I think my first exposure to fake plastic wheel covers that posed as alloys was reading a road test of the Chevy Monza 2+2 in Road & Track. They had undertaken braking tests in the car and the excessive heat generated by the repeated stopping attempts had softened the plastic wheel covers to the point that they distorted noticeably, and then fell off the car. R&T included a nice picture of one droopy donut in the article. I was astounded by this revelation as up until that part of the test, I had thought that they were actual metal alloy wheels.
A decade later I was fooled again, this time by steel wheels on a Ford Taurus that had some sort of molded rubber coating that when painted silver, approximated the look of lightweight metal with reasonable fidelity. Those did the job of looking fancy most likely at a significant cost savings over real alloy wheels, and who am I to question the Taurus’ engineers as that was one of the most thoughtfully designed cars in automotive history.
So, wheel covers, molded rubber on steel wheels, there hare a number of lengths that car makers – and even the aftermarket – have gone to in the effort to give us the alloy wheel look, without the alloy wheel expense. Or maybe they still charged us the same and pocketed the difference? Either way, it’s all good. Considering all those different fake alloy wheels, whether factory or not, which ones do you think were the best impersonators?