Wire wheels flex under load, which allows them to handle very high
stresses without failing. Steel wheels of the time had a nasty tendency
to fatigue crack even under moderate street use. This is something to
be aware of when doing a restoration of an early steel wheel car.
Once alloy wheels became available to the masses the wire wheels were
retired and the stiffer, lighter alloys became the racing wheel of
Center lock wheels are still the wheel of choice for F1 etc. So I'd
agree with you on wheel change speed being the issue.
Another interesting note on wire wheels is that since they flex, there
is less shock to the transmission system. I reached this conclusion
when looking through piles of MGB tube axle assemblies and found all the
remaining steel wheels ones were badly worn, yet there were lots of good
condition wire wheel ones.
From: firstname.lastname@example.org [mailto:email@example.com] On
Behalf Of David and Kalon Randall
Sent: Tuesday, May 11, 2004 10:22 AM
Subject: Spoke wheels vs. disk:
I'm told that disk wheels are lighter and stronger than wire wheels
(I've not weighed them myself).
Why then did the British racing cars all use wire wheels? Even when they
switched to Mini Lite style wheels, they were still center-lock (for
ease of changing, I imagine). Were wires used for the same reason?