Brittle Steering Wheel

This is a steerging wheel from a 1949 Cadillac 62 Convertible that has become yellow and brittle from time and ultraviolet light from the sun.

old steering wheel

It was held together by a metal frame, but cracks and broken parts showed that time has come to act. A two component plastic was used to fill the cracks and replace the missing parts. Later the steering wheel should be covered with leather.

Then I found a small ad in a magazine: a company near Berlin offered to restore old steering wheels. On the phone I was told that even very bad wheels can be restored if a small piece is good enough to make a casting mould. The price could range from a few hundred to 1000 DM (aprox. 500$). Hm, not really cheap, but a solution that will last for decades and looks more original than covering the wheel with leather.

restored steering wheel

In the end I had to pay 440,- DM plus 10,- DM for shipping, but what I got back was as good as a new steering wheel: cream white instead of nicotine yellow, and with a perfectly smooth surface.

Unfortunately the first impression didn't last very long. At first the old cracks had hardly been visible only in the right light. The car has just been moved twice since the repair, but time and temperature changes made the cracks become clearly visible within two years. That was not what I would call a repair, just a cosmetic paint job.

 old cracks appear again