Tip: Wheels and tires

Probably the single biggest improvement you can make to any vehicle’s appearance is to change the wheels and tires. Altering the type, size, and style of the rolling stock has been popular since guys first started messing around with cars and will likely continue until The Jetsons era arrives. If your car is from the late-’50s through early ’70s, it probably came with narrow 14-inch rims and tiny bias-ply tires. Aftermarket wheel swaps were popular by the mid-’60s, so if yours is a performance model, it may have received a set of American Racing Torq-Thrusts (or a clone from another manufacturer), Cragar SS wheels, or something similar. Wheels like these are back in vogue, so they’re good to have. Unfortunately, it’s more likely that any cool wheels installed in the ’60s were swapped in the ’70s or ’80s with something less desirable.

Although the Cragar SS remained popular through the ’80s, Torq-Thrusts and the like were not only out of style, but out of production. In their place came a wide variety of chromed “tech” wheels that today are truly hideous. Some of these were even offered in gold tone, or perhaps worse-faux anodized colors.

These evils can be cured in no time flat by installing something less trashy. A factory rally wheel might be the simplest solution, or maybe even a set of plain-steel wheels with poverty caps. If you go this route, try to move up to 15-inch rims that are at least 7 inches wide so you can dress them with suitably meaty rubber.

Of course, you could step up and try the larger-diameter wheels and tires that are all the rage these days. Although some may scoff at the whole Pro Touring thing, we find that big-inch rollers, if selected properly, can really make cars look tough-especially big, old cars with huge wheelwells. You can try some of the big-inch rally wheels offered by Wheel Vintiques, Stockton Wheel, and others, or choose a larger-diameter version of a traditional wheel; both Torq-Thrusts and Cragar SSs can be had all the way up to 20 inches.

Read more: http://www.carcraft.com/howto/ccrp_0302_10_muscle_car_tips/viewall.html#ixzz2jBBJTqAe

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