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Spring 2016 6



Last issue’s item about all-black

“Gangsta Wheels” was definitely food

for thought, and it got a lot of people

thinking. Peter Brock was one of them.

Here’s his email.

All-black wheels...Ugh....Wheels

are a message of taste the car’s owner

presents to the viewer. Obviously this

recent all black wheel trend is in an-

swer to the fully polished “mag”

wheels we see on every “bling” mobile

that’s hoping (very belatedly) to be

seen as having some performance lin-

eage. As the late, great Yankee catcher,

Yogi Berra used to say, “Nobody goes

there anymore ‘cause it’s too crowded.”

“Team Cobras ran real mag

wheels which were difficult to keep

polished, as magnesium oxidized

quickly, but it was a matter of pride to

the Shelby crew to keep the RIMS pol-

ished! The centers where painted

white, primarily after 1964, for identi-

fication on circuits like Reims where

the blue and white cars could be seen

at a great distance but were difficult

to tell one from another. Before that

change in livery to Guardsman Blue

for 1965, the center portions got black-

ened by brake dust and oxidation.

They looked so ill kept it was decided

to paint just the centers, but keep the

rims polished as a matter of pride.

Since wheel design is such an impor-

tant part of identifying a car’s era (on

Cobras, it’s Halibrand “Kidney Beans”

vs later “Sunbursts”), allowing the

centers on mag wheels to oxidize to

black indicates an owner’s lack of in-

terest, both in the car’s presentation

and labor required to keep the centers

clean. Sure, brake dust is a pain in the

ass, but it isn’t good for the wheel ma-

terial either. My opinion of all-black

wheels is about the same as a beauti-

ful girl with bad teeth.

Keep those rims polished!

” – Peter


Lee Cross of Kennett Square, Pennsyl-

vania sent us a photo demonstrating

how versatile his ‘65 GT350, 5S547, is.

When a record snowstorm blanketed

the northeast in the middle of Janu-

ary, with coverage measured in feet in-

stead of inches, Cross needed a vehicle

to hitch to his four-foot wide snow

blower. The Shelby was a little light in

the rear but filling the trunk with 50-

lb. bags of sand solved that problem.