Custom Car Chronicle
Art & DesignCustom Car AccessoriesCustom HistoryGeorge DuVall

Single Bar Hubcaps Design


The most popular dress-up item in the early/mid 1940’s was the Ripple-Disk-Single-Bar-Flipper-Hubcap. Many Custom Cars from this era used them, but where did they come from?

The Mysterious Single Bar Flipper Hubcaps

This article is not suposed to be an historic article about the full history of the Single Bar Flipper Hubcap… perhaps one day it will be transfered into that. But for now I just had to create it since CCC-Member Quentin Hall shared a few very interesting concept drawings he had found on-line. Wonderfull illustrations from the later part of the 1930’s. Perfect inspiration for Quentin’s own 1939 Cadillac Project. In one of the drawing Quentin shared I noticed the hucaps. The illustrator James R. Shipley dressed up his 1937-38 La Salle designs with a set of Ripple-Disk-Single-Bar-Flipper-Hubcaps (scroll down to see the illustration). Could this perhaps we the very first design for this all time favorite early style Custom Car accessory hubcap? I had seen several illustration of similar hubcaps before, but never so close to the hubcaps we all know so well from the most popular Custom Car hubcaps from the early to mid 1940’s.

CCC-single-bar-hubcaps-091934 Cadillac V-16, the first year Cadillac used the single bar hubcap. This particular model also has a single bar hubcap mounted on the fender skirt, and the bar is extended as trim on the skirt. Very nice detail. (Photo from

CCC-single-bar-hubcaps-031937 Cadillac V-16 with factory stock single bar flipper hubcaps. This was the last year Cadillac used this hubcap design.

So far I have always thought that the Single Bar Flipper Hubcap was developed based on the 1934-1937 Cadillac hubcaps. Those hubcaps were mounted on a smooth outer disk. Some of the very early Customs appear to have used this particular Cadillac hubcaps and have mounted it on some ribbed disks. Later, we are now talking very late 1930’s and 1940, the first set of aftermarket Ripple-Disk Single-Bar-Flipper-Hubcaps appeared on Custom Cars. I have always thought – although I have never been able to find any real evidence for this – it was George Du Vall who was responsible for the first aftermarket Single Bar hubcaps. And I always assumes it was Also George DuVall who “designed” the final shape of these and put them in production. James V. Severino shared the information whcih Julian Doty had told him. He (Juliann Doty) got the casting patterns for the flipper bars from his uncle George DuVall. He told that the disks were spun on a lathe (like a Moon fuel tank). He also mentioned that he doesn’t know what happened to the tooling. Julian thinks while he was away in the service, they might have been destroyed in a WWll scrap drive.

CCC-single-bar-hubcaps-08This 1937 For custom has a 1940 license-plate and used what looks like 1934 Cadillac single bar hubcap on some kind of ribbed outer ring. But are in fact early aftermarket hubcaps designed by George Du Vall.


CCC-single-bar-hubcaps-06This photo of an 1941 Ford appeard in an article on George DuValle by Mike Bishop. It mentions some of the parts, inluding a set of Ripple-Disk-Single-Bar-Flipper-Hubcaps are all popular dress-up pieces from George DuVall.

But now with these new Illutrations from 1937 by James R. Shipley I believe that these hubcaps might have been designed by Mr Shipley. Perhaps George DuVall caem up with the same idea at the same time, or perhaps both designers knew each other, or saw each others work. Hard to tell, but I thought this was interesting enough to write a little story about. Obviously these illustrations come from a printed bublication, but so far I have not been able to find out which one.

CCC-single-bar-hubcaps-01James R. Shipley illustration from around 1937 shows his design for the 1937 LaSalle and uses the typical shape of the Riple-Disk-Single-Bar-Flipper-Hubcap.

CCC-single-bar-hubcaps-02Another James R. Shipley illustration shows another LaSalle design also using the same Riple-Disk-Single-Bar-Flipper-Hubcap.

CCC-single-bar-hubcaps-04wMagazine product information from 1951. Two different type of Single bar hubcaps were offered then. Several aftermarket companies produced them by then, several types and sizes were available. 


(This article is made possible by)






Rik Hoving

Rik is the CCC editor in chief. As a custom car historian he is researching custom car history for many years. In 2004 he started the Custom Car Photo Archive that has become a place of joy for many custom car enthousiasts. Here at CCC Rik will bring you inspiring articles on the history of custom cars and builders. Like a true photo detective he will show us what's going on in all those amazing photos. He will write stories about everything you want to know in the realm of customizing. In daily life Rik is a Graphic Designer. He is married to the CCC webmaster and the father of a 10 year old son (they are both very happy with his excellent cooking skills)

4 thoughts on “Single Bar Hubcaps Design

  • Not certain, but I’m thinking the Cadillac cap actually was a very narrow, elongated Art Deco ‘V’. I also am trying to recall a connection between DuVall and Kurtis, back in the day. Love that Shipley rendering. Unmistakable Cord influence in the panel below the grille, and the covered headlights.
    Larry Pointer

  • Oops! I went to “images for 1937 Cadillac” online, and that Cad bar is unmistakably a single symmetrical flipper bar.
    Larry Pointer

  • Still my absolute favorite caps and I have owned many different versions over the years. There used to be a guy in Sacramento who would spin new ones and sell them on ebay. He had all of the tooling and you would bid on having him make you a set. I have always wondered what happened to him…unfortunately I was never able to bid on a set so I could never see the quality.

Leave a Reply