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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

Mullins said her prices range from about $5 hubcaps to $100.

But asked about her most expensive hubcap, she cringes. She remembers when she had a Rolls-Royce hubcap she sold for $65 while in a pinch and then looked it up on the Internet and realized one had sold for $1,000 more.

What he taught her

Mullins, 53, walked to the west wall. That's where she talks about some of what she learned from her father. She is a firm believer in matching the look of a hubcap to a particular car or, rather, “what makes it pop.” Calvert told her, “You always put chrome on a red car.”

That's leads up to the story about the west wall.

“When Dad came in, I said, ‘I painted the walls red and put chrome hubcaps on it,'” she said.

These hubcaps also are ones with metal clips.

“We take great pride in our metal-clipped hubcaps,” she said. “These are a big step up from the factory caps with plastic clips. These hold up to Oklahoma potholes.”

But then again it goes back to whatever the customer wants.

And who is that customer? Today she has customers wanting center caps for alloy wheels.

But business is still good for the hubcaps. And that business may come from a car wholesaler or just someone who lost a hubcap. Or it may be the person making tables and clocks out of hubcaps or those using them to decorate “man caves.”

“I'm very well-known for, ‘If I don't have it, I find it for you,'” Mullins said. “I'll sit right here at this table and call the other dealers and my wholesaler for them. That way they don't have to drive all over town.”

However, she usually has the hubcap they need.

Once, Mullins bought thousands of hubcaps for $950 at an auction.

Calvert said back in the early days of his business, a man in rural Oklahoma who had “a whole farm of hubcaps” had died. Calvert bought truckloads from that location.

Today, Mullins said people will bring hubcaps to sell her, and recently a car wholesaler brought her two truckloads of hubcaps.

So has anyone ever come in and claimed she had their hubcap?

“Oh yes,” she said. “I remember as a kid I was sitting there, and this lady came in and she was telling Dad, ‘That's my hubcap, because that's my red mud on there.'”

She laughs at the memory. Mullins enjoys her business.

And Calvert said having fun is part of what made the business one he enjoyed for many years.

“The people that came in were good, and it was a happy business,” he said.

“When we'd close up at night, everyone was happy.”

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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