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Hubcaps are plentiful at Oklahoma City's Hubcap World

An Oklahoma City woman has continued the hubcap business her father began about 45 years ago.
by Bryan Painter Modified: February 16, 2013 at 1:13 am •  Published: February 17, 2013

The table Sandra Mullins was sitting at had a hubcap on it.

Not surprising, since there are hubcaps in stacks, hubcaps in rows, hubcaps high and hubcaps low at Hubcap World.

So when she pushed the hubcap on the table back and started with, “The funniest hubcap story that we have…,” there was little doubt this was going to be interesting.

Mullins' father, Henry Calvert, started the business about 45 years ago and operated it on NE 23 for a long time, she said. Then he retired. It was closed for a while. But 13 years ago, she reopened and continues to do business at her store at 2717 NW 10.

So, with that much time devoted to these discs, there was a fair amount of certainty her story would be interesting.

She said Calvert used to go to an area of an Oklahoma turnpike where there were speed bumps by the gate. Cars would hit the bumps and hubcaps would come off, roll down along some railroad tracks and land in one general spot.

“So they'd hook up their trailers to their motorcycles and they'd go down the railroad tracks,” she said. “They'd bring a shovel with them and black plastic bags for the hubcaps to put in the trailer.

“They'd shovel the gravel back up next to the railroad tracks so they could get down in there.”

One day a motorist happened to see this. Think about it: It's about dusk, and there are men with a plastic bag and shovels. It wasn't long before law enforcement showed up.

“Dad said,” Mullins said, stopping to laugh, “‘Man I didn't make up any stories. I pulled out that hubcap card so quick when they told me they thought we were burying a body.'”

A good stock

Mullins has an abundance of hubcaps and stories.

There's a hubcap for a 1930s Lincoln Zephyr. On another wall is one for a Studebaker. A ways from it is a Plymouth hubcap.

When asked her system for locating a specific hubcap, Mullins taps an index finger to her temple.

“I know where every single hubcap is, and I know if there's one out of place,” she said.

Her father, who has been battling health issues, is 82. But recently he shared in a phone call that his method was the same as that of his daughter.

“It was like pressing a button on a computer, and it would open the screen in our memory,” Calvert said. “You mention a hubcap, and we'd know just exactly where it was. We were around them so much.”

A tour

The table where Mullins is sitting is an island, but she can easily navigate through the hubcaps.

Out back she points out, “You've got your Ford rack, your Chevy rack, and it goes all the way back. All this up here is Chrysler and Toyota. These over here are all 14s, and the 15s are up there.”

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by Bryan Painter
Assistant Local Editor
Bryan Painter, assistant local editor, has 31 years’ experience in journalism, including 22 years with the state's largest newspaper, The Oklahoman. In that time he has covered such events as the April 19, 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah...
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