"FAUX MAG WHEELS" - Lookin' Good (without Robbing a Bank)




Introduction: "FAUX MAG WHEELS" - Lookin' Good (without Robbing a Bank)

About: recently retired tinkerer with an overactive imagination, possibly infected with the 'Idea Virus'

The desire for a more contemporary look for my Volkswagen bug started a yearning for "Mag Wheels", or at least the look. 

Hardly any cars sold today have hubcaps anymore, but the cost of a new set of rims to fit my VW was, ahem, staggering! 

In this episode, I show how I transformed the (rusty) original German stock steel wheels into a much more presentable street appearance, at a minimal expense.  My family claims that I had some sort of 'idea virus'.


The bug was non-operational for the last 21 years - the tires were rotted and the wheels were rusty, as you can see.

In the order they were used, are: (1) gray primer, (2) Krylon aluminum metallic, and (3) flat black.

A "wire wheel" that fits into a 1/4" electric drill was used to remove the flaking factory paint and any visible rust.

Painter's tape helped create the 'special effect'.


The wheels were cleaned and dried after the rust and old paint was removed.

One coat of gray primer was sprayed and allowed to dry.

Two coats of  aluminum metallic were sprayed, and allowed to harden for a few days.

Thinking that I would like the all-metal look, I had the tires mounted onto the wheels.
I was WRONG! They seemed way too bright, or maybe it was just the shock of seeing such a clean look.

Step 3: "MASKING" - to Spray Flat Black Areas

CAUTION: Be REALLY sure that the aluminum paint is hard. If it isn't, the tape will make quite a mess, guaranteed.

On each wheel, painter's tape was applied to create FOUR 'blacked-out' areas. Each area includes two original wheel slots.

These black areas create the illusion of (A) a round mag center with 4 mag 'spokes', which are connected to (B) an outside mag rim.
This illusion is enhanced by either squinting a little, or viewing from  further away.


Finally, the wheels were torqued on with zinc-plated lug bolts, and we were ready for prime-time.

I am satisfied with how these fake mags look, out on the road or in traffic. 
I don't think there's any reason to use locking lugs.

After its first full-service car wash in 21 years, it's portrait time. SMILE !!
(The car wash cost more than creating these "Faux Mag Wheels").

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    9 years ago on Introduction

    If you should use this idea to make your own, take photos and post them here, for others to see your work! Just click the 'Add Images' box under the 'Comment' section. Here's another set I made for a friend:

    set2 96.JPG

    When I first saw the photo, i thought "the fool has cut big holes in the wheel", the paint job certainly made me look twice! nice job


    9 years ago on Introduction

    These look really good. I noticed the metallic paint says "indoor use only". I think it might be a good idea to shoot a coat of clear polyurathane over the finished wheel.


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks, Tom! Clear poly will prolong the appearance, for sure. I've gotten lots of comments while in local parking lots - this time, my idea actually impressed ME at how well it turned out !!


    9 years ago

    Totally going to do this on my riding mower