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Pros and cons of steel wheels versus wire wheels

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  • Pros and cons of steel wheels versus wire wheels

    My 59 currently has American Racing mag wheels and while they look very cool, i don't feel like they go with a thunderbird. Squarebirds and those that followed were elegant and classy cars, not sporty like the mags reflect. So i want to change them to either steel wheels with stock hubcaps or wire hubcaps, or wire wheels. Any opinions or comments of which way to go? I'm more concerned with the ride and the functionality than price. For example, do steel wheels require a tube like wire wheels do? And is that good or bad? does one ride better than the other? That sort of thing. Your thoughts and opinions are much appreciated.

  • #2
    I prefer the look of 14" rims and the factory hubcaps to wire wheels. Also with rims you do not need inner tubes. Inner tubes may be fine but it's just one more point of failure. I don't like to complicate things. Just my opinion.

    John Pizzi - Squarebirds Administrator

    Thunderbird Registry #36223 856-779-9695


    • #3
      I ran the KH wire reproductions on mine. They were supposed to be tubeless. The center area had a thick coat
      of urethane and a rim strip. They still leaked. I wound up running tubes for radial tires. I still had a A LOT of problems.
      Many many MANY flat tires.

      They look cool but they were a P I T A !! And cleaning em. I used my "official" Harley spoke wheel cleaning brush.
      Still, very time consuming.
      When I 1st converted to disc brakes, I was told I needed 15" wheels. Not the case. I have 14X6" whls off a 70'
      Mustang on it now.
      I was SOOOOOOOOO happy to get rid of those sick things. One of the guys in the TB club bought em. His car was a
      garage queen. Local events only. I was driving mine all over at the time.

      I like my wheels & caps, but I need new tires. I'm thinking of chrome wheels (with my center caps, or the 56 style)
      Just to change things up a little. I'd like to run 225 70R14 with a thin white wall w/o spending $300 ea

      I do have it entered in a Car Show this weekend. I might actually wash it. It has been 2 yrs.
      (Altamont Cruisers - Livermore Ca - Sun 9/25)


      • #4
        This is what I'm running now
        Attached Files


        • #5
          Unless something new has come out, the 225 is not available in the 14". Diamondback did create them for their process, but they are the 300. tires


          • #6
            You're right. Silvertown Radials are (were?) avai in 2257014's
            To me, over $300 for a BFG TA throwback is just crazy. I'd just put regular
            TA's on it and call it a day.
            I could probl make due with 215 75R14's. Those are avai in Uniroyal Tigerpaw
            and the Hankook Kinergy (Not crazy about that) but then only a few tires are
            made in the good ol' US of A anymore.
            Going to 15" wheels would make my life much simpler.
            I can get these Hankook's for about $90 ea thru our tire source
            Attached Files