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Buick Rallye Wheels


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I found a Bugle article (June 2002) written by James Brothers, BCA #27388. It is about how to identify Buick Wheels (1964 through 1987 RWD).  I hope I'm not breaking any copyright laws for posting this, but there is a summary paragraph that I will recreate here word for word.

 

On 5 inch bolt pattern wheels:

"An X stamped next to the center cap hole is a 3rd design (1966-1967 15x6). Measure across the outer edges of the rim. if 8 inches, the wheel is a 6th design (1982-1987 15x7). Place the wheel, outer face down, on a flat surface. if the wheel rests on the center cap mounting surface and not on the rim, it is a 5th design (1971-1987 15x6). If the wheel rests on the rim and does not have a register ring, it is a 1st design (1964 15x6). If the wheel has a register ring and a 2" center cap hole, it is a 2nd design (1965 15x6). If the wheel has a register ring a 2 1/8" center cap hole and no X, it is a 4th design (1967-1970 15x6)."

 

In summary:

1st design (1964 Wildcat only): If the wheel rests on the rim and does not have a register ring. Rim code "Unistyle". 2" center cap hole. 15x6.

2nd design (1965 Wildcat and Riviera): If the wheel rests on the rim and has a register ring. Rim code "Unistyle". 2" center cap hole. 15x6.  Same as design #1 but with a register ring.

3rd design (1966-1967 Wildcat and Riviera without disc brakes): Has "X" stamped next to center cap. Same design as #2 (wheel rests on rim and has a register ring) but with 2 1/8" center cap hole. Rim code 802. 15x6.

4th design (1967-1970 Wildcat and Riviera, and 1970 LeSabre, with disc brakes): Same design as #3 (wheel rests on rim and has a register ring) but more room for disc brakes, 2 1/8" center cap hole, no "X" near center cap, Rim code 853. 15x6.

5th design ( 1971-1973 Centurion, 1971-1978 Riviera, 1971-1985 LeSabre, 1973-1984 Electra): If the wheel rests on the center cap mounting hole. No register ring, 2" center cap hole, "JJ" bead type, Rim code 865, application code WK, VT, 15x6.

6th design (1980-1987 LeSabre and Riviera): 15x7, same basic design as #5 but an inch wider. Rim code 011, application code VC.

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More information on the Buick Chrome Road Wheels, according to the James Brothers Bugle article (June 2002):

 

1st Design (1964 Wildcat): It can be used on other full-sized Buicks from 1964 and earlier years that have a 3 1/2 inch wheel hub diameters.

2nd Design (1965 Wildcat and Riviera): Unique to 1965, but can be used on other 1965 full-sized Buicks.  Since to only difference in design #2 from design #1 is the register ring, if you remove the register ring then it can be used on all other full-sized Buicks that design #1 can be used.

3rd Design (1966-1967 Wildcat and Riviera without disc brakes): Can be used on same cars as design #2, but has a 2 1/8" center cap hole. (Designs #1 and #2 have a 2" center cap hole)

4th Design (1967-1970 Wildcat and Riviera, 1970 LeSabre): Can be used on same cars as design #2 and 1967-1970 full-sized cars with disc brakes.  It has the 2 3/4" register ring and 2 1/8" center cap hole.

5th Design (1971-1973 Centurion, 1971-1978 Riviera, 1971-1985 LeSabre, 1973-1984 Electra): Can be usd on full-sized cars from 1971-1987 except the 4 3/4 inch B.C. LeSabres and Electras. No register ring, and back to 2" center cap hole.

6th Design (1980-1987 LeSabre and Electra): Can be used on 1971-1987 full-sized Buicks if tire to fender clearances are adequate.  They are an inch wider at 15x7.

 

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The perceived purpose of the "register ring" is that it serves the same purpose as the inner "hole" in a normal-style wheel.  It helps center the wheel on the spindle/axle so that the wheel studs aren't the only "centering" item involved in the wheel's mounting to the vehicle's mechanisms.  The taper on the wheel lug nuts center the wheel as they index with the corresponding taper of the wheel's lug nut hole, as they are tightened.  On "mag" wheels that use the UniLug inserts to vary the wheel's effective bolt circle, they use a lug nut with a smooth shank and a flat surface that contacts the inner and outside surface of the adapter insert as it is tightened to the specified wheel lug nut torque.

 

ALWAYS tighten the lug nuts to the FACTORY SPECIFIED torque settings AND make sure any tire shops use THAT torque when they reinstall the wheels!!!  Reason is that for the modern cars they normally see, the lug nut torques are closer to  . . or over . . . 100 lbs/ft or torque.  The earlier cars were generally closer to 65 lbs/ft of torque.  IF they use the "torque sticks" or an impact gun set for normal cars, be sure they reset those devices to what the older cars need!  Otherwise, you might consider getting a "clicker" torque wrench set to the needed value and ensure they do the final torque amount, or similar.  And, of course, in the specified tightening sequence and start at low torques and end wit the "design" torque level for the third and final torqueing.

 

In earlier times, it was normally common for the air ratchets to be set for what was used back then.  As torques have increased AND can vary with lug nut/stud size, they're not as generic as some might perceive.  We trusted those guys to know what they were doing, as many did AND understand the "why" of the situation.

 

Now, IF you can find somebody that understands AND will take the time to use a "beam" torque wrench, even better.  You can feel and see the torque and effort needed to get to the final level.  As "antique" as that style of torque wrench might be, it can be more fun and informative to use.  But it can take more time to use than "a clicker" AND you have to look at it as you use it.

 

Enjoy!

NTX5467

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  • 4 years later...

Does anyone know what the wheel sizes and bolt patterns are for a 1973 Buick Electra Limited Sedan?  It appears from earlier posts in 2017 that the size might be 15 x 6 - is this correct or, if not, what is the size?  What's a "4 3/4" B.C."?  I've found conflicting information about the bolt pattern - but there is some reason to believe it's 5 x 5 - is this right?  All help would be greatly appreciated!

J.C.

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Yes. 15x6 and 5x5 bolt pattern. Note: should not have a register ring on the back. There is a part # stamped on the rim which I forget at the moment but I will look it up in a bit . Do you need a set?

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Thanks Doug for the rim code.  @J.C. Here is a description of the rims you DO NOT want.  Although they could be made to work.

 

Note the front where the center is attached to the rim is welded in, ground flush and then when chrome plated it looks like a one piece rim.  This particular rim is for a 67-8-9 Full sized Buick with disc brakes.  This is the style rim you want with the 5x5 bolt pattern. 

 

Riviera Rims0025.JPG

 

Here is a picture of this rim's code, which is 853, again, not the one you want for your 73.

 

Riviera Rims0005.JPG

 

And here is a picture of the register ring, in the center of the web of spokes,  on the back side of these rims.  

 

Riviera Rims0021.JPG

 

these #853 rims will not fit on your car UNLESS you cut out the register ring in the center, which became a relatively related proceedure in the past. 

 

I am not sure what the b.c. comments mean other than back spacing.  You will find these rims were made with several different back spacing depths.  This is not readily visible to the naked eye but you can take a look at the front of the rim and gauge how much the center cone protrudes.  The 895 rims the center cone protrudes a little bit further than the bead of the rim.  You may find this important since your car is designed with fender skirts  and a low wheel well cutout. If you put too deep a rim on the car you will generally find clearance for use BUT you may also find difficulty getting the rims and tires on and off the car without using two jacks. 

 

 

 

 

 

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7 hours ago, JohnD1956 said:

Yes. 15x6 and 5x5 bolt pattern. Note: should not have a register ring on the back. There is a part # stamped on the rim which I forget at the moment but I will look it up in a bit . Do you need a set?

John, yes, I was hoping to find a set of rally wheels for my car.  Searching the 'Net, I haven't found any good originals.  I thought of buying new ones, but I'm finding inconsistent information online about the correct size.  For instance, a rep at Summit Racing was telling me the size is 15 x 7 with a 5 x 5 bolt pattern.  But you're saying the size is 15 x 6, so the Summit guy was wrong.  

 

Thanks for all the great info, everyone!  My car has wire wheel covers, which don't look bad but don't look great.  I saw the attached photo online and thought it'd be cool to get wheels like that...

 

2021.04.16 Rally Wheels 1 v2.png

Edited by J.C. (see edit history)
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Buick rallye wheels are the most beautiful wheels to come out of Detroit hands down.  No other of the big three or aftermarket are close. Just one man's opinion. 

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bc means “bolt circle” - the diameter of a circle drawn through the centers of the bolt holes.  Except for the wheels for the Estate Wagons, all Buick rally wheels are 15 x 6. The first year’s wheels, code 802, will not fit cars with disk brakes. If you have disk brakes you will want an 853 or 895 code wheel. The 895 came out in 1971 when the Riviera was built on a new chassis.  Any of these wheels were only available on RWD cars. These all have a 5” bolt circle. For hubs on cars built prior to 1965, the size of the hub dictates that the register rings in the wheel be removed.

 

There are 15 x 7 wheels being built for the aftermarket but they are two piece wheels built for the intermediate sized Skylark with 5 bolts on a 4.75” (4-3/4”) circle.

 

Ed

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I'm seeing '73 Electras online with rally wheels, but I'm having trouble figuring out how that can be made to work.  It appears that '73 Electras were only sold new with the basic hubcap or the wire wheel cover.  So, it looks like putting rally wheels on Electras was something their owners must've done later - did they all do this using the rally wheels made for the Estate Wagon?  It appears that Electra wheels were 15 x 6 and that Estate Wagon wheels were 15 x 7 - is this true?  Can 15 x 7 wheels be put on an Electra?  I can't find any current aftermarket rally wheels that leave enough backspace, which I heard must be, at minimum, 3.8.  If I take off 15 x 6 wheels off of my Electra and put 15 x 7 wheels on it from an Estate Wagon, then will there still be enough backspace?  Would 15 x 7 wheels be too big for an Electra?

Edited by J.C. (see edit history)
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You may be able to get a 15 X 7 rim on your Electra.  But 15 x 7 wide rally wheels may be tough to get past your rear wheel opening.  Also they are tough to find and very expensive when you do find them.  The 15 X 6 rims are more plentiful and thus a little less costly.  The bigger problem seems to be that many of the rims are not perfectly straight.  That and many also are rusted.  But that's not what you asked. 

 

As to how it seems so many Electra's have these rims?  I am sure it is because the rims are beautiful and seem to compliment the car.  Regardless of the restrictive way the Electra came, I believe any dealership would put the rally wheels on if the customer wanted them.  And I am sure that many others chose to install a set themselves later in the car's lifetime.   That's how my 72 Electra came to be equipped with them. 

 

0716180939b.jpg

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1973 was the first year you could order the Rallye wheel as a factory option on Electra.  The "895" 15x6-inch wheel was used from 1971 to 1985 and was available on most full-sized cars and Riviera's, so they are more plentiful than the 15x7 wheel as JD mentions.  The stock backspacing on the 15x6 wheel is 3 7/8".  I don't think anyone is making aftermarket wheels with the 5-inch bolt circle, so your best bet is to find someone willing to part with a set.  They do come up for sale frequently, but you can always post a parts wanted add too.

 

I'm with JD in that many owners of Electra's have added these wheels in the past. When I purchased my 67 Electra it had the rallye's on it, which I liked, but I switched to the factory wheel covers, which I like as much or more.  If you post a parts wanted add, you may find someone like me (not me though) that is willing to sell the spare set they have in storage.  I had refinished mine ahead of the 2007 BCA Nationals in Seattle/Bellevue, WA and I've kept them just in case I want to go back.  As for fit, I find that the current steel wheels with hubcaps are more difficult to get on/off the rears than the rallyes were.  

 

Before:

20150619-_MG_0120.jpg

 

After:

IMG_6348.JPG

Edited by dmfconsult (see edit history)
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1 hour ago, dmfconsult said:

1973 was the first year you could order the Rallye wheel as a factory option on Electra.  The "895" 15x6-inch wheel was used from 1971 to 1985 and was available on most full-sized cars and Riviera's, so they are more plentiful than the 15x7 wheel as JD mentions.  The stock backspacing on the 15x6 wheel is 3 7/8".  I don't think anyone is making aftermarket wheels with the 5-inch bolt circle, so your best bet is to find someone willing to part with a set.  They do come up for sale frequently, but you can always post a parts wanted add too.

 

I'm with JD in that many owners of Electra's have added these wheels in the past. When I purchased my 67 Electra it had the rallye's on it, which I liked, but I switched to the factory wheel covers, which I like as much or more.  If you post a parts wanted add, you may find someone like me (not me though) that is willing to sell the spare set they have in storage.  I had refinished mine ahead of the 2007 BCA Nationals in Seattle/Bellevue, WA and I've kept them just in case I want to go back.  As for fit, I find that the current steel wheels with hubcaps are more difficult to get on/off the rears than the rallyes were.  

 

Before:

20150619-_MG_0120.jpg

 

After:

IMG_6348.JPG

The factory wheel covers are much nicer on this model year than the Rallye  wheels.  Glad you put them back on. 

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The 1967 Electra hubcaps are my hands down favorite hubcap.  I am not as fond of the 72/3 hubcap, but it is what it is.   Doug's car looks great both ways.  But I do like it with the hubcaps a bit more.  Now... if the rallye wheels had sported the tires mounted blackwall side out, that would be a really tough choice for me. 😉

 

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I knew that blackwall comment was coming... 

 

I think the J.C.'s car will also look fantastic with the rallyes, and a decent set should be relatively easy to find.  They are easy to spruce up with a bit of 0000 steel wool, some masking and some new satin black paint for the centers.  The correct center caps are also still available in NOS and reproduction, which would really help set off the wheels too.

Edited by dmfconsult (see edit history)
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