars as well. As paved roads spread out from cities, and eventually even smaller towns in the US by the mid-teens, people with faster cars often opted for aftermarket wire wheels from Rudge, Kelsey-Hayes or Dayton Wheel company, as pavement put much more grip to the tire treads, again making it much more likely to have a sudden wheel failure from wheels with hickory spokes (Hickory, due to its great strength and mild flexibility was the preferred material for wood spoke wheels through the end of the wood-wheel era, which ended for all time about 1932-33). As with racing pit stops, the quick-release hubs of wire wheels made tire changing (and tires were very prone to both punctures and blowouts in those early days) much, much easier (demountable rim lug bolts, being out at the rim, where water and mud were constantly present, were very prone to rusting tight, making a tire change a matter for much cursing and swearing.

In the early 20's, steel disc wheels came into use, but they were nearly as heavy as wood wheels (and in the case of light cars, such as the early Chevrolet's, a good deal heavier), and were very subject to being bent if the car were slid sideways into say, a curb. In late 1925, Kelsey Hayes, in conjunction with Ford Motor Company, introduced the welded-steel spoked wheel on the Model T, which also carried on with Model A, then 32-35 Ford cars. Ford licensed this wheel construction method (which they developed) to other makes as well, Chevrolet, Plymouth, Dodge among others used this same resistance-welded wheel, albeit in far different spoke patterns. Finally, by 1934, a move was on for the introduction of the pressed-steel wheel, first with "artillery" spokes around the outer edge of the centers, finally becoming the steel disc wheel predominant in the US until the last 15 years or so, when alloy wheels began to take over for a great many cars and light pickup trucks.

Alloy wheels in racing really had to wait until after WW-II, when aircraft experience with this type of wheel spun off into the automobile aftermarket in the US, most notably with Ted Halibrand, who really convinced racers that this was the wheel to use, but even then, it took until the early 1950's before magnesium alloy racing wheels took over the majority of American race cars, certainly open wheel cars on oval tracks.

Art

#7 dbw

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Posted 12 September 2004 - 06:41

i have to find my riley book...after a quick google i found riley had a detachable center lock wire wheel in 1904...the rudge whitworth patent first appears in 1908 [tho the "no.5" uses wood spokes] the "42" appears in 1912...at least in europe rudge had a virtual "lock"on splined hubs for wire wheels from the mid- teens....

i have no idea how bugatti circumvented the rudge patent with the gp wheels...other than a different set of dimensions and coarser teeth, the only thing i can think of is the integration of the hub design into a one-piece wheel unit...[they first appeared at lyon in 1924]...in all other wire wheel applications [brescia thru t-57] bugatti supplied standard rudge units.

#8 Richard Neale

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Posted 12 September 2004 - 19:38

Dunlop also had a system in 1912 which was an 'option' on Rolls Royce' Silver Ghost chassis.
Whether Bugatti etc paid a royalty to manufacture under license I'm not sure but this was common practice.

#9 Ray Bell

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Posted 12 September 2004 - 21:15

Originally posted by Arthur Anderson
.....Ford licensed this wheel construction method (which they developed) to other makes as well, Chevrolet, Plymouth, Dodge among others used this same resistance-welded wheel, albeit in far different spoke patterns.....


Would Hudson have wheels made under this licence?

Their wire spoke wheels were apparently quite weak, though I think their cars (Terraplanes) weren't all that heavy...

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#10 fines

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Posted 16 September 2004 - 19:21

Most of the Peugeots in the 19th century races used wire wheels. It was a sort of Peugeot trademark, going back to the first Daimler automobile that was the forerunner of the Peugeot cars.

#11 Ray Bell

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Posted 16 September 2004 - 21:25

Originally posted by fines
Most of the Peugeots in the 19th century races used wire wheels. It was a sort of Peugeot trademark, going back to the first Daimler automobile that was the forerunner of the Peugeot cars.


Daimler was forerunner of Peugeots?

When there were only two cars in the world?

#12 fines

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Posted 16 September 2004 - 22:10

The first Peugeot Automobile - other than the Serpollet steam-engined one(s) - was a direct copy of a quadricycle built by Daimler and Maybach, which was delivered to Paris to that end.