Story and Photos Mike Spicer
One of the most subjective choices many classic car owners will come across is choosing wheels and tires. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Improvements married with styles can be seen through the decades, but the fundamental relationship with this ancient technology stays the same.
Growing up the easiest way to make your car cool was to change the wheels and tires. The cars appearance would undergo a massive transformation and instantly be personalized. Not much has changed.
Many factors enter the equation (white walls, diameter, width, era correct, performance, spacers, rake, fender clearance, and raised white letters) as well as the choice being very personal. It might be something you saw in the past that struck a chord, its pleasing aesthetic firmly planted in the back of your mind as you envision of the “right” look for a car.
It’s easy to stay stock and go with the car’s original equipment. Many manufacturers offer sporty wheels and tires to enhance the look of their cars so you may have a few options. Same “Make” but a different era is a scenario that is quite common. Once you deviate from what was originally specified, you’re into an endless world of choices.
Some cars benefit from wheels and tires that were never meant to go on them. Creating a dramatic look of blending technologies is a common practice seen at every car show and a way to make your car stand out from the crowd.
Often it’s creative to mix and match different styles but you should keep in mind that if it’s not making your ride better or giving you some advantage it will become a chore as every mile passes. Style over function always loses.
Options today are vast. You can spend many hours/days/years spec’ing your wheel and tire combinations. Seeing and old photo or coming across something in your car journey is what it’s all about, the bottom line is that it makes you happy.