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I ran across @Alan Merklin post and just learned of these. Pretty cool

Lane I have used this banjo wheel leather wrapped and polished a number of times , there area few different horn button sizes and configurations , it is stunning and reasonable in cost.

88111s-l1600 [1)ss1hp1_600


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  • s-l1600 (1)
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Let me be the first to strongly warn you NOT to run a polished metal or chromed steering wheel rim in an open car.

I built a dune buggy for someone a long time ago and they just HAD to have a chromed steering wheel "like the Hot Rod guys have!").  It looked really good in there (the buggy was a Deserter and all black so the chromed stuff popped).

The BIG problem was when it was in the sun it got so damn hot you couldn't touch it.  He found this the first time they stopped somewhere for ice cream and it was too hot to drive it home.  He ended up putting a shirt over it for ten minutes and then driving with the shirt on the wheel.   Definitely NOT cool.    

I tried, and failed, to find a quote of  Sir Jackie Stewart to the effect of you should grip the controls of a car no harder than you would touch a woman. For the most part, I steer my Spyder with my finger tips and thumb. I love a thin old-school steering wheel.

Imagine what would have happened to poor Stirling’s head if his steering wheel would have been more substantial.


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Porsche 356 Steering Wheel Primer 101

We've seen on here that several people don't endorse the Banjo style wheel because they're not stiff or substantial enough.  That's true of the modern reproductions (and some of the originals, as well) because they're missing a key ingredient.  

Here, we see one of the wheels shown up above with the 5-bar spokes which are a cast, most likely from "pot metal" which is of unknown mix (it could be anything) and unknown strength/stiffness.  Nice looking wheel, but as Carey pointed out, they tend to be flimsy when pushed.   Why?  Because the spokes cannot be tensioned or tightened to make the whole assembly stiffer, like tightening the spokes of a bicycle wheel.  How is that done?  Keep reading.....

356 steering wheel 2

Below, we see one of the offered 356 wheels from back in the day (looks like a pre-A bent windshield coupe, to me), and this one has the iconic 4-bar spokes, but this one is different and in one way similar to some of the British steering wheels of that day - The three "spreader bars" on the spokes are not just there for looks, as in the photo above, but they actually move in or out from the center hub.  Tapping them in towards the hub  makes the wheel stiffer.  Tapping them out towards the rim makes the wheel looser (it'll bend more).  Moving the spreaders can make the wheel feel noticeably different and tailor the feel to the drive conditions.  This wheel looks like it's been set pretty stiff.  Even so, while these wheels could be quite stiff, they weren't as stiff as a typical 3-spoke metal wheel like the one below, simply because the wide, flat spokes in those had more stiffness designed in than the 4-bar with spreaders, BUT the Nardis and Torino wheels weren't adjustable.

The adjustable "Banjo" style wheel.

356 Steering Wheel

The Torino Wheel on a 356 - Similar to a Nardi and any number of knock-offs:

356 Torino Wheel

And just to add another twist, my favorite 356 wheel (among many not included in this post) was this version with the horn ring - Pressing the horn ring flashed the headlights only, while pressing the horn button blew the horn.  This version had about average stiffness.

356 steering wheel 3

A lot of those got swapped out for Nardi/Torino-style wheels to increase stiffness (especially for racing) and be more fashionable.


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  • 356 Torino Wheel
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