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1941 Commander 16 inch wheels

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  • Wheels / Tires: 1941 Commander 16 inch wheels

    When I had my 1941 Commander delivered, it had 15 inch wheels on it. There were 6 additional wheels. 3 of them were the 16 inch wheels which had original green color so I think they are the original wheels. I am looking for another 16 inch wheel.

    My question is in searching for tires, they all mention tubes are needed. Is it possible to use radials or other tires without tubes? Are there more recently made 16 inch wheels that will work with fender clearance, original appearance, and new wheels that would be less prone to cracking than 81 year old rims? Are the truck 16 inch wheels the same as the 41 wheels?

    Thanks for your help

    Bob Miles
    Safe and sane for a highway trip

  • #2
    You are correct. Per the parts book the original wheels are 197645 16x4.5". I don't have a truck parts book so I can't cross-reference but Studebaker rarely spent money they did not have to.

    Why would you want to not run tubes? These wheels are really narrow, I am no expert on tires but you are unlikely to find a modern radial that fits well. Even if you do the wheel was designed for tubes so use a tube. My car is running Coker radials with tubes. They were not cheap but fit right, drive wonderfully, and look right on the car.

    If the wheels are in good shape they are safe. Unless you are planning to try some handbrake turns or something. Good luck with the car!



    • #3
      There aren’t any aftermarket wheels that will fit the drum and hubs on your car, at least not without using longer wheel studs and spacers. And then, you won’t be able to use the stock hubcaps.

      They’re scarce, but if you can find a good set of wheels from a later Studebaker pickup, they are a direct fit (including the ‘41 hubcaps) and you can avoid using tubes.

      On my ‘41 Commander, I ran a set of 16” wheels from a ‘63 Champ truck. Tires were radials from DiamondBacks. No tubes.

      Click image for larger version  Name:	8E558FA6-C292-4577-BA21-88D1E45733D7.jpg Views:	0 Size:	128.7 KB ID:	1955167


      • #4
        The tires on trucks are the same for your 41' in 16 inch. Per Coker Tire and my favorite truck tire shop: if your rims are welded together, you can use a tubeless tire alone. If (like my 53' truck), the rims are're advised to install tubes and maybe liner flaps if the inside of the rims are not smooth.


        • #5
          And just to add, I don’t know about the truck wheels, but I’m pretty sure that 1941 Presidents ran 5” wide wheels.


          • #6
            My only concern is running at a higher than normal speed (city driving) for longer periods of time, it heat expansion in the tubes and possible blow out. Is that an incorrect assumption on my part? I like the way that Matt's wheels and tires look on the 41 he had.

            Bob Miles
            Let me know your how you have fared with tubes on a long distance trip


            • #7
              You had to ask..... I have been hauling cord wood from my camp in Maine (200 miles 1-way, w/ 600+ lbs. of wood) to Mass. Nice running 53' 2R6. Never > 65 mph on the highway. Crazy-right. I bought 4 new 6-ply tires and new tubes back in April /May. I have made 4-5 trips with the wood. I got a flat 1 mile from my home last Friday. Getting tubes isn't easy these days. I have a truck tire shop that has them (Maine) and they arrive today, 1 for an extra). This last (flat) trip was in 80 degree temps. Previous trip was 95+ degrees. Why now I ask. Don't know. China tubes ? I have old USA tubes for comparison today and guess I'll need a spare (Chinese) for the road. Is it likely these conditions (tube troubles) were commonplace back when tubes were tubes ? I was assured by the truck shop that I did "not" need the inner flaps. Go figure..... Am I asking too much from the truck in weight ? For the tubes ? Inquiring minds......