[ROVERNET - UK] Wheels - Lots of info...

Glen Wilson rovercar at comcast.net
Fri Aug 4 14:56:33 BST 2006

Fletcher tried posting this to Rovernet, but it apparently did not go 
through, so I am resending it from my address.   Glen

 From Fletcher:


Posted this a couple of nights ago, but it seems to have gone off to 
comm heaven, so here goes again, somewhat revised.
Didn't mean to start a war, much of this hasn't made any sense to me 
since 1972 or earlier, but here's more info and thought. The list format 
is pretty hard to sort through if people keep quoting the entire digest 
list, sorry if I have too much repetitive stuff here.


and a slightly different version:

And a bit of explanation (or fantasy, depending on where you enter the 
derivation-of-name chain)(this makes some sense, since Rubery Owen seem 
to name lots of things ro****):

"Incidentally, 'Rostyle' is actual 'RO-style' or 'Rubery-Owen style' 
after the manufacturer of the wheel."
From:   http://www.mgb-stuff.org.uk/wheelstext.htm

And from:
"This wheel line (Magnum 500) was made by the Motor Wheel Corporation, 
one of the most prolific producers of steel "styled" wheels during the 
1960's and 70's. "
Lots of pics, all with 4 1/2 or 4 3/4 BC. All American Mfrs apparently 
used these, guess I should have paid more attention to US stuff back then!

I found a reference that MWC was owned by Goodyear from 64 to 86, was 
sold off, absorbed by Hayes-Lemmerz (likely the remains of K-H), and 
finally went bust around 96.

There are current "Magnum 500" wheels, which all seem to be  Aluminum 
forged items, look exactly the same. Expen$ive! Google!

My Aug 66 parts book (SC only )shows only the steel wheel, #534814, as 
does my Sept 74 book (all models).
Likewise for wheel stud (front) 545510
Front hubs 538808 are  shown the same  in both books.
Neither book has any reference in either the normal or optional 
equipment section of anything related to wire wheels, Mstar, M500, or 
Rostyle, or any related hub/nut/ stud etc.
Vern's books, however, seem to show various combinations of these things.
I note that my 74 book indicates that my 68TC car serial number is an 
engine number, but it is the number on the ID plate as "chassis number" 
and is not a fudge, since I've had this since 71 or 72, and nothing, 
including the plugs and maybe the oil, had been changed from factory 
when I bought it, with about 45k on clock.
It's no wonder they went bust!
I would not trust ANY listing or ANYBODY'S memory,
PARTS on cars trump all!

I fought the bushes and wasps to find that:
both SC have the 5" BC with 7/16 studs, Dunlop brakes
 both the 66? TC 41804792B (White/blue/buffalo, single booster) and the 
68TC  85900876B (dual booster) have a 4.75 bolt circle  with 1/2" studs 
and chrome wheels, Girling brakes. If these are M500 wheels, it would 
appear to mean that the M500 was still around during 68 production. 
These are welded centers. The nuts on the earlier car are the type with 
a chrome or stainless cover permanently attached, while the 68 nuts are 
longer, with a longer hex, and are chrome plated.
I found I have at least two apparently identical chrome wheels with a 5" 
BC, which also obviously take 1/2" studs, these came off a TC, year 
unknown, that was scrapped for parts.These are also welded centers. It 
was measuring these that lead me to think the chrome whatever wheels had 
the same BC as the standard ones.

The statement:

"The wheels shown in some of your photos do not appear to have rivets.  This is one key to identifying the wheels. If they have NO RIVETS, they  are Magnum 500.  All Rostyles of all sizes and bolt paterns (MG, Rover, Ford, etc.) have their centers rivetted to the rims."

is NOT correct, as all the 20 odd MGB Rostyles I have are welded. While 
it's not something I keep track of, I don't believe Midget Rostyles are 
riveted, but I don't have any to look at. I inquired on another board 
and got this, from a guy who has them: Both styles of Rostyle (as fitted 
to Spridgets at least) were welded - not a rivet in sight! Kent, have 
you actually SEEN riveted Rostyles? Eric R apparently has seen some sort 
of riveted wheel, but gives no info about what year that car was.

All of the M500 or Rostyles I have or have reliable reports on are 
welded; if there are in fact any of either that are riveted, I would 
expect that it is very early production. The riveted construction is 
obsolete, and was in 1966, and both of these wheels were state of the 
art at the time.

So, other than rivets, how can you visually differentiate between M500 & 
Found refs that Rubery-Owen makes wheels for many manufacturers, and 
they are stamped "ROH", for Rubery Owen Holdings, or possibly just RO 

I am going to propose that, since the wheels are virtually identical, 
and, since the M500 seems to have appeared in 1966, and the Rostyle 
shortly after, that it is either a remarkable case of parallel 
evolution, or there was a link/license or shared manufacture betweem MWC 
and Rubery-Owen. If there is no link, it would seem that there should be 
evidence of a design/patent infringement case somewhere, it being a 
matter of several million wheels on either side. I also found a Spanish 
website that indicates that Rostyles were used on many European cars 
too, so that's more. If the above (linked) alleged statements from RO 
management are true, the design would appear to have originated with RO. 
In other words, it's the same wheel, with different names and various 
bolt patterns on each side of the Atlantic, and Rover used 4.75 and 5.0 
BC versions at different times. And then we have the references from NZ 
re 5.5BC on Rover Rostyles! (David Walker, who also says that there are 
different hubs with different offsets, both of 5.5BC!) That makes a 
total of at least 4 different front hubs (4.75, 5.0, 2x 5.5), plus the 
alleged early spider type as shown in the books - has anyone actually 
seen one of those?.

One John Henry Golata, a big deal at MWC, held a patent for "the first 
"style" (no hub cab) wheel.", which I am trying to find. Mr Golata died 
in January, or we could have asked him. No luck, someone with a much 
faster internet connection than I might be able to find it, BUT:

This patent is for the new modern design wheels that have the outer bead 
seat formed from the center disc, and refers to the earlier "styled" 
design patents.
The references to the "style" wheel look to me like they would apply to 
the Rostyles, and it is clear that Golata/MWC were into continuous 
welds, so Rostyles with rivets, if they exist, could have been an 
attempt to get around design issues, and the nebulous situation and 
terminology re M500 and Rostyle use may also be due to figuring out 
license issues.

There is a good deal of this sort of dancing with patents behind the 
scenes. I once spoke to a Dunlop tire executive about odd wear on their 
(my!) radial truck steering tires; he said that it was due to the center 
circumferential groove they used, which was a result of Michelin having 
a patent on the use of a continuous center rib. Michelin either would 
not license it to Dunlop, or wanted excessive shekels to do so.
I'm heading for cover!

More information about the rovernet mailing list