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  #1  
Old 07-26-2008, 03:44 AM
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Default '59 Tbird Wheels/Rims

In looking for wheels/rims for '59 Tbirds what are the measurements one has to have? 14" x 5.5? What about backspacing? What size is the standard rim that came on our '59 Birds from the factory?

I am thinking of seeing if I can find a nice set of mag wheels/rims to really set Rose off. Chrome, powdered, aluminum? Which way to go? I gather that 14" mag type wheels/rims are not easy to come by. I guess they are to small these days. I know they have to be 14" unless I change them out to 15", which I dont want to do now. But in searching for some fancy rims, what other figures must I know about to make sure I get a set that will fit on my Bird? What is the proper lug arrangement? I know there are 5 lugs, but I understand there are different patterns..

Any information and recommendations is appreciated.
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  #2  
Old 07-26-2008, 08:25 AM
protourbird protourbird is offline
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Ray,
The last I checked Cragar still made the 14X6 SS wheels. They are a universal lug pattern but your bolt circle is 4.5" and there may still be some old inventory out there that are direct bolt pattern. In a 14X6 you don't need to be concerned with back spacing because they are all pretty much 0 offset. Lug nuts are 1/2-20.
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  #3  
Old 07-26-2008, 09:35 AM
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My most personally opinion, is that old cars nearly all the time looks better with small wheels and a lot of rubber on the tires. It conserve the ´50-´60-feeling better than big rims. 15 inch is my maximum.
I think steelwheels with some custom hubcap most of the times beats Alloy wheels.
I have T-bird ´63 De Luxe hubcap, and don´t think I will ever thange them. They are very 3-D compair to the original ´58.
But I might paint the wheel in another colour than black in order to get a little coloured ring in betwee the hub and the tire. And I will change these "Made in Costa Rica tires" as soon as posible to real white wall tires.
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  #4  
Old 07-28-2008, 07:09 PM
RustyNCa RustyNCa is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by protourbird View Post
Ray,
The last I checked Cragar still made the 14X6 SS wheels. They are a universal lug pattern but your bolt circle is 4.5" and there may still be some old inventory out there that are direct bolt pattern. In a 14X6 you don't need to be concerned with back spacing because they are all pretty much 0 offset. Lug nuts are 1/2-20.
When I got my set of wheels made for the 65, I learned there are alot of companies out there making 15 and 14 wheels.

What I did learn is that if you are wanting to up the tire size much you need at least a 7" rim from what I was told.

Here is a photo of chrome moonies on white walls for you. You are looking at 15x8 rims in the rear, 15x7 front with 255x60x15 rear and 245x60x15 front



And a link to more pics I took of it. Didn't work for me but...

Oh, and the rims ran me, $100 each, the tires, way more

http://s103.photobucket.com/albums/m...8TBird/WWalls/
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  #5  
Old 07-28-2008, 08:28 PM
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Default '59 Tbird Wheels/Rims

Thanks Rusty, for the information. Yes I found the Crager 260 61614 listed. It says its measurements are 14"x6" Bolt Circle 5x 4.5, 4-3, 4",5" I dont know what the 4-3 and the 4",5" means. Rear Spacing 3-3/8". American Racing also has a 14"x6".

A problem might be this. I thought my mechanic friend said my rims were 14"x5.5"... I guess the only way to find out for sure is to unmount my spare and take a measurement.

Thanks for the pictures also! I like the moonies..
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  #6  
Old 07-28-2008, 10:09 PM
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Hi Ray, I dont know if you are into wires or not but Penelope has 100 spoke 16 inch LA Wires that have 100mm backspacing with no rubbing issues anywhere. American Classic 215/70/16 complete the package and the ride is fabulous.

http://s285.photobucket.com/albums/l...t=P1000782.jpg

Personally I love the look of chrome and wire, it just suits the era. The other car in the background also has wires, it is my son's Bel Air and they look great on her too.

Regards
Bill
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  #7  
Old 07-28-2008, 10:27 PM
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Default '59 Tbird Wheels/Rims

Hi Bill,

Thanks for the information on the wire wheels. That is what I took off this Bird after I got her. Mine were rusty and not in the best of shape. They also had some kind of wierd lug nut arrangement. In fact, we had a hard time getting them off even with an electric sprocket tool. (Thats probably not the right word for it!) But, eventually, we got them off. I doubt that I will put wire wheels back on her, though they look nice. I dont want to spend the rest of my life cleaning them. I guess I could get the wheel covers with the wires in them. But unlike Bart, I dont have a dishwasher to throw them into to clean them!

I think I am going to put this project on the back burner and go on and get some other things fixed on this Bird. I have a power window problem on the drivers side that has cropped up now. It wont come down. I still have a drivers side power seat problem that I would like to get fixed. There is also the radio that does not work. And there are the fuel and temp gauges that needs to be calibrated. That is about all this Bird needs in the way of fixing, except for a new interior and paint job. And the bumpers re-chromed. That should keep me busy for awhile.
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  #8  
Old 07-29-2008, 12:01 AM
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Those 100 spokes with wide whites look pretty sharp.

Do some searching here for wheels and tires, lots of info. The dimensions can get confusing, back spacing and offset are hard to correlate because the wheel width spec is the inside the wheel flanges, not the outside. If you need help sorting through it, let me know.

I've got 17" x 8" on mine. I agree that these cars look better with more tire than less. That's why I went with 55 series tires even at 17" and stayed away from the 18"-20" wheels. I think it's a good balance, but others will surely disagree.

Actually, if you take the original 14" wheel and add the two 2 1/4" white walls most cars had, visually you get 18 1/2" of 'brightness', either shiny chrome or bright whitewall. So my 17" of polished aluminum is pretty close.

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  #9  
Old 07-29-2008, 12:55 AM
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Default '59 Tbird Wheels/Rims

Hi Doug!

Thanks for the input. A problem I have is that when I replaced those beat up, rusty wire 14" rims, I went to a tire shop and told them I wanted 14" rims for my '59 Tbird. They came up with five of them from their stockpile of rims. They cleaned them and painted them black for me. They only cost me $10 each.

They said they were Ford rims, but I have since been told that they are not. They are slotted, for one thing. They are not solid, but have those elongated oval openings in them. I have been told they are Chevy or GM rims. I have no idea for sure if they are 14"x5.5" or 14"x6". I think I recall being told they were 14"x5.5". So one thing for sure is they are not the original rims that should have been on this Bird.

Down the road, when I want to address this again, I probably should take them to a company who deals in selling rims, let them pull the spare tire off, take measurements on what I have, and let them make the decision regarding what I need in new rims, and the fancy style that will fit. That way, it is their problem if they get the wrong ones. I want a really nice looking set of rims that will fit on this Bird. They dont have to be chromed. If I order a set and go to put them on and find they dont fit, I have been told that once the tire goes on the rim, they will not take the rims back if they are the wrong type.

I have been following all the discussion about disc brakes, thinking I might go that route also. However, my tires are 14's and pretty new. In fact the spare is brand new. If I were to go to 15's, or up, I would not only have to replace those 14's drums, but my tires also. Then there is the problem of what equipment would have to be added, or changed out to make disc brakes work. And then there is the problem of my front sway bar. Would it be in the way and have to be changed out?

My Bird has very good braking now with the brakes that came on it, since I had a complete and thorough brake job on it and they found and replaced all the parts that were defective or bad on it. I have a nearly completely new brake system now. So this is something I should forget about for the time being.

As I said, I think I am going to concentrate on getting other things done with my Bird. Then get into that at a later date. I just hope I dont lose those cheapy propeller wheel covers I have on it now. I was surprised to see those propellers are just held on by metal screws and two of them had come off already.

Thanks for the offer of help. It is always much appreciated.
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