Chrome Plating original styled steel wheels

Who here has attempted to re-chrome the original Kelsey Hayes 1967 or '68 styled steel wheels? The original nickel/chrome was very good from the factory, but I have 3 sets that I would consider “driver” quality at best.

The stamped steel 5 spoke center is chromed and is later attached to the black painted steel rims with rivets.

Has anyone ever tried removing these rivets, replating the 5 spoke centers, and then reattaching to the steel rims?

If yes, what method did you use to replicate the rivetting process?

67 wheels are different than the 68’s. The 67 have large “windows” that were prone to cracking. This was fixed when the smaller windowed wheels were introduced. Just a FYI…

My guess that no shop would take on the liability of re- riveting.
Most likely truing & welding.

I had a set of 69 SS wheel put on 15 wheel rings(chrome) over 25 years ago.

There’s a guy in Central Iowa who does the GT/Mach 1/Eliminator style wheels, so there are some guys out there doing it. Based on others experiences with him when I was researching it I probably wouldn’t recommend him, but it is something that is being done.

Vintage Wheel use to offer that service. I don’t know if they will still do it. They would grind off the rivets and remove your center section. Re-chrome and weld it back into your original ring so you still had the Ford part number. At that point the only different between doing this and the repo wheel was you retained the Ford part number at three times the expense.

You mean the difference is retaining original parts instead of using reproductions.

Six of one, half dozen of the other. Once you take out the rivets, re-chrome and weld back, they are not original anymore.

My thoughts were you could remove the rivet, re-chrome the center and reinstall an alternative rivet. A rivet that could be TIG welded vs mechanically rolled over like the factory did. The weld would be on the rim side so it would look original.

Twelve rivets would be required per wheel. Forty eight per car. Plus twelve more if you do a spare.

Can’t say that wouldn’t work. But, I don’t know what my comfort level would be doing it that way. Give it a try and let us know how it goes.

The Buick/Olds guys are the ones with similar issues on their wheels, one of them recommended Caruso Performance (

Google McWheels and you should find the info for Curt in Iowa as well as other recommendations for shops that do similar work.

The trick is getting the centers aligned in the hoops to prevent wobble and balance issues.

They won’t look original either, since they still won’t have the rivets.

New wheels make sense if you are driving the car, originals seem best left to show/storage/parade duty. I’ve had three original wheels come apart over the years.

The only problem with the new wheels is, lately they’ve been coming out wobbly right from the factory. WCCC has refused a couple pallets of them, after testing them one by one. Hopefully the manufacturer will get their quality sorted out soon. Be wary if ordering them from other big suppliers who don’t take the time to test them.

The original wheels, assuming they ran true before removing the rivets, would remain true if you aligned the original holes of the center hubs with the same holes of the rim. They would have to be marked prior to removal of the rivets to assure identical hole alignment.

The rivet and making it look original would be the most difficult challenge. With the correct rivet shaft OD that would give a slight press fit into the hub and then the rim would maintain the same trueness.

Welding and limiting the heat warpage is another challenge. The strength of the TIG welding I do not doubt. I’m sure the Tire and Rim Assoc has tests designed to verify rim strength. That could be considered.

All 3 of the '69 SS wheels that failed on me developed cracks in the spokes. Had they failed in use, I’d have had a little piece of the wheel still attached by the lugnuts, while the rest of the assembly became a projectile.

Chris, it sounds like one should conduct a Magnaflux analysis on any wheel centers before using them. Interesting.