Wheels

BUDD MANUFACTURING 1912 – ???

A couple of months back, I told you of an up-coming article on the infamous BUDD Wheels that we are searching for.  It looks to be a never-ending quest that will likely be continued into 2019 and possibly beyond.  Randy Hillier of Airdrie Alberta Canada is hoping to uncover at least one more wheel for his 1928 LaSalle 5 Passenger coupe as a couple of the ones he is using are not necessarily reliable.  His search has lead him to the origins of the factory, it’s production and history but unfortunately no more wheels.  Below, you will find the promised article to this point and where it stands at the moment.  We have found that there are at least three of us that are blessed with vehicles running on these specific wheels, two in Canada and one in France.  Please read the article so when you are at a swap meet and see a 20″ disc report it, you will be considered a hero to us.  That might not seem like much in the way of payment but to us, it would mean the world to know that we are running these fine machines safely.

1928 Lasalle Disc Wheels: The Search Is On!

It would appear that the 20” disc wheels on our 1927-28 Lasalles are rather scarce putting it mildly!  My specific interest in these disc wheels arose as a result of having only three usable disc wheels on my restored 1928 Lasalle Five Passenger Coupe.

Two of the five wheels were worse than bad junk yard finds.(1)

Necessity forced me to restore the wheels so that the car was mobile.  I put the best of the five on the car and found a wobble in one wheel. I took this wheel to a reputable wheel shop in Calgary which reduced the wobble but that was the best it could do.  It is at this point of repainting the wheel when I retrieved it from the repair shop that the severity of the damage was more obvious.  The center lug plate can separate from the rim which created the wobble.  I unfortunately paid little attention to the stamping on this center lug piece.  After painting I put the wheel back on the car as I needed the car mobile.

During the 28 Lasalle’s long restoration (1990-2015), I moved twice so mobility was needed. By the final move in 2010, I was ready to drive the car at least around the block in my new neighborhood.  It didn’t happen.  The motor seized due to improper work on the engine blocks at the machine shop.  Off comes the hood, off comes the rad, find another machine shop, re-babbitt, new pistons and rings, re-machine, new gaskets, assemble then start the V-8 303 engine.  All old news for old car guys!

Finally the Lasalle is in the neighborhood with 31 miles after 28 years.

That back wheel reduced my confidence in speed and distance so off it comes again.

Further investigation on the back of the center lug plate showed details similar to

 

Lorne Scott’s 1928 Lasalle Victoria Coupe and Guy Sacre’s 1927 Lasalle Phaeton.

Their wheels are also stamped as seen below.

  

So now my search for a similar 20” disc wheel was in earnest.

The Budd Company (1912) established itself as the first manufacturer of all steel automobile starting with Hupp Motor Company then Packard, Peerless, Garford Motors and Oakland Motor Company and Dodge brothers in 1914.  The Packard wheels of that era are of the 7 bolt pattern  as seen on those of the 1929 Packard below.

In 1916 the Budd Wheel Company manufactured wire wheels to eliminate wood from cars and trucks.  At that time a joint effort was established with the Michelin Company of France to market in USA disc wheels which Michelin Tire had patented.  By 1917, Budd was working with Ford, Buick Studebaker and Willys-Overland.

The Michelin Tire Company produced disc wheels which were mounted on the back or side of cars.  Bibendum, the Michelin Man (1899) is shown with the disc wheel mounted on the back of the car.

 

Cadillac was soon installing disc wheels on ambulances, hearses, armored cars and automobiles. The 20” disc wheel can be found on some 1928 Cadillac models as well.

In order to gain further information on our Lasalle disc wheels, I researched the Budd Wheel Company to locate its archives.  The Budd Company Records collection are held at the Bentley Historical Library, University of Michigan.  Unfortunately it was unable to offer any information on production numbers for the 1927-28 disc wheels at all.  Total dead end.  Someone at the Library did suggest I contact General Motors.

My email to gmhc.com asked for information on Cadillac/Lasalle disc wheel production and their market for disc wheels in those years. It found no details at all except the part number assigned by Cadillac to steel disc wheels on its 1928 models was 43016. Where now?

The Internet did produce some interesting information as did LaSalle Cadillac’s Companion Car by Gelderen and Larson, 80 Years of Cadillac La Salle by McCall and Cadillac The Complete History by Hendry.  Production numbers and options were available. Lorne Scott’s Four Passenger Victoria Coupe shows a production of 405 with 11 exported.

  

 

Owners of 1928 models had the option of choosing wood, wire or discs.  Option selection numbers are not available.  The 1927 Lasalle Phaeton owned by Guy Sacre shows production for the 1168 model of 1575 with 460 exported and the 1168B model of 270 produced with 13 exported.

My 1928 Lasalle Five Passenger Coupe showed production of 1001 with 5 exported.

In conclusion, Cadillac/Lasalle Club members have been most generous in offering further contacts.  Unfortunately, to date no car collector and/or parts collector has been able to help me source a 20” disc wheel or offer information on the wheel.  “So the Search Continues”.   Randy Hillier – Airdrie Alberta Canada

More on BUDD DISC WHEELS (and the scarcity of them).

Another item that interests a limited number of 27-30 LaSalle owners is the solid wheels called BUDD DISC Wheels.  I was told many years ago that they are a very rare item and now we have a member who is in need of one as one of his is not necessarily roadworthy.  Randy Hillier has advertised elsewhere in this newsletter for a replacement and to this point, to no avail.  I have photos of nearly 100 LaSalles and the only ones with the BUDD wheels are Randy’s 28,one it France and Lady Victoria.  I have inserted photos of Randy’s 28 wheel,another from France and Lady V’s below.  They are split rim wheels and if you know of anyone with them or see any at swap meets, please let us know.

         

Randy’s wheel repaired but unsafe               Lady Victoria’s wheel as it was in 1928

The reason  for the solid metal wheels that came from Lady Victoria’s previous owner was that here on Vancouver Island, we have a rather damp climate all year around and the metal wheels would not disintegrate with dry rot as the wooden spoke wheels did over the years.  That theory has been proven out here by talking with owners of vintage cars with wooden spoke wheels having to be replaced due to age and abuse.  One restorer some years ago even made a duplicating lathe to re-cut a set of triangular wooden spokes for his 29 Buick that was under restoration.   In that, in all the photos that I have of LaSalles, the only two with BUDD wheels are ones built in Canada.  Dirk sent a few photos of a 27 Touring LaSalle that he saw at an event in France and it had these wheels – another foreign built car.  BTW, The CLC Museum does not have any info on these wheels.  Could this option be one of the differences between US and Foreign completed LaSalles???

  

 

     REGARDING BUDD WHEELS AND THE BUDD MANUFACTURING CO.

            It would be great to find other BUDD wheels and information so if you know of any disc wheels or info on the Budd Wheel co., we would love to hear about it.  So far our investigation has been internet orientated and has not revealed a lot.  One item that we found was a summary of the BUDD Manufacturing co that told us that it started in Philadelphia PA in the early 20s and moved to Detroit.  It is a very long article with photos and info and I will take the time to read it when the Chronicle is finished for this month.  The web address for the article is:  “This Budd’s For You” article —

https://www.nailhed.com/search?q=Budd+Wheel

UPDATE ON 1928 LASALLE DISC WHEELS

My 1928 Lasalle has been with me since 1990. From a collection of rusted pieces dumped in my Calgary backyard, a beautiful five passenger coupe emerged more than 25 years later. In those years I sought out better useable solid disc wheels. I included my search for disc wheels in newspaper articles about the car both local and national as well as car clubs and any venues which dealt with my Lasalle. But no luck in over 30 years until recently or so I thought.
I joined a car organization which uses Facebook. This group called Rusting and Running Rides (RRR) covers both Canada and United States. Recently, I was scanning through the various cars when I noticed a late 20s Studebaker touring with disc wheels. They looked very similar to mine so I went online searching for 1920s Studebaker solid disc wheels for sale. Unbelievably a person in US has two similar looking disc wheels as my Lasalle for sale. The clincher in the ad was the make of these rims, BUDD. The same manufacturer as my Lasalle wheels.
I sent this ad to my buddy Keith who is very familiar with my old cars. When we were able to talk, he mentioned that he saw the name BUDD as well. He thought the asking price for the two wheels was a little rich but he initially had some good news for me or so we thought.
In September (2020) a car collector in the Edmonton area
purchased a 1928 Studebaker President for restoration that
also came with a parts car, which had five disc wheels. When
all comparative measurements and photos were exchanged
there was only one big difference to be found…they were 19”
instead of 20” as the LaSalle wheel measured…a huge
disappointment…the search continues.