October 31, 2019

Repainting the Wheel Center Caps

The center chrome caps on the spinners that secure the Kelsey-Hayes-style wheels feature bands with three colours — red, white and blue. These caps are mirrored for each side of the car so that when the wheels are turning forward, the colours rotate red, then white and then blue (or if you swap them to the other side they rotate blue, white and red).

The bands on the center caps of the Red Rocket were very faded and chipped, so a restoration was in order. I used matt enamel (the type you use for model kits) to carefully repaint each of the bands.

Although it seems to be generally agreed that red, white, blue is the correct direction for the rotation, I've seen photos of original cars with blue, white, red rotation. I've opted for blue, white, red on the Red Rocket. Why? I think the blue, white, red is a reference to the French flag — 'corvette' is a French word after all. The badge on the fender of the Corvette features the 'fleur-de-lis', a French heraldic emblem, and has the colours arranged blue, white, red, so I think the wheel center caps should be in that order too.

Helpful Tip

Many Corvette owners carry a small screwdriver to help with the removal of the center caps on the knock-off wheel spinners. I've found it difficult to remove these caps without damaging them, so I purchased this Knock-Off Center Cap Removal Tool from Zip Corvette. This tool features a large suction-cup with a t-handle that makes it easy to remove the caps without damaging them.

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