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Full Circle Wheels

Recently, I had the pleasure of meeting Larry Fechter, who lives not more than two miles from the Old Cars Weekly office in Iola, Wis. The purpose of the trip was to see Fechter’s fresh “barn find” 1970 Plymouth Road Runner, a car with such an incredible story it is featured in this week’s issue.

While checking out the Road Runner, I spotted a Daytona Yellow 1969 Camaro RS-Z/28 coupe in Fechter’s immaculate shop. The Camaro took me back to when I was a kid, riding around in a LeMans Blue ’69 Z/28. But as much as I was taken with the Camaro, its Mickey Thompson torque-thrust wheels mesmerized me as much as the car itself.

I’ve always appreciated certain period additions on different types of cars: Woodlites on Cords, Trippe lights on V-16 Cadillacs, vintage Sun tachometers in ’Cudas and aftermarket wheels on a variety of muscle cars. And one of my favorite types of vintage wheels are five-spoke “torque thrusts,” which are again being offered.

In high school, I ran a set on my 1969 Buick Skylark, which made the ol’ “Lark” that much meaner-looking. However, the wheels didn’t start out as a set. A friend who lived nearby had a pair of Mickey Thompson torque-thrusts that his father had bought many years ago from a garage sale.

Apparently, the seller only had two wheels and couldn’t find the others. I bought the pair from the friend and ran them on the front of the Sklyark. At the rear, I left the black-painted steel wheels exposed.

After driving the Skylark with mismatched wheels for a short time, my neighbor, a two-BMW-driving fellow, walked over and asked about the Skylark’s “new” wheels. I explained I only had two and was surprised when he said he had two wheels of a similar type in his basement. The other two wheels from the set had been sold by his wife in a garage sale many years ago. Sure enough, they were a matched set, reunited on my ’69 Skylark.

When I sold the Skylark, I kept the wheels for a while, hoping to use them on another car. The wheels were sold when my ’62 Cadillac needed a paint job, but I still daydream about uniting a Skylark with a set of Mickey
Thompson torque-thrusts.

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