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What are Dog Dish Hubcaps?

Lori Kilchermann
Lori Kilchermann

Dog dish hubcaps are chrome hubcaps found on 1950s-era automobiles. Consisting of a metal stamping that covers only the center of the wheel, dog dish hubcaps were often made of stainless steel and were nothing more than plain stampings that resembled an upturned dog dish. They were enjoyed for their simplicity as well as their ability to fit with a wide array of vehicle styles. Although manufactured by several automobile makers, the dog dish hubcaps carried no company logo, so they were at home on every make of vehicle.

While the typical installation of dog dish hubcaps were on plainly painted steel wheels, the occasional use on chrome reverse wheels was sometimes seen on a custom vehicle or a low-rider. Chrome trim rings also occasionally paired up with dog dish hubcaps to offer an even higher level of trim. The main difference between dog dish hubcaps and baby moon covers is that the moon covers are convex, while the dog dish caps were typically flat and more squared in design. Moon caps, on the other hand, utilized a very thin outside edge that gradually formed a dome at the center of the wheel.

Woman posing
Woman posing

Thin aluminum and stainless steel were the standard for hubcap construction in the United States during the 1950s, and another option for certain hubcaps included chrome plating. The dog dish caps were no exception, and many chrome-plated versions found their way onto some of the nation's top award-winning street rods and customs. Of the various Model T roadsters that won the top prize in "America's Most Beautiful Roadster" competition in California during the mid to late 1950s, nearly half were equipped with dog dish hubcaps. This is a testament to the popularity of the hubcaps during that period.

The dog dish hubcaps were originally intended to be used as a low-cost option to much fancier and more expensive wheel treatments on factory vehicle models. The sheer simplicity of the product made them appeal to customizers who were searching for understated styling options that could transcend the showroom floor and fit right in at the local drive-in. Many aftermarket companies have followed the trend by producing variations of the dog dish caps that offer a bit more flash than the originals. While the imitation hubcaps find their way onto many vehicles, owners seeking pure and simple styling remain dedicated to the original plain pieces.

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