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Collectible Steering Wheels and Knobs

Collectible steering wheels and knobs are often a coveted item for collectors of vintage automobile parts and accessories as well a necessity for car buffs who restore vintage automobiles to pristine condition using authentic or closely reproduced parts. Steering wheels and knobs from over a century of automotive manufacturers offer different styles and appearances to collectors and have the ability to evoke memories of different historical and cultural milestones and eras. When considering purchasing a collectible item, it is important to consider several different features in order to make a smart buying decision.

What is a suicide knob?

What is known as a suicide knob is properly named a Brody or Brodie knob. This knob is also known by a number of other colorful names including a granny, knuckle buster, necker, and wheel spinner. The last name in the list describes the true purpose of the item. Installed on the steering wheel to spin independently, the spinner wheel allows the driver to steer with one hand more easily and more quickly to allow for one-handed driving in challenging conditions. These wheel spinner or spinner knobs were often attached to tractors and other heavy farm equipment and machinery to help with steering.

What are some different types of vintage steering wheels?

As automobiles have undergone massive changes in manufacturing, engineering, and design over the last century, automotive steering wheels have evolved, adapting and changing as well. As a result, there are a variety of different styles of steering wheels available for collectors of vintage or specialty models. Some of the different styles include:

  • Banjo, which has narrow, string-like wires that serve as spokes. Often, these wires are set close together rather than equidistantly placed like the spokes of a typical wheel.
  • Adjustable, such as wheels that can swing away, telescope, or tilt.
  • Single spoke, as seen on 1970s era Citroen models.
  • Quick release wheels that allow for the wheel to be detached from the steering column.
  • Two spoke wheels with horn rims, often found in cars from the 1950s era.
Are there custom looks for spinner knobs?

Spinner knobs, also known as wheel spinners or suicide knobs, come in a variety of finishes and looks. For collectors of specific vehicle manufacturers, such as Ford or Chevy, there are spinner knobs emblazoned with the logo of the manufacturer. For those seeking a hot rod look, consider models that feature colors and styles from the era from which your car originated, such as Art Deco or chrome.