Dayton continues the tradition of hand-made wire wheels
In the first half of its more than 90 years in business, Dayton Wire Wheel was a supplier to the Wright Brothers, to Charles Lindbergh's Spirit of St. Louis, to Henry Ford, who offered Dayton wire wheels as an option to the Model T's standard wooden wheels, to Indianapolis racers, to such American luxury car producers as Auburn, Cord and Duesenberg, and after World War II for marques such as Buick and Chrysler.
More recently, the Dayton, Ohio-based wheel maker has become popular among those who build customized low riders, people with street and hot rods, with those eager to bling-out big sport utility vehicles and, lately, with Harley-Davidson motorcycle riders.
Dayton Wire Wheels are not inexpensive, ranging from $1,200 for a set of four for, say, an old MG to $8,000 a set for 24-caret, gold-plated 24-inch wheels for a recent vintage Cadillac Escalade.
One reason that Dayton wheels are expensive is that they not only continue to be made in America – with some 60 people working in Dayton's 150,000-square-foot facility – but are made by hand because of the intricacy of their assembly process.
While owners of classic British and Italian sports cars turn to Dayton for replacement wheels for their original-equipment Dunlop or Borrani wire rims secured by old-fashioned knock-off caps, Dayton expanded the potential for wire wheel applications by developing a system so they can be attached by standard – though hidden from view -- lug nuts with the knock-off cap serving as a decoration rather than securing the wheel to the hub.
Thus wire wheels can provide an aftermarket appearance enhancement for anything from a Mini to a Miata, a PT Cruiser to a Hummer H2, or from classic Harleys to custom-built choppers.
For more information, or to request the location of a Dayton Wire Wheel dealer, see the www.daytonwirewheels (cars) or www.americanwire.com (motorcycle) websites.
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