Authenticity :: Wheels

Lee Hedges talks about choosing the right tire to give your T34 the vintage look. From the March 1999 Registry newsletter.

Getting that BRM look in a half hour. From Brian Kaufman.

The hubcap on the left is the correct Type 3 version with a recessed VW logo. The right one is for a 1966-67 Beetle.

Here's a detail that may be hard to see at first glance. All 1961-65 Type 3s were fitted with a special hubcap with a slimmer profile and a different VW logo stamping than similar hubcaps that were later seen on the 1966-67 Beetle. The logo on the Type 3 hubcaps was recessed to accommodate the painting in of the VW logo, which was done by VW in the first two years of production. The more common Beetle hubcaps have the opposite: an embossed or raised VW logo against a recessed background.

The other main difference between the Type 3 and Beetle hubcaps is functional. The Type 3 caps fit much closer to the trim ring than the Beetle variety. For those of us who are running beauty rings (optional for 1961-62 Type 34s, standard for 1963-65), using the correct Type 3 caps is essential. They hold the beauty rings firmly in place to prevent slippage, which can score and even spin the rings over the hubcap!

If you don't have a set of original Type 3 hubcaps they can be very elusive and hard to come by in good shape. As with most Type 34 parts, you have to learn to spot the right ones. Make a practice of looking in every pile of hubcaps at every VW swap meet and they'll turn up, but they're usually not mint, so you'll have to have them straightened and rechromed. Beetle hubcaps are readily available as reproductions and can tide you over until you can locate a set of original Type 3 hubcaps.

1966-67 Type 3 hubcaps

1966-67 Type 3 hubcaps are also unique. While they may look similar to the '68 and later hubcaps they're flatter and the centers stick out further. They are also made from a heavier gauge of steel. These hubcaps were also used on 1967 Type 1 Ghias when VW upgraded them to front disk brakes.

1968-69 Type 3 hubcaps are the same as Beetle hubcaps for the same year (see photo below).

Did you know that from chassis # 0 215 175 (about May 1964), all Type 34s came from the factory with high-speed tires with the designation '6.00 S 15 L'? Unlike 6.00-15 L tires, these tires were designed for continuous speeds up to 160 kph (100 mph). The dimensions and inflation pressures were the same.

What did our rims orignally look like?