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Using Chrysler Wheels on '54 Starliner

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  • Using Chrysler Wheels on '54 Starliner

    I changed wheels and tires on my '54 Starliner recently, and wanted to share my experience with this for those who might be thinking of doing the same thing.

    When I put the car on the road 11 years ago after a hiatus of many years, I bought P205 70R 15 tires and used them on the stock '54 wheels. They fit and worked fine. No problems.

    Due to age, I thought it would be a good idea to replace these tires now, even though they have only about 3,000 miles on them. I thought that I might as well also switch to rear wheel drive model Chrysler wheels at the same time, as has been suggested in TW and elsewhere, for safety reasons.

    I bought new P205 70R 15s and had them installed on the Chrysler wheels, and then put them onto the Studebaker. I was surprised to find that the rear wheels are now only about 1 1/2 or 2 inches away from the rear fender at the top of the wheel opening. They stick out so far that they don't really look right.

    I took the car for a long drive under many road conditions and find no rubbing interference anywhere at all, so I guess it's okay in that respect. But I'm disappointed in the appearance of this setup, at least on the rear of the car. The front ones look okay.

    So I want to warn others that although this setup has been recommended, you may not be thrilled with the end result!

    The only positive thing I see is that using these wheels has seemed to stop the wheelcovers from creeping around the rim.

    I would be interested in hearing your experiences in regard to using the Chrysler wheels on the early C and K bodies.

    Dave Bonn
    '54 Champion Starliner


  • #2
    There are probably 10 different 15" Chrysler rear drive wheels with a 4 1/2" bolt circle...maybe more. Different widths, and offset/backspacing.

    You probably should have found a tire store that would have let you mount one to see if you liked "the look" and to see if there was any interference.

    Also, you might like the look of the 205 75 15 tire on that car instead of the 205 70 15. The 205 70 has A LOT less sidewall height than the original tires. A 205 75 is closer. That is if you are going for a stock sort of look.

    Dick Steinkamp
    Bellingham, WA



    Dick Steinkamp
    Bellingham, WA

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    • #3
      Ditto what Dick said about the Chrysler wheels. The key point here is WHAT Mopar wheel is it? I used the '77-'78 Chrysler Cordoba wheels with 0057 stamped next to the valve stem on '64 Daytonas, they have the anti-spin wheel cover humps on both sides of the valve stem as most do. These are only 5 1/2" wide but that's a full 1 in. more than stock for '59 & on Studes. and are perfect as they were designed to run P215X75R15 or P225X70R15 tires and have no backside clearance problems with Stock '64 Stude. Dics. brakes. They will be slightly noticeable as to fender clearance, but not likely to hit with P205's.

      Everyone has their preferred "look" and choices, and I respect that, BUT, you will not see me driving a Stude. with more than 6" wide rims on the front, because they do not belong there, look right, align right, drive right or anything else!
      If for no other reason, the proper size tires will not properly "fit" 6 in. plus rims, as in sidewall flex! And don't even talk to me about those 16" plus "Wagon wheels" that may look OK on a Pimp's Suburban, but not on a 50's-'60's car!

      StudeRich
      Studebakers Northwest
      Ferndale, WA
      StudeRich
      Second Generation Stude Driver,
      Proud '54 Starliner Owner

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      • #4
        Dick and StudeRich are right double check the wheels you have. We've been running the 15x6" Chryslers for years with everthing on them from 205/75 to 215/65's and never had a rubbing/clearance problem on any C-K models.

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        • #5
          Thanks so much for your help, everyone. I started with two "pistine" wheels I had lying around that came off of an '81 LeBaron (rear wheel drive). I needed two more, so I called around to several junkyards in my area before I could find them. I didn't see exactly what car the second two came off of, but the junkyard guy mentioned that it was a Fifth Avenue. I didn't realize there were so many types. My family memebers and I drove a lot of those cars in the late 70s and all through the 80s (Aspen, LeBaron, etc) and I thought they were generally the same.

          I think I'm going to switch the back ones to the front and see if that doesn't help, and then go from there. Thanks again for the advice.

          Dave Bonn
          '54 Champion Starliner

          Comment


          • #6
            After doing some scouting in our local pick a part, I found that many of the 80's rwd LeBarons actually had SEVEN inch wide wheels on them. I used some off an earlier Dodge van that are 6 1/2 inches wide, no clearence issues and they fill wheelwells better. I'm not sure what year but vans went to a larger bolt pattern. Lou Cote [8D]

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