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Putting the car before the steering wheel…

Give this a thought – how much weight do you put into steering wheel design? In other words, would a great looking steering wheel convince you into buying the car it comes in? The answer is probably ‘No’. And that’s totally reasonable.


In fact, motorised vehicles during its infancy didn’t even feature a steering wheel. Instead, Carl Benz’s Patent Motorwagen (which is generally considered to be the first motorised vehicle) from 1886 utilised a steering crank to control the front axle, which in this case is made up of a single wheel.

It took roughly eight years before anyone got to see a steering wheel. It suitably happened during the world’s first ever automobile race from Paris to Rouen in 1894, when French engineer Alfred Vacheron implemented it on his Daimler-powered Panhard & Levassor car. Vacheron didn’t finish anywhere close to the top positions but the steering wheel won its place in automobiles.

Over the decades the steering wheel has gone through significant changes. Heavy, direct-steering was thankfully replaced by hydraulic assistance (and now electric motor assistance). And the steering spokes now house as many buttons as a basic calculator.


Having said that, there is only a limited amount of design bravado which can be implemented on a steering wheel. Thus, where you can, you have to make it count. We suggest Nappa leather for a dash of sophistication, or Alcantara for a sporty look. As for colour, it should pick up from the seats or dashboard, but go a little crazy with contrast stitching.


If you have a steering wheel that has seen better days, or one that needs to keep up with your style, ask DK SCHWEIZER about your options. Imagine if Alfred Vacheron had a chance to wrap his race car’s steering with high-quality leather; whether he would have won the race is irrelevant, but he would certainly have done it with more style!


It’s amazing what a little change can do to your car interior, particularly for a component which is so important yet not given the significance it deserves.


Contact us here, and find out how we can give new life to your car’s steering wheel.

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