Steering Wheels

When I purchased my car I received a number of steering wheels- 4 to be exact. It was hard to tell which ones were more “authentic” since all the photos I saw on the internet showed wide use of both kinds on Heinkel cars.

Heinkel Steering Wheels
Heinkel Steering Wheels in Various Conditions

I decided that I would use the one that was in the best shape and “restore” it. There are a variety of products out there for steering wheels. Most of them are designed to repair cracked plastic wheels. Two of my wheels had that issue, and to be honest they looked like a pain to fix, so I ruled them out.  That left me with two “three spoke” models to choose from.

I Didn’t Want to Deal With This Type of Cracking!
The three spoke steering wheels I chose had cast alloy hubs, steel spikes, and a rubberized grips. The metal spikes were rusty, so I decided to mask off the rubberized parts of the wheel and blast the rust off of the rest of the wheel. I thought I’d tackle two wheels at once and then proceed to restore the one that looked best.
The wheel s cleaned up quite nicely. The spokes were pitted from rust, but with high build primer and a little filler they looked quite nice. 
This Pitting Cleaned Up Nicely With Some Glazing Compound and High Build Primer
The rubberized grips presented most of the challenge. This part of the wheel needed some work. I believe the wheel was originally painted, and the paint was flaking off and discolored. I’d never sanded a rubberized surface before; in fact I didn’t even know if it was possible. I decided to use a green Scotchgard pad and to wet sand them. I caught a lucky break; these ended up looking good as well.
Heinkel Cars
Flaking Original Color Paint
Heinkel Cars and Cabin Scooters
After Primer; Add Glazing Compound to Fill in the Dings
The next trick was to determine how to paint the wheel. Painting steering wheels can be tricky- you need a lot of light coats to avoid runs, and I felt I needed to turn the wheel over to get all of the sides. I decided the best way to handle this was to build a jig.
Heinkel Cars, Kabines, Trojans, and Cabin Scooters
Wheel on Wheel Painting Jig

I took a large flat piece of wood (for stability purposes) and screwed a piece of wooden closet rod to the middle, and then in the middle of that centered and inserted a smaller dowel. Basically the inner wheel would rest on the large dowel, and the middle dowel acted as a guide post so I could turn the wheel around while I painted it.

The painting went quite well. I chose to use appliance paint and then clearcoat for durability. I did 6 light coats (2 spray cans of Krylon Appliance paint, color matched to the switches and gearshift indicator). It had a nice shine but not a high gloss. I was then going to use U-Pol clearcoat, but in the end I decided I was tempting fate because I had not had a run yet!
The wheel has held up well through a season of sometimes sweaty and greasy hands.  If it looks like it’s going to wear I’ll take it off and clearcoat it. The final option for my steering wheel is a “Heinkel-I” steering wheel cap. 
Heinkel Cars and Kabines
“Heinkel I” Steering Wheel Center
I’d love to have one and they not reproduced to my knowledge. Anyone have one for sale or trade?
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