Hub Cap Annie’s, which sells used and classic hubcaps in Denver, Colorado, puts a new spin on “recycling.”
Starting her engine: In 1982, without a lick of automotive savvy, Jane Withers hit the road with a beat-up truck, 600 used hubcaps, and a rubber hammer. Gradually she created a successful new, used, and antique hubcap empire. Over the years, she’s sold wheel coverings to film crews, architects, and restaurants.
Chrome craze: For auto buffs, Annie’s Hubcap Museum displays tire covers of classic Aston Martin, Pierce-Arrow, and Terraplane cars. Also available: the potentially lethal three-bar spinner, which may have contributed to chrome’s demise (car manufacturers now use plastic). The spinners, with three metal squares sticking out dangerously from a hubcap’s center like a fan, were designed to look pretty when the wheels turned but were outlawed in 1979 to protect pedestrians.
Classy chassis: Whenever there’s a fundraiser or a local parade, Withers assumes her “Viking Valkyrie” persona and dons a pair of golden braids and a hubcap breastplate.
Tireless decor: Functional or decorative, recycled hubcaps can spiff up your home or yard, says Withers. She suggests arranging them artfully on walls, showing them off as cocktail party serving platters, converting them into lampshades, feeding Fido in style (Ford truck hubcaps work well), and mounting them in wet cement on exterior walls or walkways.
Where she parks: 5007 E. Colfax in Denver, Colorado; (888) 206-5992
Roundabout uses: “People get pretty creative with hubcaps. I’ve seen them used as lamp bases, clock faces, purses, and even as a container for pâté.”