Tuesday, December 1, 2020

The Great Corvette Finned Hubcap Mystery

1968 Corvette finned wheel cover is a mystery when we bought a 14-inch version at swap meet.


The great hubcap mystery. We bought a truckload of treasures at the mega-sized Moultrie, Georgia Swap Meet this year. Moultrie is a yearly destination that provides elusive parts an enthusiast may not stumble across everyday. Or in Junkyard Life’s case – parts that may not exist at all. The part in question is the famous finned wheel cover that GM flew on their flagship All-American icon… The Chevrolet Corvette.


14-inch and 15-inch finned wheel covers with Corvette cross flags center cap.
One of these Corvette finned wheel covers is a mystery because we came home with a 14-inch version from Moultrie, Georgia swap meet.

Sleek
These wheel covers became a hit in 1968 on the Corvette. An alternative rolling stock to the 15x8 Rally Wheels. Reminiscent of the knock-off wheels offered on 1963-1966 Vettes, these hubcaps provided a touch of elegance to show a side of the Corvette that would look in place in the affluent backdrop of a country club parking lot. American muscle and world-class sports car all in the same round rim. 


Expensive

These wheel covers have always commanded a high price tag due to their association with the Corvette. So much in fact, that they are usually priced out of our range. This year, for debatable reasons perhaps, the prices were down! So I (Ron) bought a set for a car I don’t even own. Yet. But oh, yes. Own one I will. (Editor’s Note: Now he is going to say it again really slow for emphasis) And own one…I will. 

 

(Editor’s Note: See? I told you. Do we know this guy or what?)


Notice differences between the two?


So I bought two sets! Almost. Sort of. I will explain. Among the two sets was a wheel cover that is an enigma to us all. One lonely 14-inch version with the Cross Flags associated with the Corvette. 


Jody Potter, left, and Ron Kidd, right, get a closer look at the mystery Corvette hubcap.


Do We Have Our Cross Flags Crossed Up?

  • Chevrolet never made a 14-inch Corvette wheel during the production years that this wheel cover was available. It seems they were an option from 1968-1973. All of them were of the 15-inch variety.
  • When asking a Corvette-based product vendor about this, before I could get to my question, a very confident gentleman we will refer to as Mr. IknoweverythingaboutCorvettes Grumpy Pants interrupted and said, “They never made that in a 14-inch.” Yes, we know. So we repeated the first half of the question and asked what else would have a Cross Flag. Mr.IGP then emphasized “That wheel cover was Corvette only!” 
  • My argument of its existence was pretty solid. I just bought one. However, it was seemingly miles away locked in our truck. So we had no choice but to hear how mistaken we were about the origins or dimensions of this wheel cover. I would have thrown my proof at him and said, “What do you call THIS, Mr. IknoweverythingaboutCorvettes Grumpy Pants?”

A look at back of hubcaps shows the 15-inch version has rivets holding center cap and 14-inch version has nuts holding center cap.


14-inch hubcap has flush-mounted center cap.


15-inch hubcap has slightly raised center cap and fins extend closer to outer rim.


Two junkyard Sherlocks attempt to look cool. We won't try that again, but we did learn that these finned hubcaps are heavy. One 15-inch finned hubcap weighs about seven pounds. The smaller 14-inch hubcaps weighs six pounds.


Help! So what are we missing? Help us find out what this is. Was it designated for another car and someone put the Cross Flags in it? Did another Chevrolet cap have Cross Flags during the time this was made? Did it belong to a Malibu or Impala (with a 14-inch wheel) prior to being associated with the Corvette? Did the ritzy Monte Carlo offer one during the 14-inch wheel model era we are unaware of? Is it not even a Chevrolet hubcap? Comment below or email some info:
Send emails to: Ron Kidd at Kidd403@bellsouth.net.

Ron Kidd — Junkyard Life



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Know a junkyard that we need to visit? Got a car story?
  
Send emails to Jody Potter at junkyardbull@gmail.com or Ron Kidd at Kidd403@bellsouth.net.





4 comments:

Unknown said...

Well, I don't know where that came from, but you all sure do look cool.

MDW66 said...

I have a couple of sets with Buick Riveara centers. 15 inches and can be purchased much cheaper than the Corvette ones. Same other than the center. 14s are Malibu

Junkyard Life said...

MDW66 Did the 14s come on anything else? Seems like the cross flags would be for performance cars like SS models? Ebay search comes up with Monte Carlo labeled hubcaps in fourteen inch. These things are heavy for hubcaps!
Thanks!
Jody
– junkyardlife.com

MDW66 said...

Only on Malibu as far as I know SS had 15 inch wheels after 71. The Buick Super Deluxe (their words) are on my 75 LeSabre convertible. Will try to send a photo. MDW66