My Car Quest

February 23, 2019

When Is A Custom Wheel Too Big?

by Mike –

After market rims have been getting bigger and bigger and there are more style options as well. Unfortunately many car lovers are using them and I think this has led to some rather unattractive classic cars.

Large Wheels

Large Wheels

In my opinion almost all cars look better with factory wheels. I think the car designer knows what is best for his design.

However, I do like some after market wheels like Cragars, maybe because they were so prevalent in my youth.

Ford Mustang

These wheels are just a little too big

Ford Mustang

These wheels are just right

I also have decided that I like the wheel diameter to match the original size for that car even if a custom wheel is used. The original diameter always looks best to me.

Ford Mustang

Too much

Ford Mustang

Nice

I know the wheel diameter on new cars has increased over the years. Those cars are designed for a larger wheel so most of them look fine.

Here are some photos to illustrate my point.

Let us know what you think in the Comments.

Red Wheels

You be the judge

Triumph TR6

Nothing looks better on a Triumph TR6 than the original factory wheels

More photos are in the slide shows below.

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Summary
When Is A Custom Wheel Too Big?
Article Name
When Is A Custom Wheel Too Big?
Description
The trend toward larger diameter after market wheels is not good.
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Comments

  1. Wolf-Peter says:

    I totally agree! I don’t like the big rims. And they are uncomfortable too! In motorsport you see small rims with large tires, look at F1 cars for example. Or at the LeMans winning Porsche 919. What is the practical advantage of having large rims with low profile tires? Especially on older cars, where the tire is part of the suspension setup.

  2. Custom wheels are such a personal thing. The trend had gone to larger wheels and these trends will always push the limits until they reach saturation and then they just look stupid, but beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
    Back in my day the old mopars had wheels that were much to skinny with high side walls and I never liked that although most people thought it looked good. The old dusters had such a large wheel well and such skinny tires with high profile sides it made the car look like it was going to fall over on its side it was so narrow, but with a wheel that was fat enough to fill in the wheel well, like a set of BF Goodrich radial TA’s, which were the tire of the day the car to me looked very well balanced, but again it is personal taste.
    In my cars I have almost always changed wheels, and mostly to a larger size, but I am a bit modest so the final size is close to the same as the original, just larger rim and shorter profile tire which does enhance the performance, and it is what pleases me, so I am happy with it.
    If someone else does not like it that is because they have a different taste, and I am ok with that, but after going to some shows where the wheels are no longer practable, usefull, or just plain ugly it does seems that the style is hitting saturation and the next trend will be appearing in time.
    To find that perfect balance is a true test of styling and its not commonly found where it pleases everyone, but again it is personal taste.
    As anything in life trends come and go but bad taste will always seem to be with us.

  3. From an aesthetic point of view I have to agree with you Mike. It’s a lipstick on a pig kind of thing and to some degree I blame the proliferation of car related TV shows and social media that offer a stage to some questionably talented characters involved with reselling, restoring or reimagining motorized vehicles.

    I will say that having gotten started with automotive projects in the 60’s we did almost immediately switch out wheel and tire combinations – but this was mostly done for performance enhancements.

  4. Wim van de Kimmenade says:

    Hey Mike,

    Thank you for bringing up your question about when a wheel diameter is too big and resulting in ultra low profile tyres.
    Firstly, I agree in what people say: ” Beauty is in the eyes of the believer!
    My personal opinion is that it doesn’t look good at all!
    I think that the original concept of a design is the purest form of what its creator had in mind!

    Therefore the revised version of an original concept is IMHO not as beautifull! I posess 2 Fiat Dino Coupés, both in need of a thorough restoration. The 2.0 l version I intend to bring back to its former glory. (My Father had one from 1968 till 1971, so I know what I am talking about)
    The 2.4 l of course has improved features, like the dog-leg 5 speed ZF gearbox, like you also find on older Aston-Martins. The cast iron cil. block allows higher output in HP and torque. Although the noise of a 2.0 l Dino is a beautifull concerto to my ears, the 2.4 l version can also have a beautifull sound. Just listen to what this engine is capable off when used in a Lancia Stratos Rally version! ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D2OlsCu1tfc )
    Styling wise, aspects where I prefere the 2.0 l version over the 2. 4 l are, the dashboard with the metal tumbler switches that I prefer over the plastic ones of the 2.4, the radiator grille and the ventilation through the rear side windows instead of the ones placed near the back window on the 2.4 I prefer.
    Therefore the 2. 4 l I posess, I intend to restore it to what I personally believe.
    These include mainly technical changes on the engine and subtle body changes. ( !6″wheels instead of 14″, a modified radiator grille, quarter front bumpers,slightly lowered suspension, and lightening of the whole body in order to compensate for the heavier weight of the 2.4 l engine block. (I absoluteley am in love with the Giugiaro design of the car from the time he worked at Bertone, so before he founded Italdesign!
    So 16″wheels on this car , is what I personally like the most.

  5. I think that your Yes/No slideshows have got this judgement call about right.

    I can see merit in a small increase in diameter, but I do wonder what the quality of the ride is like on the blingiest examples shown here. Imagine driving over a pebble the size of a pea!

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