A Bit Of Early Porsche and VW Beetle/Bus Wheel History
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Porsche 356 wheels:
The early 356 models, including the 1948/1949 Gmünd cars built in Austria, were fitted with 16×3-inch all-steel wheels. These 5-bolt VW-based rims were a disc type without ventilated cooling slots. Porsche parts book (1950-1953), also lists a 16×3.25-inch size disc wheel for road cars. Slotted/ventilated 16×3.25 wheels were introduced in 1952. The 356s built after the 1950-1955 pre-A were fitted with a 15×4.5 size all-steel slotted wheel. Note: Various hubcaps, trim rings, and finishes have been supplied for 356 wheels.
Porsche 550 Spyder wheels:
From 1954 to 1956 Porsche’s production aluminum-bodied 550 Spyders were equipped with slotted 16×3.5-inch lightweight wheels. These wheels had a steel center and an aluminum rim. The 1956-1958 550A Spyders were originally fitted with the same wheels and could be also fit with a steel/alloy wheel in 15×4, 15×4.5, or 15×5-inch sizes. 15×5.5 size lightweight wheels which were available for racing.
VW Beetle / Bus wheels:
A 16 x 3.0 smooth disc wheel was installed onto all production September 1952 and earlier Beetles. In October 1952, VW reduced the wheel size to 15". The new size classification is 4J X 15. This wheel would continue to be used through the 1965 model year. In 1966, the wheel was redesigned. Ten air vents were added. The overall dimensions remained 4J X 15. U.S. Beetles would use this wheel for the 1966-1967 model years, while European models used this wheel in 1966 only. A new hubcap was installed for this wheel. It did not require mounting clips- caps were a flatter design. Bus wheels were smooth 16 x 3.5 from 1950 to Febuary 1955, starting March 1 1955 they switched to a slotted 15" wheel, size 15x4.50.
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