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Torino
Advanced Driver

? what car has the ugliest hubcaps (wheel covers) you've ever seen

my vote cavalier z-24. 89-90 or so. the square checkerboard centers..yuck..

39 REPLIES 39
hyperv6
Gearhead

They were actually wheels not caps but yes ugly. 

WRLotus
Detailer

How about a generic complaint about different makes that have done this on hubcaps or the wheels themselves. My issue is "directional" wheels or wheel covers - I guess they're supposed to look like turbine blades to draw in air to cool the brakes - that have the same orientation on both sides of the car so one side will only work backwards. My son just took a set wheels like that off his VW and it looks much better. 

 

I know that one side could be pretending to draw cool air in while the other is pretending to draw hot air out, but it still looks dumb.

spoom
Technician

Don't know what model it was, but I saw a Tesla with what looked like giant sand dollars.
Sajeev
Community Manager

Those are my favorite because of the aerodynamic benefit!  (and I love vintage aero throwbacks a la 1970s-80s concept cars) 

ACE_Sonoma
Detailer

Sajeev,

 

There is a "Dual" Winner (Loser?) in that category...

 

The 1982 Pontiac Firebird TransAm with the 'bowling ball' wheels!

 

Ugliest cover, ever, especially in the 'bright' version; but pull the covers off, and you find the 1983 'turbine' wheel, except with machined notches to hold the 'bowling ball'; talk about Coyote Ugly...

 

Due to it's stunning lack of popularity, I was able to obtain several sets of 'unmachined' '82 wheels to use as spares for my '84 race car in the IMSA Firehawk, so, Silver Lining...

 

You like Aero?

 

Try the ET Mag 3-spoke turbine wheels from '85, introduced by ET in the Firehawk Series.  They arrived in brushed finish, with the internal spokes with a 'blasted pebble finish.  We painted our spokes to highlight the lines of the wheel and polished the lip...

 

Stunning!

 

Sajeev
Community Manager

Oh I loved the bowling ball wheels, even if they warped/melted off over time!  I assumed, remember I was a kid at the time, they were cast discs like the Corvette/SVO Mustang but I still have an irrational love for them! 

Guitar74
Gearhead

I blame Knight Rider.

ACE_Sonoma
Detailer

The black ones on the TA's were molded plastic, the 'brights' were the black ones with a snap on brushed stainless cover, resembling a convex dog dish; sorry, Not Attractive...

 

It appeared they were a cheap imitation of the very scarce, and late into production Turbo Wheels from the Gen 2's...

 

The aforementioned ET Aero's came in Lefts and Rights, and after track testing, we found they worked better for us mounted 'backwards'...

 

An IMSA Official pointed this out to us at Portland, where, prior to the 'Bus Stop', a set of cool front brakes came in Real Handy...

 

Dave Arnold, former Racer and PR Czar for the Series, just walked around both our cars so-equipped, gave me a wink, and said, "...Naahhh, I think they're gonna be OK..."

 

Good Times, Good Times!

Sajeev
Community Manager

@WRLotus directional wheels are pretty great when the manufacturer makes set of left and right wheels for the car.  Not so much when they do not. 

Torino
Advanced Driver

didn't know that but being that i mistaken took them as covers only highlights their p.o.s. appeal. 

Sajeev
Community Manager

The worst for me were the (late?) 70s Datsun 510's "hammered" wheel caps that look like the top of a garbage can.  I have spent 5 mins looking for an example of these on Google and either I am making these up in my old age or they are really, really rare. 

JimR
Instructor

As God is my witness Sajeev, as I was reading the responses I was thinking of the same ones. 
At least I THINK I was if these are what you’re describing.... 

E077C111-7B04-4CA3-9B9D-A84A71D0CF46.png

Butt weight! There’s more! Note the size of the valve-stem cut-out. I remember snow would pack in there in the winter and the steering wheel would wobble from lack of balance...until the cover fell off. 

Sajeev
Community Manager

OMG those are the ones!  They have to be the worse design I've ever seen.  Which makes me kinda like them, in a Pontiac Aztek sort of way. 

Guitar74
Gearhead

My wife's 2013 Fiesta. Not only ugly, but not safe. We took that car to Illinois to visit Dad, and by the time we got there, the car only had 1 wheel cover left. Had to happen after we gassed up in Kentucky. SO somewhere between Hopkinsville, KY, and Danville, IL three wheel covers went sailing into oblivion. I guess running down the Pennyrile at 80 mph will do that with cheap plastic. It's no wonder the cars that were behind us started passing us in a hurry with this "WTF is wrong with your car?" look on their faces as they went by. When we got back, the first thing I did was take it to the tire shop for some "tasteful" aluminum wheels. 

Still443
Intermediate Driver

JimR, I'm still laughing at your post. You win the Internet today!
hyperv6
Gearhead

These were about as bad as you could find. 

SRF64
New Driver

 

 

 

Patl
Intermediate Driver

One of Saab's trademarks are ugly wheels. Saab was really good at making bad wheels. 3 spoke on 9000 / 900 / Aero, “soccer balls” on Sennett’s, butt the ugliest are or the Inca’s on the late 70’s on the 99 Turbos they are the empire of hideous. They remind me of Freddie Mercury's

smile.SAAB Inca Wheels.JPG

gringo
Pit Crew

Nothing screams tacky like gold wheels / trim!

dooscoop32
Intermediate Driver

The mid-70s Trans Am optional "honeycomb" aluminum wheels.

TRANS AM WHEEL.jpg

gyashko
Intermediate Driver

The '71-'76 Pontiac honeycomb wheels aren't actually aluminum. They're molded urethane (think GTO's "Endura" bumper) over a steel core and they're HEAVY! The manufacturing term was polycast, and in 15x7 they weighed about 30 lbs. each. At least some of the other GM divisions offered styled wheels made the same way through the 70's. Chevrolet had the turbine style and a couple of others, and Buick had a really ugly one with square blocks rather than spokes on the Regal.

 

The confusion may be because the snowflake wheels Pontiac offered after the honeycombs were aluminum. And the aftermarket currently offers the Pontiac honeycomb wheels in true cast aluminum, in modern sizes.

hyperv6
Gearhead

Motorwheel made these composite wheels for all the automakers. They were used on a number of cars in different styles. Yes they were very heavy. 

Zephyr
Instructor

Worse yet, those Trans-Am wheels were actual polycast plastic rather than aluminum.

Warp9
New Driver

Saab has put out some really ugly wheels, especially the tri-spokes on 900's and 9000's

 

But I also agree Tesla's flat discs are hideous as well.

 

 

Timmer
New Driver

The Saab 3 spoke pie plates - hands down!

silverado
Intermediate Driver

I think any street car with those ugly oversized 24 inch wheels. donkey dunks or whatever.

espo70
Intermediate Driver

Well, if we're going to go Firebird here, lets leave the Knight Rider era be, and go right to the alter of ugly itself-the 93-96 V6 wheels.  Not only are they not befitting Pontiac's premier performance car, they are akin and what I like to refer to as "amoebas in a petrie dish".

 

ughugh

JMP
Intermediate Driver

Renault Le Car 3 lug wheels

 

JMP_0-1604941769531.jpeg

 

JimR
Instructor

Well I guess we can skip doing a separate thread on ugly wheels. 

dbucknh
Pit Crew

There are 2 Black Tesla Model 3's here at work and I think their wheel covers are ugly. And to top it off, while looking for a picture to post, they actually cover a really good looking wheel - all in the name of better aerodynamics.
Cover on right, wheel on left.

teslaaerowheels-testedbug-1576599151.jpg

JimR
Instructor

🤔 Looks like both are wheels to me. 

SpringGT
Pit Crew

My son has a Tesla just like the one pictured here and the spoked wheels are for good looks around town. The petal covers are just a plastic snap on cover for the spoked wheel, quickly added for highway driving. At highway speeds, the snap-ons get you about 5% better mileage. This really helps when recharge stations are few and far apart.
DUB6
Technician

Yeah, too bad that the bulk of the examples are actually wheels and not wheel covers, as requested, but a lot of folks nowadays aren't particularly in details, so guess we've gotta cut them some slack (or not).  At any rate, it's an interesting exercise and I only wish there were actually more pictures, as some of those examples I'm just not familiar with.  My own personal opinion is that there is not really any "attractive" hubcab - they all just throw me off to some degree.  Now, older "dog dish" caps covering the center of steel wheels and lug areas on some (and I do mean some) vehicles are at least tolerable to me.  Mainly older C-10 pickups, but a few passenger cars as well.  The old Moon discs and even Baby Moons on some older cars look fine.  Other than those "sorta" exceptions, I'm anti-wheel cover - they make decent wall hangings in my barn, but not much else.  And the amount of them that I see alongside the roadways indicate to me that most vehicles don't like them very much either!  😉

SilentBoy741
Advanced Driver

One word:  donks.

rushgator2112
Pit Crew

The Ronal Bear. Yes, it's real, and yes, it's real ugly:

 

 https://www.performancealloys.com/ronal-teddy-bear-crystal-silver

 

ronal-teddybears-crystalsilver.jpg

dirkfathom
Intermediate Driver

Must agree with the 1990 Cav Z-24. My first new car purchased off the showroom floor upon college graduation was a candy apple red model and though I loved the car, I was aware of the blah wheels

hunternaf
New Driver

volkswagon thing
KdFregistry
Pit Crew

1978 Datsun looked bad to me still does. Also, some of the fake wire wheel hubcaps that were made in the sixties look pretty atrocious to me.

20210926_115554.jpg

MustangJim
Detailer

I came of car buying age in the early 70s. Hub caps were made for new car delivery, the cragers or tourqe thrusts were waiting at home! I worked at a dealership for a bit of time and some people would actually order the cars and when the delivery notice came in they would drop off the new wheels so they would never see the hubcaps! Most that were disposed of were of the dog dish variety as they were standard equip. As far as ugly hubcaps I hated the fake wire wheel ones. And I admit to once owning a car with them....one of my family station wagons was an 88 ciera  with them. In my defence we got a good deal on it used and we had a young family and no money.