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Before & after going from smaller to larger wheels


64Rivvy
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I am thinking about going from the 16" wheels on my 64 now to 19 or 20" wheels.  I am currently rebuilding the suspension with all new rubber bushings, new monroe shocks, and replacing all of the body mounts with original style rubber as well.  I'm hoping that might balance out the harshness of larger wheels. 

 

Has anyone gone from 15 or 16" wheels up to 19 o r 20" and can give me their real world opinion of the difference in ride between the two?  I just really like the lowered hot rodded look of the larger wheels on these cars, but at the same time don't want it to ride like crap either.  I've heard 18" wheels are the best of both worlds with performance and still relatively soft ride but not sure they are big enough to make that much of a difference from 16" wheels on a car this big.  I understand that many people just don't like the bigger wheels, but I'm more interested in real world performance feedback versus debate on big versus stock wheels :)  Would appreciate any experience anyone has on this.

 

Thanks.

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Good move on the rebuilt suspension pieces, that will make any wheel / tire size ride better.     We've had 17" wheels and tires ride poorly, and 20" ride like a Caddy.   It really depends on the setup, the shocks, bushings, sway bars, and the alignment. 

 

Things to consider are the cost of tires, 19s seem to run higher than 18s.   Also consider that heavier wheels will affect braking and cornering, and bigger = heavier.   

 

Ultra High Performance tires are wonderful on exotics, but they can be pretty miserable on an old ride with larger wheels.     We've found that "less is more" with tires... a 18" or 20" SUV tire will likely provide all the performance your Riv can dish out, with much better wear and comfort than a 180 treadwear supercar tire.   

 

Just a few thoughts, hope they help supplement your research!

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Thanks.  That's an interesting point about the SUV tires.  I never would have thought about that.  I have also seen a lot of people do 18" on the front and 20" on the rear.  Not sure what the reason is for that but it seems to be common for many people with Electras, Wildcats, caddys and impalas going with larger wheels.  

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As you know, it's all a matter of taste.    Some dig the staggered sizes, others like the same size all around.   A 20" in the rear will add a little rake to the rear, making it crucial to have the car aligned after the new wheels and tires are installed.    The original alignment specs on lots of these old rides stood the spindle straight up and down for ease of parallel parking and low-speed steering, but that makes for twitchy steering on the highway.   Today's cars have several degrees of positive caster to give them straight-line tracking on the highway, even with wider radial tires.     Lifting the rear can negate positive caster up front, making a 0 degree car go negative, resulting in an unhappy driving experience.   See if you can find a good alignment guy that won't go 100% by the book and will work with you on what feels right.  

 

Just some more thoughts on the matter.   I don't claim to be the world's expert, just sharing experiences.  

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Those oversized. over glitzed wheels seem to overpower the continuity of the design. It tends to identify one's peer group rather than improve the car.

 

If an owned decides to sell their car it usually prompts the potential buy to ask if the "original" wheels are available.

 

In appraising an otherwise stock Riviera with aftermarket wheels, the appraisal would probably read "stock Riviera, minus wheels."

 

What if the suspension was rebuilt and the car rode well enough on original style rubber  to get $5,000 of 1960's money from a successful banker?

 

Bernie

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Here we go... He didn't ask about your opinion on what wheels size people think are most valued. He asked for real world feedback on a modification he wants.

64rivvy - I agree with getting an SUV style tire, I've always had a much better ride out of them and for usually a much better price point! I have 245-40-20 tires because it's a fairly common size. If you start going up a little in sidewall you start to get a little cheaper and it should in theory ride better but be careful - go to big and it's starts to look odd in my opinion.

Also don't let the naysayers bring you down.

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Cstang50,

What brand wheels and tires are you running there and did you have to use spacers to get them to clear? Any rubbing issues inner or outer? I'm thinking about something similar in gun metal gray or a boss 338 wheel like these below.

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they are the boss 304's i have disc brakes up front so it pushes them out 1/4" and in the rear im running a 1 inch spacer i wanted to run a 20x10 in the rear but they don't make these rims in that size, as for rubbing i only rub the finder when i have the car really low on sharp turns but at normal ride height  they don't at all 

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