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Wheel Rims for Hawk

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  • Wheel Rims for Hawk

    After a lot of mechanical and body work I am thinking of tires for my 1963 hawk question is two fold, What is the wisdom on using original rims (sand blasted and repainted)? And what about tire size? Should I use radials or the original type. And since I will only driving it in good weather do I need an all season tread?
    Thanks in advance

  • #2
    Frankly, I have little use for the orginal wheels...or at least the '61 and older. Too narrow at 4-1/2", non-safety rim and light in weight compared to newer Ford or Chrysler wheels. One thing I found in the 70's, for what ever reason, radial tires will make a wheel flex more than others and will pop off certain wheel covers. I had that happen on a '77 Dodge 1/2 ton truck with the factory wheels. With the orginal bias ply tires, I could put 2000 pounds of feed in the back and every thing was fine. As soon as I put radials on, the same load of feed had wheel covers popping off the rear wheels repeatedly. I really got tired of walking along the road looking for them. I replaced the stock wheel covers with those off of a '73 Chrysler Newport and those stayed on. So while it was the fault of the wheel covers, the change to radials had to have caused the wheel to flex more than before. Like I said, it doesn't make sense why they would, but they sure did. Oh, I swapped the orginal covers around and it was always the rear ones that popped off. And believe me, a hub cap at 60 mph can travel a long ways from where it came off! I'd look for later Chrysler or Ford 5-1/2" wheels.


    • #3
      Would I be better off buying rims as advertised in Turning Wheels Mag? Or should I look for other sources ?


      • #4
        GT Hawk wheels are 4 1/2" wide also, but I have never had any problems with the newish Studebaker wheels. Hubcaps always stayed on, no problems with radials, etc.

        I use 205 75 15 tires on these rims. Some use 215 75 15, but I think that is pushing it a little for the narrow rim.

        Bias ply tires look more original, but radials will give you a better ride and produce better handling.

        You don't NEED an all season tread, but I don't think there are any radials made that aren't with an all season tread...some look more aggressive than others and less like the original tires because of it.

        If you switch wheels and have a disc brake car, make sure the wheels you select clear the disk brake rotors.

        Newer, wider rims would probably be best...but then so would a TH700R4 transmission, a 9" Ford rear end, comfortable Toyota bucket seats, a new ball joint front suspension, etc. [)].

        Here's my '63 Hawk with 205 75 15 Coker 1 1/4" radial white walls on stock wheels.

        Dick Steinkamp
        Bellingham, WA


        • #5
          According to Bob Helm's last ad in the April TW, he only had 30 left at that time, and that wheel had been discontinued from Hayes-Lemmerez production. I have a local source that confirms the discontinuance of that #. As far as I know there are no other OEM wheel manufacturers that offer wheels to the aftermarket. From Hayes' view point, that wheel, (X-40273 NWRA#) has been out of OEM use since aprox. 2002 IIRC, with 16 and 17" wheels that replaced it. That particular NWRA# is listed for Ford cars and trucks, Rangers to be exact. The Chrysler wheel carries a different # and is obviously different in ways other than the small hub cap retainer demintion. IIRC, I think it is 15X6&1/2, but I'm not sure of the offset, or how well it would clear the non-OEM disc brake set-ups. At this point it looks like your local Pull-A-Part or other favorite junk yard is your friend. I hope this is of some help.

          Dan Miller
          Atlanta, GA

          Road Racers turn left AND right.


          • #6
            I use '70s & '80s 5.5"X15 Chrysler wheels. Plenty of them around and Stude wheel covers fit fine (Don't know about hubcaps though). They are offset toward the outside a little more than the Stude wheels as well as being wider which widens the stance of the car. 6.5" wheels of the same vintage have most of the extra width on the outside which gets them rather close to the inside of the rear fenders on my Hawk. I have a 225X60 on a 6.5" and I "think" it would clear the fender but if going that route, I'd want to try the actual tire I was using since width varies with price and manufacturer I've been able to use everything from a 215X75 down to a 205X70 on my Hawk and '51. Keep in mind that the smaller, lower profile tires are going to increase the engine rpm for a given mph (although the speedo isn't able to recognize this). My '51 orginally had 7.10X15 with a 3.54 rear axle. With my 205X70X15 tires on it, I'm going to have to switch to a 3.31 rear axle to keep the same rpm-mph ratio. I believe a 215 is too wide for a 4.5" rim. I need to check again, but I think the Dunlop website had a list of recommended rim widths for different sized tires. I don't always believe everything folks tell me, but since Dunlop sells tires and not wheels, I figure they know what they're talking about.


            • #7
              I've heard Jim Pepper talk several times on this issue and I think it was also mentioned in a Co-operator. The points he makes are: The late Stude wheels were made of a light gauge material that was fine for bias ply tires when they were new. Auto manufacturers in general found that with the switch to radial tires a stronger wheel was desirable. The Stude wheels are also at the end of their service life. Steel can only flex so long before it finally gives up. Chrysler wheels are a good option at this time because they are made from a heavier gauge steel (having been designed for disc brakes), they are slightly newer and they are generally cheap and abundant. They were used on full sized Chrysler cars, pickups and vans. I have them on my Hawk.

              Tim K.
              '64 R2 GT Hawk
              Tim K.
              \'64 R2 GT Hawk


              • #8
                Dick, great photo of your car at the marina! Beautiful car first of all, you did a wonderful job on it. You also picked a great backround that's very appropriate...the boats imply leisure, ample finances and a relaxed atmosphere which to me seems very fitting of the GT; a relaxing package that gives one the appearance and impression of speed, power and money. Also great lighting, ample light on the backround to accentuate the blues, reds, whites and yellows, enough light on the Stude to show what an excellent, fluid like appearance the finish has but subdued enough to not have harsh shadows on and under the car. I don't know if you're a professional photographer or all this was just a lucky accident you stumbled on to, but if Studebaker would of had you taking it's promo shots, they'd probably still be in business today!


                • #9
                  Lucky accident, unfortunately . The great thing about digital is that you can take 100 photos and there is bound to be a good one in there somewhere ...if not, you can take a PRETTY good one into PhotoShop and make it a good one. This one was a little dark initially so I increased the exposure in PhotoShop.

                  Dick Steinkamp
                  Bellingham, WA