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The original steering wheel was 18 inches, there is one member Mikey 55wagoncrazy that does modify the original steering wheel to a smaller diameter due to a tornado ripping through his area his has no internet for the next few days.
You could also fit later model GM steering wheels the spline should be the same.
Not sure when, or if Chevy ever changed the steering column spline size? I have a 2000 Chevy truck tilt column in my '39 Chev coupe and have tried every wheel from a '39 Chev to a '51 Pontiac, '52 Chev, and all fit perfect. Surprised the heck out of me they'd retain something that many decades.
 

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That's correct. GM basically used several spline counts over the years, but the two most common are 30 and 36. Here's a picture of the stock 55 steering wheel installed on the 67 Cadillac tilt-tele column I referenced in my previous reply on my 55 Nomad. The lever sticking out of the top of the horn cap (pointing to the 2:00 position) was used to "lock/unlock" the "telescopic" feature, and the lever just above the blinker is for the tilt. The steering wheel fit perfectly! MAN I miss that car!

Ed

Wheel Vehicle Automotive tire Light Speedometer
 

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🐔County, TN. 55 Bel Air Sport Coupe
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It's not the wheel but the column. The stock tri-5 column isn't "collapsible" like newer cars. Starting in the mid 1960's, all car manufacturers went to collapsible steering columns for safety. There are a lot of 60's, 70's and even later columns that can be retrofitted, and even aftermarket columns you can use, but I don't believe any of them are "plug-n-play". "Some" to "a lot" of engineering is needed to get them to fit.

I put a 67 Cadillac tilt-telescopic column in my 55 Nomad years ago and loved it. It took a lot of modifications and engineering, but with time, money and ingenuity, just about anything can be done.

Ed
Oh, OK, that's a whole other ballgame. I wonder if anyone ever cut a foot or so out of a stock shaft, had each end splined (long splines), and put a splined collar in between? Not sure how to keep it together, I suppose some kind of shear pins? I ask because I like my factory column exactly where it is with the seats I have in it, it just fits me perfect!
 

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I am early stages of setting up a '57 Bel Air sport coupe. It is a roller now, but will have a big block engine and a T400 with floor shifter. Right now, I assume it's the original steering column. It has some non-original steering wheel, I'd say 70s or 80s vintage. It functions. It is a non-power steering car. In case it matters for this, I am putting in bucket seats from a '68 Camaro. (I would say "swapping in", but right now, the interior is bare metal with no seats at all.)

I may add power steering, but I was thinking I'd try it without for a while to see if I felt like it was worth it.

So my question is, is there a better steering wheel that I could put in (also may use an Ididit/other column) that will work with or without power steering? I am mainly wondering if 15" is too small for non-power, or if 16" is too big for power. Plus any other factors I may be overlooking for this application.

Thanks!
Why not try the "Poor Man's Power Steering" modification by replacing the two bushings on the idler arm with two bearings.Kits are available from most TriFive suppliers. Mutton Hollow Chevy has the kit.

You can search the Archives here, there are plenty of Posts on the subject.
 

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I am early stages of setting up a '57 Bel Air sport coupe. It is a roller now, but will have a big block engine and a T400 with floor shifter. Right now, I assume it's the original steering column. It has some non-original steering wheel, I'd say 70s or 80s vintage. It functions. It is a non-power steering car. In case it matters for this, I am putting in bucket seats from a '68 Camaro. (I would say "swapping in", but right now, the interior is bare metal with no seats at all.)

I may add power steering, but I was thinking I'd try it without for a while to see if I felt like it was worth it.

So my question is, is there a better steering wheel that I could put in (also may use an Ididit/other column) that will work with or without power steering? I am mainly wondering if 15" is too small for non-power, or if 16" is too big for power. Plus any other factors I may be overlooking for this application.

Thanks!
i can tell you if i had an auto, i may have stuck with no PS, and my 13" wheel. i found that it wasnt super enjoyable to drive my 5 speed with manual steering. Just too much effort for low speed turns. Not to say i cant chew bubble gum and walk at the same time, but my engine likes to buck a little at low speeds too. i also like the look of my wheel enough that i didnt want to swap it out for a bigger one.
i do feel like PS was one of the best things i have done to my car though.
 

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Discussion Starter · #28 ·
Thanks for all replies. They are helpful. Thinking 16" may be a good compromise size in case I add PS later. Might consider the "poor man's PS". Mutton Hollow is offline right now so I can't find the parts there. That is where I got all-new steering parts that I am planning to put in the car. I bought them to put in the 210 but will put them in the hardtop instead. Seems like opinions are mixed on it, but might be worth trying since I need to replace the bushings anyway.
 

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I pulled my 18" wheel and went to a 16" wheel thinking it was a good compromise. I ran the 16" for one driving season, and it was OK, but I could definitely notice the extra effort when driving with it.
So I found a nice restored 18" wheel at our April swap meet, and it was priced great at $100. I installed it on my car, but weather being very wet, I didn't get any driving time until recently. I sure like the larger 18" wheel a lot over the 16" I had. I think it looks great, and it turns slow turns so much easier.
 

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A ‘59 Chevy Impala steering wheel w/chrome horn ring is best choice in my opinion. Yes it’s big but looks so cool. There is plenty of room in the seat so no issue with belly dragging LOL.

The best steering wheel ever put in a car.
 

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1955 Chevrolet Bel Air Sedan
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I am early stages of setting up a '57 Bel Air sport coupe. It is a roller now, but will have a big block engine and a T400 with floor shifter. Right now, I assume it's the original steering column. It has some non-original steering wheel, I'd say 70s or 80s vintage. It functions. It is a non-power steering car. In case it matters for this, I am putting in bucket seats from a '68 Camaro. (I would say "swapping in", but right now, the interior is bare metal with no seats at all.)

I may add power steering, but I was thinking I'd try it without for a while to see if I felt like it was worth it.

So my question is, is there a better steering wheel that I could put in (also may use an Ididit/other column) that will work with or without power steering? I am mainly wondering if 15" is too small for non-power, or if 16" is too big for power. Plus any other factors I may be overlooking for this application.

Thanks!
I went with a aftermarket repop 16" on my 55, so that I could use my original horn ring. The 15" size is to small and will not let you use an original horn ring, so you have to use the China made horn ring that comes with the steering wheel. I don't know if it work the same way for a 57, but someone her will know, and let you know if it works the same way on a 57. If youe not going for an original look, this won't matter to you. Going from the 18" to a 16" did not make a difference with my 71 year old arms.
 
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