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.
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.