The 71 and 72 Chevelle steering wheels had a single, very wide, horizontal crossmember. It was thicker at the center than it was at each side where it contacted the outer ring of the steering wheel itself. Maybe about 2 inches at the ends and 4 inches in the middle.
So, basically the crossmember is shaped like a very flat triangle with the left and right sides chopped off. The entire thing is covered with a rubber cover, which can be pushed just about anywhere to blow the horn. The rubber cover also has a metal insert that runs across the entire width of the crossmember. On a stock Chevelle, the insert has the word Chevelle printed on it on the right side. On a stock SS Chevelle, the insert has a small, slightly raised, SS in the center. The insert is usually black with a silver outer edge, and the letters are silver.
It is a very plain looking steering wheel, but it is great for driving. I drove my 72 SS with its stock steering wheel for 12 years and found it to be one of the most comfortable I've ever used.
Hope that helps. If I still had a picture, I would have tried to send it to you.
I've been looking for a replacement for my 71 Malibu's (identical to the 72's) steering wheel for several years without success. Mine has several large cracks in it, and unfortunately, all the ones I've found at swap meets or salvage yards are cracked too. Eastwood sells a steering wheel restoration kit that includes an epoxy to use for filling the cracks. I haven't tried it yet, but will probably head in that direction. Good luck. JT
JT's is probably right about the condition of all '72 wheels in 1998. We are unlikely to find a good one now. I have not subscribed to Hemmings in some time, but I think that there are companies advertising there that do restorations of steering wheels. Do not know what the cost would be.
An alternative 4-spoke wheel was an option on ElCaminos and maybe the Chevelle, too. It looks a lot like the wheel in more recent Camaros. I got on of these from a yard for $6 and it may be a reasonable alternative if you can find the right emblem to go in the middle of the horn button.
Hurd's Restoration Guide says that the 70 steering wheel has a hard plastic shroud where the 71/72 had a soft vinyl shroud. I don't know if Hurd is correct or not, my 72 SS Elky has the 4 spoke sport wheel. I usually have this book and others with me all the time. Give me a call when you come to the Navy yard and I will show you what this book is all about. You might want to get one.
Have A Great Chevelle Day. Mike
The 72 did have a soft,fat,push anywhere center as described, It should be noted that the wheel itself is also a semi hard rubberish feeling plastic. It is thicker than the 69/70 wheel. These wheels are still out there guys!! I bought mine last year at the Super Chevy swap meet in Epping NH.
The seller actually had two in perfect condition, they were selling for 70 bucks apiece with the center shroud.
Don't give up,,, they are still around.
These wheels are less prone to be cracked because the material was not as hard a plastic, allowing it to expand and contract in all temperatures.
The hard plastic rim on the standard 2-spoke wheel tended to crack. The '71 - '72 style continued from '73 - '77 with a soft rim. I have never seen one of those crack, and they feel good on the hand. Prior to '73 there was a very rare soft-rim 2 spoke wheel. (see Dan Carr's '72 ElCamino - www.chevelles.com/feature/feature6d.jpg )
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