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I used the Percy's Wheelrite fitment tool to see what I could squeeze into the stock rear wheel wells of my 63 hardtop. For those of you who have checked out the wheel fitment threads before, there are no real surprises here:


15 x 7 with 4.5" backspace, or 15 x 8" with 5" backspace seem like the best bet, and there is a limited selection of wheels out there that fit the bill. As far as tires go, on my car I would not go wider than 225s. I have 215s in there now. The limiting factor seems to be the leaf spring, and it is slightly closer on the passenger side than the driver side.




A couple of criticisms of the Wheelrite tool: for what they charge for it new, it should be more rigid, especially at the main right angle. Also, the entire profile of the tire must be formed with the wire, and that is extremely hard to do accurately, without having the tire there to bend it around. Still, it beats the heck out of guessing.
 

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Agree with you on 225 being the max "safe" tire. I have 225/60R15s on mine right now w/ 15x7 and 4.5 BS, and if I have weight in the car, the one side will lightly kiss the outer wheelhouse on turns. The other side would fit a 235, no problem. Seems like the rear axle on these cars seldom center both tires in the wheelhouse perfectly.
 

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I'd have to agree with the 225 being the best size for 15" wheels. If your going with a 16" wheel you can go with a 235, and a 17" wheel will allow a 245. The best I can figure is that with the larger wheel there is less sidewall buldge, which in turn allows for a wider tread patch.
This is also dependent on the brand of tire, since thay all seem to be a little different.
 

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What size of MT slicks can you stuff in if I use 8 x 3.5 back spacing, is there any chance?
 

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What size of MT slicks can you stuff in if I use 8 x 3.5 back spacing, is there any chance?
They'd probably fit if you put the butt end of the car about 12" in the air. :turn:

I'm going to go out on a limb and say absolutely no chance whatsoever. I don't think the wheel lip will even clear the fender with those wheel dimensions, let alone a mounted tire.
 

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When you say there is only a limited selection of wheels that fit, what do you mean? I hear a lot of people say "only so and so backspace is available" but most wheel vendors will make you whatever you need to fit if it's physically possible. I just had a set of Billet Specialties rims made to exactly the specs I quoted for 17's & 18's. If you buy wheels from a local store or whatever, they may only carry certain sizes and backspace options in stock. Go directly to the manufacturer and you can usually get whatever you need made.
 

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I had Centerline make mine with the width & backspacing combo I wanted. It was easy and not terribly expensive either. I did the entire thing from the store on their website.
 

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When you say there is only a limited selection of wheels that fit, what do you mean? I hear a lot of people say "only so and so backspace is available" but most wheel vendors will make you whatever you need to fit if it's physically possible. I just had a set of Billet Specialties rims made to exactly the specs I quoted for 17's & 18's. If you buy wheels from a local store or whatever, they may only carry certain sizes and backspace options in stock. Go directly to the manufacturer and you can usually get whatever you need made.
Totally depends on the method on how the wheel is made. True custom billet wheels can usually be made in any backspacing combo you want. Some wheels have limitations being maybe a cast center being welded into universal hoops. Seems a few of the american racing wheels have limitations. Just depends on the manufacturer. Not to mention how much do you wanna spend?
Tim
 

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Discussion Starter #9
When you say there is only a limited selection of wheels that fit, what do you mean? I hear a lot of people say "only so and so backspace is available" but most wheel vendors will make you whatever you need to fit if it's physically possible. I just had a set of Billet Specialties rims made to exactly the specs I quoted for 17's & 18's. If you buy wheels from a local store or whatever, they may only carry certain sizes and backspace options in stock. Go directly to the manufacturer and you can usually get whatever you need made.
Admittedly, when I look at wheels, it's mostly American Racing I'm thinking of, and they are very limited, even in their custom backspacing. The whole 'big' (over 16") billet wheel look is not my thing. It seems like in a 17" or larger billet wheel, almost any backspacing combo is possible.
 

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These WheelRite tools are junk,you would think for $100+ it would be better quality.I had one for a few days and sent it back.Easy to make something that would work.Get some stir sticks and some allthread and make your own.
 

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Hey,
I found a link on another Nova website that has some good wheel info on it. It covers different years, tire sizes, tubbed, mini tubbed, stock etc.....
Go to www.JollyRodder.com, at the top you should see a section called chevyII tire/wheel fitment, click and just scroll down to your year.:yes:
 

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If you can get them in 17 x 7 with 4.5" backspacing, then more than likely, yes.


17x7 with 4.75 backspacing and 215/60R17 lowered 2" in the rear and has NEVER rubbed anywhere anytime. I have had 4.5 backspace on the car once too and it fit ok with a 225/45R17 Nitto 450.
 

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Discussion Starter #15


17x7 with 4.75 backspacing and 215/60R17 lowered 2" in the rear and has NEVER rubbed anywhere anytime. I have had 4.5 backspace on the car once too and it fit ok with a 225/45R17 Nitto 450.
That makes sense. 4.75 should fit with a 215. The other advantage of 17s is that the smaller sidewall will tend to rub less.Did the 225 ever rub with 4.5 backspace?
 

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These WheelRite tools are junk,you would think for $100+ it would be better quality.I had one for a few days and sent it back.Easy to make something that would work.Get some stir sticks and some allthread and make your own.
I wouldn't call them junk since the basic idea is sound, but I agree that they are making a huge margin at that price. It can't possibly cost that much to produce them.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
On the basis of the measurements I took, I bought American Racing Salt Flat Specials, 15 x 7 with 4.25 backspacing in front, with a 195/60/15 tire in front, and a 15 x 8 with 5 inch backspacing in back and a 225/60/15 tire. I haven't done the front end alignment, or driven the car yet, but clearance seems good, front and rear. In the front I have the zero offset CPP brake kit. The 15 x 8 is not a commonly used size, but if you're looking at Salt Flats, or some Centerline wheels, I think it'll work on most first and second gens with stock rears. Stock (new MOOG) springs in front, and wagon monoleafs in the back.
 

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I just finished swapping my 4 lug rear end out of my 63 SS to 5 lug rear out of a 66. I was able to put some steel 14"x7" 4.5" bs with 245/60/14 with no rubbing. I do have air shocks on the rear so it's kind of like cheating. I'm happy with how it turned out.
 
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