October 26th, 2015

They say, “Never skimp on things that go between you and the ground: bed, shoes, and tires.” There are a few things to keep in mind when selecting wheels and tires for your pro touring build.

While the standing order for a rim on a muscle car is the classic, five-spoke wheel, pro touring is not a market segment that looks to tradition for its cues. Wheels of all kinds are finding their way to the axles of ‘69 Camaros and ’67 Mustangs. While the purists will howl at the thought of a 10-spoke wheel on a muscle car, that isn’t exactly what you’re building, is it?

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Fesler FS914 – a three-piece aluminum wheel made by Asanti.

Starting with the basics, keep in mind that the whole reason people switched to the classic designs you see on big block machines in the movies was for the multi-piece design, not the number of spokes. Also, just because your build will see the road more than a straight track doesn’t mean a five-spoke design isn’t strong enough. The five-spoke look happens to have been what companies were making when the trend started but the aluminum construction is what’s important. Both types go through the same testing to meet the same standards.

So, what’s the takeaway? As we’ve said throughout this series, it’s, “Go with the look you like.” One, two, and three-piece modern, aluminum designs are all more than strong enough to take the punishment your engine will dish out. Buy good wheels from a reputable manufacturer and don’t worry about it. The important part is that you get a look that flows with, or accentuates, the rest of the vehicle.

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“Black Knight” – A Fesler Built 1969 Camaro with FS914s on it.

Now, on to measurements. Since a lot of pro touring cars are running wider wheels in the front than others are in the rear, it’s important to know what your build needs and what it can handle. Take the time in the beginning of the build to account for stance – how wide and tall you want your wheels and tires to be. Generally, a pro touring car will need very large brakes and so you won’t be able to get away with a wheel with less than 17-inches in diameter. Besides, it can be a real pain to find low profile tires for a 15-inch rim. Remember, less sidewall means better handling.

There’s also the matter of width. How wide do you want the tires to be? Will you need to widen the wheel wells? Making new tubs, especially in the rear, can be essential to cramming in that 12-inch wide wheel with 6-inch backspacing. Keeping the backspacing such that the wheel is centered is another important aspect of maintaining a strong setup, so a wide wheel is going to need a lot of room behind the hub. Wide wheels and tires equal more rubber on the ground and that gives you more control.

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Custom-widened wheel wells in a Fesler 1967 Mustang.

Tires are an area where some careful attention and research is needed when choosing a final product for use. It’s important to make sure you find out the measurements for the specific tire size on the wheel width you want. Not every tire will be the same width on every wheel you put it on. The different combinations of tire and wheel width mean that you need to figure out exactly how much rubber will hit the road with each combination you consider. In general, try to avoid getting a tire that is too wide for the wheel width you are using, again, to avoid the creation of sidewall bulge that will affect handling.

Also, keep in mind, while most tires have a speed rating of “Z,” a lot of those tires are actually higher rated than that – most customers just don’t need a tire capable of 149mph+. Check with the manufacturer or a knowledgeable shop to find those hidden treasures with a higher-than-advertised speed rating.

Back to wheels, there is one final point to be made about multi-piece, aluminum construction in wheels. These grant the ability to order custom wheels with exactly the right diameter, width and backspace for your build. Add to that the ability to interchange pieces for different width and backspacing later, as desired, and there’s just no beating this model for getting a beautiful wheel made just for your pro touring car.

Fesler Built, in partnership with Asanti, offers a line of three-piece, aluminum wheels with dozens of styles and possible configurations. Check out the full line at: http://www.shopfesler.com/asanti-3-peice-wheels/

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And remember, if you need advice or want help designing or building your Pro Touring car, Fesler Built is a full-service provider, with everything needed to put you in a turn-key machine! Visit our website, http://www.feslerbuilt.com or call us at (480) 748-2000 to talk about the right options for you!

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