THIS ARTICLE PROVIDES A “HUBCAP DEFINITION”, AS WELL AS A BIT OF HUBCAP HISTORY THAT IMPACTS HUBCAP DESIGN DETAILS.
The terms “hubcap” and “wheel cover” have meanings that vary significantly depending on both the industry and the time frame under discussion. What is a good hubcap definition ? Well, for this article / website, we are aiming at the OEM automotive industry from about 1950 to 2000. And, over this time frame, “hubcaps” were originally made by auto manufacturers as all stainless steel decorative disks to cover the ugly outer carbon steel wheel area. So, a hubcap is a wheel cover. And, a wheel cover is also a hubcap.
Hence a hubcap definition is “a disc attached to an automobile wheel for decorative purposes”.
We will first look at the all stainless steel hubcaps, developed in the 1950’s. Then, we will discuss the changes in hubcap design over their dominance for about 50 more years.
You can click on any of the hubcap numbers under the following images below to get to that hubcap’s full product page. However to return, the bread crumbs may be useless. So use of your “go back one page” button may be needed, to return to this article.
As time progressed from the 1950’s thru the 1980’s, the hubcap material started to change from stainless steel to a combination of stainless steel and plastic materials.
c13chev1985_4 with stainless steel front & plastic back
c14chry1988_6 with stainless steel & plastic front and back
And then, during the later part of this time frame, all plastic hubcaps were more common than stainless steel.
A cream of the crop type hubcap was the wire wheel hubcap because of its great appearance.