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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Greetings all,

I'm a recent join and have really been getting a ton of benefit from the knowledge base within this site, so I decided it's time to make a post on a topic that I'm struggling with... tire and wheel size.

My car is a '57 convertible that is in the middle of receiving a Ramjet 350, 700R4, CCI rack & pinion and SSB 4 wheel disc brakes. The goal is a very original looking car with all the benefits of a modernized drivetrain.

I've always been very picky about wheel/tire fitment, and what I'm wanting to do is put on a set of Cragar SS wheels for that retro classic look, but would like to upsize to larger rims or a combo that makes sense. The car will be stock ride height, so I'm thinking something in the neighborhood of 17x8 in the back with about a 28" tall tire (nice full wheelwells) and 17x7 in the front, with a 26" or so tire for a little stagger.

Question for the group is two-fold. First what does anyone think about staggering wheel size..say 16" front and 17" rear? Second part is I would be interested in any good fitment tips that you have proven out regarding size and backspacing. For example, the rear looks to me like a 17x8 will go in no problem with about 4" backspacing. The Cragars are 4-1/2" backspace so maybe a little close. Any thoughts on the topic would be much appreciated! Hope to have this car back on the road for this fall after having lived in a barn for 16 years and in my garage for 6 more! Thanks much!
 

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I noticed when I did my car, 57 2door hardtop , stock suspension, that the tire selection for a 16 inch rim is limited. There is a bigger selection in size but also brand with a 17 inch tire. I did 17 X 8 in back & 17 X 7 in front. I don't have it with me but if you want I can look at home & get the exact backspacing on the rims
Tommy
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
That would be great if you could post the backspacing you used. Also would be interested in what tires you used (size/brand) and if everything cleared fine with no bending of fender lips etc. Would love to see a pic if you have one as well. Thanks!:tu
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Hmmm...I don't see it. :confused0006:
 

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The set up on the car is 17 x 8 with 4 3/4 backspace ,255 /50/17 on the rear
The fronts are 17 x 7 with 4 backspace 225 / 55 /17 on the front.
Tires are BF Goodrich G-Force. I rolled the front inner fenders. The only issue is the front, I changed the front tires to 205 / 50 /17 & it is fine ,no rubbing. In the picture the car has the 225's on the front. Hope this helps
Tommy
 

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Nothing against you bigger wheel boys.....I just prefer the look of these cars with 15" wheels. I think the smaller wheels keep the classic look even if you go with a newer style of wheel.
You are not alone the way I see it 16s are for C20 & 30s, 20s work well on C60s and 24s belong on Mack trucks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Great feedback so far! Really appreciate the specific info and pics Tommy...good looking car. I hear you other guys too...really torn as to what to put on the car. Maybe 15's would be the way to go to keep the retro look. The bigger wheels look cool though.... :confused0006:

Would like to hear more opinions from all!
 

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My setup is stock rear & disc front...you have r&p front & rear disc witch will move the wheels outward so a different offset will be needed. 15 inch rims will give you more sidewall & that looks nice also. Good luck with your choice
Tommy
 

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If your choice is between 16" or 17", go with 17".

Your tire choices are limited with 16" tires (not wheels), and they seem to be dwindling.

On the other hand, 17" tires offer a lot of choices.

What I went with on mine is 17"x7"x4.5"b/s on the front, with 225/50/17 tires. 17"x8"x4.75"b/s on the rear, with 275/50/17 tires. My axle is a little narrower than stock (1.75").

For me, the 50 series tires get you away from that "rubber band" look that 40s or 45s have, but are still not as tall as truck tires, which will be 55 and up. Unfortunately 50 series are getting harder to find, but they are still sold.
 

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I went with 16" TTII's for my '55 hardtop.
16X8 in the back and 16x7 in the front. Both zero offset (4.5 BS rear, 4.0 BS front).

I was originally going to go with 15s but I wanted better tires. If you go with 15s, you pretty much have to get the BFG Radial T/As.

I went with Goodyear TripleTreds and I love these tires. I've had them on a couple of other cars. I'll get a set for my new Buick when it's ready for new tires as well.

I got 235/65R-16 for the rear and 215/65R-15 for the front. These are a perfect size for my taste. The rears are 28" and the fronts are 27".

I thought you might like this picture. I've gone the same engine route as you but I opted for a 6-speed manual (T56 Magnum wide ratio). I painted my Ram Jet engine Chevy Orange btw.



 

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Hi all, I see some of you are looking at the Foose Legends. I put those on my 56 last year in 17 & 18 and am really pleased with the look. Check out my profile for some pic's of the new wheels. They are a breeze to clean also as you can get your sponge in around all of the spokes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Thanks everyone for continuing to post ideas! BTW, nice garage there Roger1. Nice to see the Ramjet in your car as well, I think it's a great choice for a classic-retro look and looks good in Chevy orange. Interesting that you went with 16's...they look good and plenty of sidewall. I agree with Rick_L in that I don't really want the rubber band look. Thanks again.
 

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Thanks everyone for continuing to post ideas! BTW, nice garage there Roger1. Nice to see the Ramjet in your car as well, I think it's a great choice for a classic-retro look and looks good in Chevy orange. Interesting that you went with 16's...they look good and plenty of sidewall. I agree with Rick_L in that I don't really want the rubber band look. Thanks again.
Thanks.

I never have been a fan of the large diameter wheels on older cars. At the beginnings of my thoughts on a '55 project, I said I wouldn't ever consider anything but 15's. But the tire issue bothered me with 15's so I decided on a compromise and went to 16's. They don't stand out as looking that much larger and was able to get the tires that I really like (model and size). I intend to take long trips in this car.

Yea, I heavily considered an LS engine but it was the retro look of the Ramjet that won me over. Plus the torque curve on this engine was perfect for me. With that tranny and the 3.55 gears and 28" tires, I figure it will be at about 1,600 rpm at 70 mph in 6th gear. The Ramjet has about 350 ft-lbs of torque at this rpm according to the chart. That's more than an LS3, HT383, Fastburn 385 and ZZ4.
I am hoping for 25+ mpg on the highway.

Edit:
Oh and btw, thanks for the complement on my garage.
I made it into a magazine with it:
Designing New Garage

 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Oh man! That garage is awesome! I noticed the Coke machine, vintage map holder etc but WOW...what a building!

My wife and I have collected antiques across a broad range for many years, actually ran a business for about 10 years and have accumulated a big collection of lots of stuff including about 100 signs hanging in our garage & house. Nothing like that awesome Texaco building though! Very well done.

I chose the Ramjet for the very same reasons for our convertible. Plenty of HP (do you really need more than 350 on the street?) and tons of torque to move that heavy old car. I think 25 MPG is a no brainer, and probably can look for 27-28 on highway runs. I'm sure you noticed, but GM performance has some really good calculators in the instructions that came with the engine giving advice on how to target peak efficiency RPM. They cal for optimum highway cruising RPM at 1500-200, and advise toward the higher end on heavier cars. I'm going to shoot for about 1800 RPM at 75 MPH in overdrive.

Thanks again for the look at your awesome shop!
 

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The Cragars are 4-1/2" backspace so maybe a little close. Any thoughts on the topic would be much appreciated
Go to this website, it has Chevynut tire & wheel spreadsheet but also the website has allot more info available to you for your build.

Personally I have 17's on the front and 18's on the rear.

http://tri-5.chevyrides.com/rear_tire.php
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Great resource Bill! Much appreciated :tu
 
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