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  1. #1
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    Default Normal Rims for C1 62

    I have been to a car show a while back and saw someone that had normal size tires on his car and was still able to put his original hub caps on the rims. Does anyone know what kind of rims I could use? I just really do not like the look, or performance of the skinny biply tires, but I really like the look of the hubcaps. I have called some local tire shops, but they dont go back far enough to give me a good enough answer. So I thought that I would pose the questions the professional car owners here. Any help would be appreciated.

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    Administrator Tom Bryant's Avatar
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    Welcome to the CAC.

    Several of the aftermarket wheel companies make steel wheels for early Corvettes with the unique wheel cover retaining dimples on the outer rim edge. Wheelsmith made a set for one of the guys in the SACC that were 15x6 with a 3.5inch backspacing. I think he was running a 205/70R15 wide white radial without any clearance problems and the extra offset pushed the tire out into the wheelwell for a nicer look. I have also seen similar wheels with 215/65R15 tires in blackwall. A 205/75R15 would be about the most popular radial used on these cars and you could stay with a 5" rim width if you wanted.

    Tom
    NCRS 1360.............SACC 2082.............C1 Registry..............L81 Registry
    1959 Chevrolet Corvette 1981 Chevrolet Corvette , 350 L81 automatic Frost Beige

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    Default Normal Rims

    Thanks for the info. I just need some clarification though if you dont mind. Am I correct in assuming that I cannot put regular radials on my old original vette rims?

    Also, you noted that the rims would be 15X6, isnt that the same size? How could you put a bigger tire on those size rims? What is it that you are referring to when you reference the 3.5" back spacing?

    Thanks again for the help. I am new to the world of cars in that I really have never been too mechanically inclined.

    Warren

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    Administrator Tom Bryant's Avatar
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    Hi Warren,

    I have heard numerous stories of wheel covers coming off of original rims when radials were used. It is said that the wheels flex under the greater side loads that radials create. The original wheel width was 5 inches for the standard wheel as measured between the inner rim edge where the tire bead seats. A slightly wider rim will give you more room to mount a modern tire and be within it's designed rim width. If you go on any tire manufacturer's site and look up the tire size you are planning on using you will find all of the tire specs listed including the designed rim width for that size. For example a 205/70R15 has a recommended rim width of 5.0-7.0 inches with 5 being the narrowest and 7 being the widest wheel you would want to use.

    Backspacing is measured by laying a wheel on it's face and laying a straight edge or yardstick across the back of the wheel only, not the tire. Then you measure down from that to the back side of the wheel center that is in contact with the hub when the wheel is mounted on the car. A stock solid axle 5 inch wheel measures 3.75 inches. Backspacing determines where the wheel sits in the opening. The greater the backspacing the closer to the frame the wheel will be. For example an original Corvette wheel has a 3.75 inch backspacing. Going to a 3.5 inch backspacing moves the wheel out away from the frame 1/4 inch . Ordering the right backspacing on custom wheels assures that the tire will be centered in the opening and not rub on the inside or outside.

    The 15x6 wheels mentioned above were set out 1/4 inch to compensate for the added width and to close the gap up some between the tire and body for a nicer appearance. I'm glad someone else has done the math on this and is satisfied with the results. That makes it a lot easier for those of us looking to do the same. I'll be using this 15x6 with 3.5 backspacing size with stock wheelcovers when I get my '59 back on the road.

    Tom
    1959 Chevrolet Corvette 1981 Chevrolet Corvette , 350 L81 automatic Frost Beige

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    Member o2bnkc's Avatar
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    Hmmmm, I ran Michelin radials on mine with no problem.
    A Proud U.S. Navy Veteran

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