This post is inspired by reading about the new Mini Electric, which features a wheel design unique to that model and modelled on an UK specification 240v electric wall socket.
This is the wheel in question, and this is the plug and socket.
Bulkier than many, but with benefits. Easy to handle, strong, the longer third earth pin, now often unused, acts as a guide to locating and securing the plug in the socket, there’s space for the (UK mandated) fuse and it’s easily rewired by anyone with a screwdriver. The sockets come with on/off switches too. Somehow, a Continental European, Australasian or American plug and socket never feel quite as sturdy or up to the task.
MINI has echoed it brilliantly in this wheel, catching electric and British at the same time. But it is not the first great wheel by a long chalk.
There’s the classic British roadster wire wheel, seen on everything from an MG TC to a Jaguar E Type, and beyond. Still looks great on the right car.
The next common style in the UK was the Rostyle, named for the Rubery Owen company that made them. These were popular on just about any British sporting car from the mid 1960s to the early 1980s. MGB, Ford Cortina 1600E, Triumph Dolomite and Stag, Rover 3.5litre, Vauxhall VX4/90 to name but a few.
One that always got my attention was the wheel from the first SAAB 99 Turbo, in 1977. Still striking now.
Or there’s the first Fuchs allow, which look so right on an early Porsche 911.
The Alfa Romeo telephone dial style has had many iterations. This is on the 4C sportscar, and there’s a lovely flourish to the way the dial meets the rim. So Italian!
We cannot ignore the time less Citroen 2CV 3 stud wheel, as style also seen on many Peugeot and Renault vehicles for the 1940s to the 1980s.
Another personal favourite was the early MG Maestro “square” wheel design, which looked distinctive but somehow reflected the awkwardness of certain parts of the car as well.
Rolls-Royce do it better with the their understated designs, complete with the patented centre boss that aligns vertically when stationary. That sums up the attention to detail in the modern Rolls-Royces.
And, if you don’t like alloys, there’s the plain steel wheel on the basic versions of the new Land-Rover Defender. Simple, but so well executed.
So, the QOTD is, what’s your favourite design? There’s no right answer, I suspect!