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I wonder how this wasn't considered copyright infringement


Monty
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Obviously I have no background in this area, but seeing this picture prompted my question.  These are ET Blackspoke wheels (better pictures available if you pull up pics of their old catalogs - I just couldn't seem to "grab" those photos)

4 VINTAGE MAG Wheels 14x8 14x6.75 ET Aluminum Old Muscle Car Universal ...

Are designs copyrighted?  Despite their horrible condition, you can tell that these were a direct knock-off of the Keystone wheel.  

Then again, there have been multiple versions of the Cragar S/S too, so...

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Look at the details, there is likely some minor difference that makes these "unique".

Bruce Meyers couldn't stop people from buying one of his Manx dune buggy bodies, making some slight change (like filling in the recess for the hood emblem) and then making a mold off of it and going into business against him.

There were numerous cheap copies of Cragar S/S and American Torque-Thrusts also.  Some small difference, and you're in business.

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29 minutes ago, oldscool said:

Might they be Keystones with ET center caps?

No, as I mentioned above I spotted these on the cover of an old ET catalog.  There was something about the picture that kept me from copy/pasting it, so I had to dig for another picture.

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As everyone has mentioned, it's been pretty common for companies to offer knock offs of popular designs with wheels and many other items as well. The ET Wheel company did have one feature that may or may not have made them unique enough to avoid any copy rights. The ET wheels had what they called a "Uni-Lug" system. The mounting points on the wheels were oblong and not drilled for a specific lug nut design. They used a flat oblong shaped washer that would fit into a relief cut or cast into the wheel center section. These would hold the oblong washers in place and the washers were available with different spacing so that the same wheel could be used on most all passenger cars regardless of their lug spacing by just changing the "Uni-Lug" insert. This also cut down on a retailer's stocking inventory since they only had to stock a lot of the washers and lug nuts. Owner's advantage if they changed brand of cars since all thay had to buy was a different set of lugs and washers. 

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Yes David ET was one that had the Uni-lug wheels. My older nrother was given a bunch of old wheels from the storage room at a place he worked. They were cleaning house.  Hauled a few to the swap meets to sell as they wre mostly odd units.  When they looked at the Uni-Lug they shook their head and walked away. LOL  Live and learn.  I wonder what he ever did with those wheels. 

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On 9/30/2022 at 2:12 AM, 1930fordpickup said:

Yes David ET was one that had the Uni-lug wheels. My older nrother was given a bunch of old wheels from the storage room at a place he worked. They were cleaning house.  Hauled a few to the swap meets to sell as they wre mostly odd units.  When they looked at the Uni-Lug they shook their head and walked away. LOL  Live and learn.  I wonder what he ever did with those wheels. 

As you probably know that any wheel, and especially alloy types, should be re torqued shortly after being installed. The ET's, I think because of their basic design, was very prone to having the lugs work loose shortly after installation so it was even more important than with any other wheels. I think because of this many would shy away from the wheels. I used them on a couple of my personal cars and even my new '74 Chevy C-10 short step with no issues as I would always retorque my wheels.  

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A lot of manufacturers went to "universal fit" around that time, probably to encourage speed shops to carry their wheels.  The universal fit meant that the shop didn't need to stock as many wheels as before.  If you eliminated the biggest GM and Ford cars (5 on 5" pattern) and some of the small Mopars (5 on 4-1/4") that left 5 on 4-1/2" (AMC, Ford, remaining Mopars) and 5 on 4-3/4" (remaining GM).  One wheel, with the universal fit feature, could fit both, letting dealers either stock half as many wheels or twice as many styles.

Appliance had "Roto-Lug", as I remember the lug nuts for their aluminum wheels had long shanks with eccentric washers built in.  The washers were round but the hole for the lug nut was offset.  You'd hoist the wheel/tire over the lugs, and maneuver it into position while you got a couple of the lug nuts into place.  The eccentric washers would find their positions in the large (but offset versus the lugs) holes in the wheel, and when tightened they would clamp the wheel in place.  My mom had a set of Appliance Wire Mags on her '77 Cutlass, I was the one who usually switched tires/wheels in spring and fall.  

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