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11 of the craziest factory steering wheels
Steering wheels have an important job to do. However, like the cars they control, steering wheels are more fun with some extra flair. Since the interior is sheltered from wind and weather, designers of the past let their imagination run wild with shape, color, texture, and style. While the array of aftermarket steering wheels is mind-boggling, we’ve focused this investigation on 11 of the craziest designs that made it to series production. The list covers more than 50 years of automotive history, but we’ll give it away now—one is the clear winner.
OK, and here comes a little tongue in cheek word play. In the vast majority of cars ever produced, the front wheels/tires are the "steering wheels". They are essential to steering the car in a specified direction and function as weight bearing rolling wheels. The thing inside the car that dictates the direction you want to steer in is functionally a lever. You apply force to the lever which translates into moving the real steering wheels in front to turn in the direction you need to go. The steering lever probably morphed into a round wheel shape so we could apply leverage from 360 degrees rather than discerning where the lever was at any moment. I'm curious as to why the steering lever is called a wheel. Probably because of its similar shape. This little inconsequential misnomer must have an origin.