Sexy New Skin

April 5: Now that I’ve got your attention. This is really about Stewball’s new Wheelskin. Steering wheel that is. Type 1 VWs have very small diameter steering wheels. I mean the diameter of the ring you  hold, not the overall diameter-that’s big. So large that any modern steering wheel cover won’t fit. I know, I’ve tried. On the 2011 World Rally we had lots of high winds. Some of you may remember those blog from the US leg. Our hands really cramped from having to hold the wheel so tight. So, I used our trusty Vintage VW source, Mid-American Motorworks and ordered a Genuine Leather Steering Wheel Cover. Nope, not the kind you can just slip over the wheel to increase hand comfort, this one is a do-it-yourself kit and comes with a VERY big needle, waxed lacing cord and hundreds of tiny holes that you have to match up and stitch to close this leather cover thing around the steering wheel.

This is what the steering wheel looked like before.

It does come with a set of instructions, including pictures. Three things in the first paragraph should have clued me: Time required: approximately 60 minutes. No hint of “start your clock now.” 2. And this one was in bold. You  may want to wear a glove or place tape or a band-aid on your finger for protection during installation. The third hint was: Follow these instructions carefully to ensure a proper  tight fit for your Wheelskins Genuine Leather Steering Wheel Cover. What the instructions didn’t say, was THERE IS A LEARNING CURVE.

Now that should be enough to make one pause and reconsider-is it really going to be worth the (pain) and effort? It doesn’t even increase the wheel diameter. Well, let me say, we were going to drive Stewball to lunch but I had only 1/4 of the lacing done by that time. I’m not going to tell you when I started, how often my very long waxed lacing cord got wound around the gear shift or knotted up, or how much I had to take out and redo, or how many band-aids I used to pad my index finger.  I will say the second half went much faster than the first but when I wake with arthritic hands, I told Ed to remind me of this morning (and afternoon) activity.

So, here is Stewball’s new skin. What do you think? Sexy huh? I can’t tell you if it was worth the effort yet. At least the steering wheel isn’t slippery and maybe that will reduce the need to grip it so tight. And you must admit, that’s a darn good sewing job! 🙂


P.S. Ed was busy sorting, listing and packing spare parts so I know he heard my sighs and yelps but he remained calm. He finished his job well before I did.

About ejhowle23

Authors and adventurers, participated in the World Race 2011, an automobile rally from New York to Paris, crossing three continents and 14,000 land miles. Following much the same route as the setting for our debut novel, The Long Road to Paris. This blog describes our own adventures and challenges. And now you can follow our Bahamas sailing adventure that provides the setting for our second novel, Night Watch. Our rally, the African Safari Challenge, crossed five countries in South Africa in May 2014 and in 2015 we participated in the second Trans-American rally this time from Nova Scotia to San Francisco. Spring of 2016 we travelled 28 days around Australia with friends from previous rallies and in the fall participated in our most exhausting rally through Argentina, Chili and Peru- the Rally of the Incas. We were awarded the Against All Odds award. We're still not sure if this was for us or our car. Stewball never broke down and we hardly did. We will soon take on Iceland as a self-drive tour and in the fall of 2017 we will participate in the Odyssey Italia and then back to Africa for a do-over (almost) of the Africa Safari Challenge.
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