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Thread: Wheels/tires for my Bel Air

  1. #1
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    Wheels/tires for my Bel Air

    My 57 Bel Air is nearing completion and we are down to wheel and tire choices. I want to run the old school Torque Thrust, gray spoke type mags. The guy who owns the shop is suggesting 17"x8" with 50 series tires. I think there will be a clearance problem and do not want to deal with spacers, etc.
    My choice is 15x7 with 70 or 75 series tires and I know they will clear. He has also suggested going up as far as 20 inch wheels with 30 or 40 series tires. Go ahead and throw your opinions out on this one please. Of course my choice is bolt on and go with no modifications.

  2. #2
    Registered Member chevynut's Avatar
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    Why do you think there's a clearance problem? You can put just about any diameter wheel on the car with no clearance problems, if the tire OD is the same. In fact, larger wheels make it easier to take them off the car in the rear. I don't understand why you think you'd need to make modifications.

    Your choice depends on whether you want an "old school" look or a more modern look. I think 17s look great and 15s look like "fat" tires but that's my personal opinion. My Nomad will probably end up with 18s all around because I think they provide a nice balance and a more modern match to the theme of my car.
    56 Nomad, Ramjet 502, Viper 6-speed T56, C4 Corvette front and rear suspension

    You can see my 56 Nomad build here http://www.picturetrail.com/chevynut

    For affordable C4 Corvette Suspension conversions for your car, visit http://www.classicedgedesigns.com

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  3. #3
    Registered Member 55 Rescue Dog's Avatar
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    One problem with 15 inch tires is there are no good ones out there anymore. You could always just step it up a little bit to like a 16 x 7 wheel, with a popular sized 215/65-16 tire, which is the stock diameter at 27 inches.

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    The selection of 16" tires is worse than 15" IMO.

    The tire diameter, width, and wheel offset determines the clearance - along with the front suspension/brake package, and the rear axle width. You can get a tire/wheel setup anywhere from 14" to 20" that will clear, as well as some in the same diameters that won't.

    I have my preferences. Why would you let your builder determine the wheels? Decide what you want, then figure out what exact tire size and wheel width/offset clears. You can get assistance with that part here and from your builder.

  5. #5
    Registered Member chevynut's Avatar
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    For reference this is 17s (245/45-17 tires) on the front and 18s (295/35-18 tires) on the rear of my Nomad. The front has a 3" suspension drop and the rear about 2". I personally think that the bigger the wheel is, the lower the car should sit. A stock height car looks stupid with 20" wheels imo.

    20120325_0004.JPG
    56 Nomad, Ramjet 502, Viper 6-speed T56, C4 Corvette front and rear suspension

    You can see my 56 Nomad build here http://www.picturetrail.com/chevynut

    For affordable C4 Corvette Suspension conversions for your car, visit http://www.classicedgedesigns.com

    Other vehicles:

    56 Chevy 2-door BelAir sedan
    56 Chevy 210 4-door sedan
    57 Chevy 210 4-door sedan
    1961 Willys CJ3B Jeep
    2001 Porsche Boxster S
    2003 Chevy Silverado 2500 HD Duramax

  6. #6
    Registered Member 55 Rescue Dog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rick_L View Post
    The selection of 16" tires is worse than 15" IMO.

    The tire diameter, width, and wheel offset determines the clearance - along with the front suspension/brake package, and the rear axle width. You can get a tire/wheel setup anywhere from 14" to 20" that will clear, as well as some in the same diameters that won't.

    I have my preferences. Why would you let your builder determine the wheels? Decide what you want, then figure out what exact tire size and wheel width/offset clears. You can get assistance with that part here and from your builder.
    Going off the tirerack choices for example, a 215/70-15 has 36 choices, and the 215/65-16 has 64 different tires.

  7. #7
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    What if I don't want a 215? You want selection of width vs. diameter (aspect ratio) and it's just not there for the 16" in the bigger widths.

  8. #8
    Registered Member 55 Rescue Dog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rick_L View Post
    What if I don't want a 215? You want selection of width vs. diameter (aspect ratio) and it's just not there for the 16" in the bigger widths.
    Yeah I know. Try and find a 255/60-15, or 275/60-15 which used be a popular size, and now there are only like 3 choices, which are not that exciting. I would love to find some sticky performance tires in those sizes.

  9. #9
    Registered Member 55 Rescue Dog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chevynut View Post
    For reference this is 17s (245/45-17 tires) on the front and 18s (295/35-18 tires) on the rear of my Nomad. The front has a 3" suspension drop and the rear about 2". I personally think that the bigger the wheel is, the lower the car should sit. A stock height car looks stupid with 20" wheels imo.

    20120325_0004.JPG
    No offence, but to me those tires look too short for the wheel opening size, no matter how wide they might be.

  10. #10
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    Cooper and BFG still have all the 15 inch sizes mentioned so far, in my 15 or so cars and tucks I use them all,

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