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17x8in wheels on a '64 Riviera

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Howdy,

I've found a set of 17in wheels locally for cheap that I think are 17x8 as per the manufactures website and the size of tires currently mounted. Would they fit under the front end of a '64 Riviera if I kept them at 3-3/8in backspacing?

Thanks,

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The key word in your question is "under". 8" wheels will fit on the front of your '64 with stock springs. These cars have what I call a nose high condition, even with the weight of a stock nailhead. Stock springs allow plenty of clearance for 8" wheels as the front tire is not up into the wheelwell or even to the fender lip. But when you say "under the front end" I no longer think stock height. I have my '63 bagged and 17x7's in the front. With the front bags fully inflated I am almost stock height. I can drive it with the springs down about 3" from stock, but I am running a tall tire. Anything lower than that and it will rub, even with some slight clearancing of the front fender lips. Your V6 may take enough weight off the front so as this will not be an issue, but I am not sure. Removing that much weight off the nose, you may have to go to a lowered spring just to get to stock height. Depends on the look you want. Just my two cents worth, or maybe less in today's market.

Steve Owens

Las Vegas (me)

Oklahoma City (my rides)

'63 Riviera

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Well I am planning on going with an AirRide shockwave system eventually but I don't plan on driving it in the "down" position. Right now I have the way overchopped front springs that came on the car that will go back on it to replace the H2 '65 Gran Sport springs currently on the front because the thing has close to the ground clearance of my 99 Z71 right now with the empty V6 in the nose. I like wide tires and would love to get a set of 18x8 or 17x8in wheels under the front with like a 1.5-2in drop from stock in the nose but I'm not cutting anything up to do it. I passed on the wheels anyway but its good to know.

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Steelman

i have a totally stock 63 Riv. the wheels on your car are exactly what i have been looking for. do you have stock hubs on the front, how did you address the rivets that hold the drums on? do you mind sharring the wheel and tire manufacturer. Are you in the ROA club?

appreciate any help

Pat

ROA 7336

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Pat, glad you like the wheels. I saw these on a Cadillac and knew then I had to have a set. I ordered everything from Newstalgia wheel in Chatanooga. They had a deal that if you bought four wheels and tires, mounting, balancing and shipping are free. I am very happy with these, but there were a few issues that had to be addressed. I will go through them here, and maybe save you some trouble.

First, the wheels are Billet Specialties GTP-47, 17x7 in the front and 17x8 in the rear. Tires are Goodyear 235/55R17 and 255/55R17. These were a little expensive, but they were what I wanted. I do still have the stock aluminum drums on the front for now. These wheels have a dual bolt pattern, so the second pattern holes line up fairly well with the stock rivets. I had to grind the upper third of the rivets flush with the drums to get the wheels to seat properly.

Now, for the real issues. If you order wheels from anybody, tell them they are for an early Riviera, not a Chevy pickup. Wheel suppliers assume that all 5x5 bolt patterns are for Chevy pickups. The standard size center hole for these wheels is 3 1/8", which works great for pickups, but not for us. We need a 3 3/8" center hole to clear the axles and hubs. This isn't a problem as these wheels are custom built to order (you won't find a set on the shelf) and they can cut whatever size center hole you need when they build them. As this is my first Riviera, I didn't know this at the time.

The next issue is lug nuts. You cannot buy a 1/2"-20 left hand lug nut to fit these wheels. Anywhere. You either have to change out the driver side wheel studs or have lug nuts custom made. I had some made. I bought 10 7/16 lug nuts to fit the wheels and redrilled and retapped them to fit. Kind of a pain, but I wanted the wheels.

I hope I haven't discouraged you, as these wheels do look good on a Riv, just wanted to give you the benefit not making the same mistakes I made. After all, that is what this forum is all about. If you still need more info, let me know.

Steve Owens

Las Vegas (me)

Oklahoma City (my rides)

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Just thinking out loud here, but I'm wondering if just changing the bolt pattern size to something more conventional would be easier. It seems that the Riv's pattern is exotic enough that when I find a wheel I like the manufacturer doesn't make them with this rather peculiar pattern.

Cheers,

-Chaz

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Changing the bolt pattern to accomdate a wheel you like won't solve your problem. Most all wheels built now days are designed for front wheel drive cars hence the offset of the wheel is your bigger problem. You might try some adapters that would move the face of the bolt circle out to where the positive offset FWD wheels might work and see if that's feasible. A lot of 1/2 ton chevy trucks use the same bolt pattern, 5 x 5", as the Riviera.

There are lots of Rivs out there using nice wheels on the stock drums/bolt pattern. Find one you like, call the manufacturer, and asked that a wheel be built to your specs. I know a couple of guys who have done that and are very happy.

Ed

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@RivNut: Sound enough advice and thank you, though my thinking is that a more common bolt pattern would broaden the selection I (or whoever) has for what's available. The original pattern on the Riv is limiting my choices or increasing cost.

Personally I'd never put the FWD style wheels on a car like this, but that's just me.

@Steelman: I love the way the rear wheels fill out your wheel well on the outside. I was wondering how close your wheel/tire comes to the frame along the inside of the well? Would there be room to go to a 275 tire? What's the offset on your wheels (front & back)?

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Guys,

No real need to re-invent the wheel! (pun intented!) I used an 1/4 aluminum spacer with a 3 3/8th inch center hole. The 1/4 inch spacer allows for the stock rivets to be left as is, I just drilled the spacer to match the rivet locations. Once the center hole issue is overcome, you can use most any wheel with a 5x5 pattern and the backspacing you want!

HTH,

Tim

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The car in the link runs 17 x 8 rims on the stock brake drums with no spacers. Because most all of these wheels are cut from a solid piece of billet aluminum you can have the wheel you want created. I personally know the owner of this car. He had a tire shop do a lot of measuring and told him what backspacing, offset, etc. he'd need to get his wheel well filled and not have any rub anywhere. The wheel company was very accomodating and machined them to his specs.

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Ed is right about getting the wheels made. These manufacturers will work with you to see that your needs are met. On the Newstalgia order form there is place to indicate your center hole size needed. I didn't have ready access to my car when I ordered wheels and made a mistake when I ordered them. Although it was my mistake, Newstalgia directed me to a machine shop to correct this issue and then paid the shop to fix my mistake. All custom ordering does is imake you wait while your wheels are made. Pick a style you like and call a reputable dealer or the manufacturer. Newstalgia.com has over 100 different patterns and styles that fit the Riv. Lack of selection is really not an issue.

A 275/60/17 tire is one inch taller and 3/4 of an inch wider than the 255 I went with. My tire does just what you say, it fills up the well. I went with the standard 3 5/8 backspacing on both front and rear for my wheels. I have about 1/2" of clearance outside and about 1 1/2" inside when lowered. Greater backspacing will allow a larger tire such as a 275 to center in the well with adequate clearance.

Tim's use of a spacer will allow a set of off the shelf wheels to work, and I considered this option. just find a set with greater backspacing to offset for this additional spacer.

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Thanks for the replies Steve & Ed.

I'm actually wanting to go slightly lower on the sidewall than yours [steve]. Maybe as low as a 40, but no higher than a 50 series. Thanks to you it also looks safe to get a 10 inch wheel back there. The fronts will definitely be a lower profile (40 or 45) to clear the steering requirements, and sporting wheels with much less width of course. Probably right in line with your size actually (just slightly less on the walls is all).

Does the air suspension mess with the camber on the front wheels at all? I'm wanting to convert to these and disc brakes.

Thanks again all,

-Chaz

Edited by CyberGolem (see edit history)

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Go to newstalgiawheel.com There is a section in there for tires. Pick a manufacturer, and you get a chart for overall diameters as will as section widths. Very helpful in determining what tire will fit the wells. A very good selection of wheels, too.

I haven't converted mine to discs yet, but do a forum search. This has been discussed many times. Good luck.

Newstalgia Wheel, American Racing Wheels, Boyd Coddington Wheels, Billet Vintiques, Billet Specialties, Motorcycle wheels, Colorado Custom Wheels, Cragar Wheels, Bonspeed Wheels, Foose Wheels, Radir Wheels, TQ Chrome

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Chaz, one other thing to consider before you go putting a 275 tire and a 10" wheel on the back is the exhaust system. With the rear bags on my car, the exhaust runs outside the rear frame rails in the wheel well. You need to be sure you have room for tail pipes inside the frame rails and still allow for suspension travel. Otherwise, you end up exiting the exhaust out in front of the rear tire. X frames make for complicated exhaust issues. Again, good luck.

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Good points, thank you.

I already went to a website that has a calculator but I'll try your recommendation since there's always a chance for error. As it sits, the 10" wheel would be a no-go for the 275/50 combo. 9" wouldn't be a bad compromise, but first to figure out this exhaust issue.

Let the dominoes effect begin!

Cheers,

-Chaz

Edited by CyberGolem (see edit history)

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Thread revival !! Just read it all and my head hurts a little . I'm putting a Jamco 3" drop on my '65 riv and can get some nice 17" rims but... they are only available in 17 X 9 with a -8 offset.

So , with the dropped suspension , am I as screwed as I think I am?

Lie to me !

No, tell me the truth, I can take it..

Edited by nickdaytona (see edit history)

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You can make this work...if you never plan to turn a corner. With that much offset, I don't think you will ever get them in the wheelwell in the rear, dropped or not. And I think you would have a similar problem in the front. The wheel openings are pretty big, but the tire might hit the front or back of the wheel opening when you try to turn. This will almost be like running another stock size tire outside of the one on the car now. My opinion is that you are indeed as screwed as you thought.

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Well, aesthetics aside the technical hurdle that Steel mentioned should be addressed first. I'm personally backing off the idea of a 275 and scaling back to 255's for the rear.

-Chaz

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Nick, not sure where you are shopping, but it must be the wrong place. You wrote that you read the all of the above posts when you revived this thread, but you must have missed some of it. Check out newstalgiawheel.com. Billet Specialties, Foose, Boyds, Boze, and Schott wheels just to name a few. Hundreds of styles to fit the Riviera, without spending $900 each. You can spend that much, but it is far from the starting price. My custom made Billet Specialties wheels were only $375 each. Check them out.

Newstalgia Wheel, American Racing Wheels, Boyd Coddington Wheels, Billet Vintiques, Colorado Custom Wheels, Cragar Wheels, Bonspeed Wheels, Foose Wheels, Radir Wheels, TQ Chrome

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Nick, not sure where you are shopping, but it must be the wrong place. You wrote that you read the all of the above posts when you revived this thread, but you must have missed some of it. Check out newstalgiawheel.com. Billet Specialties, Foose, Boyds, Boze, and Schott wheels just to name a few. Hundreds of styles to fit the Riviera, without spending $900 each. You can spend that much, but it is far from the starting price. My custom made Billet Specialties wheels were only $375 each. Check them out.

Newstalgia Wheel, American Racing Wheels, Boyd Coddington Wheels, Billet Vintiques, Colorado Custom Wheels, Cragar Wheels, Bonspeed Wheels, Foose Wheels, Radir Wheels, TQ Chrome

Thanks, Steve ! Nice wheels !! I was looking at the "Riviera 17" and it was over $900 a wheel . I will be happily embarrassed if it turns out to be for a set . Do your 17 X 7's fit alright for steering with the 3" drop?, because thats what I'll be running.

Edited by nickdaytona (see edit history)

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You should have no issues with a 7" wheel and a 3" drop. At full up, mine has about a 3" drop and I still have a minor rub at full lock in a parking lot. No issues at all on the road. Overall tire diameter will make a difference here, too. I need to do a little more on the front of mine when it warms up a little. 10" of snow so far today, and record lows a predicted. Minnesota can keep this weather, I don't want it anymore.

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I'm with you there, Steve. I'm the the west end of lake Ontario in Hamilton and we are about to get 16-20 inches over the next 2 days . At $20 a driveway i should be able to get a new set of rims in just over 24 hours ;-) .

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