Wheels and Tires

Mid Sept 2016:

This post is going to get a bit long my process to pick out wheels and tires, so if youre just interested in what I ended up with, go to the picture at the bottom.  However, you should feel guilty that you aren’t experiencing the full journey with me and are taking the easy road out.

Picking out the exact wheels and tires that I wanted was a process that was a whole lot more work than I was expecting, from creating spreadsheets to convert wheel and tire specs to actual dimensions, to figuring out exactly how big I can go and still fit the tires in the fenders, and picking a style that reflects the hot rod that I am building, it too many hours and many selections before I finally clicked the purchase button.  I had originally wanted retro wheels like Torq thrust IIs from American racing (google them) in 18″ in the rear and 17″ in the front, but after seeing some 18″s and 17″s in the wild, I decided those weren’t big enough, so I moved up to 19″s in the rear and 18″s in the front.  Unfortunately, American Racing doesn’t make wheels in 19″ diameters, so I was either forced to find a different design or use a smaller wheel… Different design indeed!  So my search began anew and after looking long and hard for 11″ wide rim in the rear, which unfortunately pushes you into custom wheel territory for which I did not have the budget.  Another issue  in the search for wheels, was that all websites assume they know better than you and force you to pick a vehicle so they can tell you what fits (an issue I am running in to with parts also).  Eventually, I managed to find Niche Targa wheels in the sizes and widths that I needed at the price point I wanted.  This was a big departure from the “retro” look I was going for before, but I once I got into it, I liked the idea of doing something different and I think they will look pretty awesome.

Picking tires for this beast was an equivalent pain in the ass, mainly because tire dimensions are flexible when it comes to what wheels they will fit on and since the tire wall height is a function of tire width it was a lot of trial and error to make sure I wasn’t exceeding my envelope defined by the fenders.  Eventually I decided that the widest I could squeeze in the rear were 295mm (only 11 inches wide… I know disappointing), and in the front were 245mm to give it a bit more of the stagger that I wanted.  Options weren’t too plentiful for the tire wall heights I needed, but I ended up selecting Bridgestone Potenza Pole Position S-04’s which had good reviews and a good price.

So now, for what you all have been waiting for….

Disregard all the trash below the car, I had just finished unboxing a large amount of parts and that was the best storage spot… don’t judge me.

Suspension (and a couple other bits)

July 2016 – I kicked off the build with the suspension as the very large and very detailed manual told me to do, and since I didnt feel like being contrary, it worked out well.  Initially I had a couple key suspension components back ordered with Factory Five (known as FFR here on out), but they were delivered a couple weeks after I started and I had plenty to work on to get my feet wet.

First step was to paint all of the unpainted suspension components, I used Eastwood Extreme Chassis Black gloss coat and primer.  Many other builders have had all of these components powder coated which would provide a much more durable finish, but I was eager to get going and hadnt budgeted it, so although I may regret it, I got started with the improvised drying rack below:


The suspension went fairly smoothly outside of a couple minor issues that kept delaying me since I didnt have any full weekends to work on and was only progressing it in the evenings after work.

August 2016 – By August I had all the parts painted, the back ordered items had been delivered (except the rear brakes due to FoMoCo screwing up orders) and I was moving along.  We managed to get the rear center section in with the assistance of one brother, one father, 2 ratchet straps, and a pry bar due to some dimensional issues with the mounts being a bit too close together.  However, since they are all bushing mounts, they should be ok, although I am not sure I will be able to get it out, but I will cross that bridge if I come to it.


The weekend of August 20th and 21st was the first full weekend I had to work on the car and managed to get the front suspension, steering, and brakes installed and the rear suspension, CV shafts, and hubs installed so it was a big milestone with only minor injuries and a few pulled muscles due to torquing requirements.


I would like to thank the two tools that made this possible, specifically the “Adjuster” and that sweet sweet car lift that makes getting underneath this frame so much faster and easier.


Next up I need to buy some wheels and tires and get going on the brake lines and steering column.