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16" or 17" wheels?

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  • Wheels / Tires: 16" or 17" wheels?

    Since a lot of 15" tire sizes are drying up, are there any common salvage yard 16" or 17" wheels that will bolt up to a '51 Commander or later and will also take Studebaker dog dish hub caps?
    1963 Champ "Stu Bludebaker"- sometimes driver
    1957 Silver Hawk "Josie"- picking up the pieces after an unreliable body man let it rot for 11 years from an almost driver to a basket case
    1951 Land Cruiser "Bunnie Ketcher" only 47M miles!
    1951 Commander Starlight "Dale"- basket case
    1947 Champion "Sally"- basket case
    1941 Commander Land Cruiser "Ursula"- basket case

  • #2
    Why not just buy 15" tires? No one has any trouble finding them. I had to put 17" tires on my '33 but that's they way it came from the factory.
    "All attempts to 'rise above the issue' are simply an excuse to avoid it profitably." --Dick Gregory

    Brad Johnson, SDC since 1975, ASC since 1990
    Pine Grove Mills, Pa.
    '33 Rockne 10,
    '51 Commander Starlight,
    '53 Commander Starlight "Désirée",
    '56 Sky Hawk


    • #3
      Plenty of 16" and 17" wheels will bolt up. Crown Vic's and Gran Marquis used 16x7" and 17x7.5" 1998 thru 2011 that will bolt up. Spacers may be needed to get the offset to work well as most are heavily backspaced. 1.6" spacers would be needed to center the Crown Vic wheels. I haven't found a modern wheel in any size that the dog dishes will fit. I'm currently modifying some '95 Crown Vic 15x6.5" wheels to fit '53 dog dishes. On my '54 Chevy I have 17" wheels from a GMC Envoy (SUV). The back spacing is so much, in order to get steering I had to use 1.5" spacers. Yes, that 7" wheel is still completely under the fender even with a 6" wider than stock axle.


      • #4
        I don't think 15" tires will be gone for a long time, so many compact cars have them, they should be around for a long time. The centers that were designed for "hub caps" disappeared many moons ago in any steel wheel regardless of diameter. You could have some made of course but would get expensive. Besides, I don't think a 51's front suspension would like most larger diameter radials and tire patches.


        • #5
          Then there's that most 16" and 17" tires are 25-50% wider in profile than the OEM Stude 185 and 195. If the wider profile doesn't hit the fenders, with that much rubber on the asphalt, it will be difficult-to-impossible to turn a non-PS wheel at rest. BTDT with 215/85-16" Michelins on my E12; for twenty-five years, I always had to have it moving slightly before trying to turn the wheel. When I added PS, I had to weld the frame and crossmember together, as it would visibly flex when turning the wheels at rest.

          jack vines


          • #6
            Doug -

            Have you checked the internet ? Lots of reasonably good information in there...
            Be sure to verify the bolt pattern.