Rechroming the Knock Offs

Rechroming the Knock Offs

Several people who frequent this site suggested I call Cork Adams at Precision Wire Wheel to have my knock offs rechromed. He used to be located in California, but has moved. I called the Illinois number, and got Cork on the phone. He was very knowledgeable on the subject on wire wheels, and said that it would cost about $75 dollars each to have the knock offs stripped, and rechromed. Depending on how much material is removed from the surface of the steel knock off, Cork can have the lettering, and Borrani markings re engraved for an additional $20-25 dollars. This cost would be substantially cheaper than buying new ones, so I shipped mine to him this week. Mr. Adams said that he should be able to have them done in a couple of weeks, so expect a full report when they come back!

While I was on the phone with Cork Adams, I wanted to ask him some questions about wire wheels, and he was more than happy to share the information. My first question was whether he had heard of a company called “Borrani Wire Wheel Service” because my refurbished wheels came in old boxes addressed from this company. Cork said, that they were located in Venice CA, and owned by Jim Wilson, who he believes has since retired.

On what kind of tape to use inside the wheel to protect the spokes from puncturing the inner tubes, Cork recommends using a two-inch wide “pipe wrap tape” or “conduit tape,” that can be found at some home building supply stores. You wrap it over the spokes inside the wheel 3-4 times to protect the tube. He says to be persistent in your search because not all places carry it. He does not recommend using regular tape, or duct tape because when the wheel gets hot, the glue from the tape will soften, and get everywhere inside the wheel.

A tip he had on the checking for trueness, he said to mount the wheels one at a time on the front hub, and spin it off the ground. Have a helper spin it, and you stand away and look for a wobble. If there is a problem, truing is a little more complicated, and not as easy to explain over the phone! Sometimes the nipples that tighten the spoke into the hub also gets stuck, and can complicate matters. According to Cork, replacing one broken spoke on a Borrani is a pretty tough job requiring the new spoke to be bent into a pretzel to fit in the narrow hub. Probably a job better left to the professionals!

Another topic we covered was that Borranis have a valve stem opening that is larger than the thickness of a normal tube with a Schrader valve. Cork explained that in the 60s, Pirelli made tubes with threaded valves all the was down the length of the valve. Brass “chairs” would thread down these valve stems and hold the stem securely against the rim of the wheel. Using the thinner valve stems is not a problem, and I’ve noticed many cars going without any collar, but special grommets can be bought to replace the brass insert and threaded valve stem system.

I also asked Mr. Adams to clarify the rumors I heard that Borrani is considering ceasing production of wire wheels, and he said he had heard the same thing. He assured me that these rumors have arisen before, and who knows what would really happen. He explained that Borrani is now owned by a larger parent company, “Costruzioni Meccaniche Rho,” and retains a few individuals to make the Borrani wheels and knock offs. As demand for these wheels goes down, and