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Old May 21st, 2018, 06:40 AM   #1  
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Stay w 15"s or move to 17 or 18"s

1972 cutlass supreme, just used for cruising.

I just checked the date code on my tires = 503. If I'm reading that right (pre 2000 date codes have only three digits) it translates to 50th week 1993 at the newest.

So even tho these tires only have 5 k ish miles on them and look good i.e. Not all cracked no bulges etc, I'm inclined to replace them.

I can get BFGs or Cooper Cobras in my size of choice 255-60-15s, but is there any value in going to a 17 or 18" rim/tire combo? A size like 255-45-18 is the same 27" tall as my current tire but is there any benefit to the increased rim size?

I would guess the lower profile tire would aid handling, but would the ride necessarily be rougher as a result?

Many modern cars run a 45-55 sidewall tire so I'm wondering if it's a good idea for older cars like ours?
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Old May 21st, 2018, 06:52 AM   #2  
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I'm running 17" on my 72' on a torque thrust type rim. They look good and the car handles a bit better. The ride is a bit rougher but not too much. The rims look good and at first glance you don't notice they are 17".
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Old May 21st, 2018, 07:24 AM   #3  
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[QUOTE=RetroRanger;1096962 is there any benefit to the increased rim size?[/QUOTE]

Assuming all else is the same (same tread width, same tire OD) then the only difference is the shorter sidewall. Advantages are 1) less sidewall deflection so more precise handling, and 2) larger rim allows larger brakes. Disadvantages are 1) rougher ride, 2) more easily damaged rim on a pothole, and 3) forking out major bucks for new wheels. The aesthetics of big(ger) rims and "rubber band" tires are a personal taste issue.
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Old May 21st, 2018, 07:35 AM   #4  
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Personally, I prefer 15" with the taller sidewall, keeping more with original wheels and tires, and what the car was designed for by the Oldsmobile Design Studio.
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Old May 21st, 2018, 07:58 AM   #5  
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Personally, I prefer 15" with the taller sidewall
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Old May 21st, 2018, 09:33 AM   #6  
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I can get BFGs or Cooper Cobras in my size of choice 255-60-15s
I think you can get Mickey Thompson radials in that size, too.
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Old May 21st, 2018, 09:49 AM   #7  
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Unfortunately, 15" tires are going the way of 14" tires. The suppliers are drying up, and with it you get less value for your money. Tirebuyer lists only two tires in 255/60-15. The Cooper @ $117 w a T Rating and BFG's t a hefty $165 with an S (lower) speed rating.

I like the idea of a 255/45-17 to maintain the overall height. Tirebuyer lists tires starting around $125 but that goes all the way up to W speed rating which is much higher and should handle noticably better
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Old May 21st, 2018, 09:58 AM   #8  
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Tirebuyer lists only two tires in 255/60-15. The Cooper @ $117 w a T Rating and BFG's t a hefty $165 with an S (lower) speed rating.

I like the idea of a 255/45-17 to maintain the overall height. Tirebuyer lists tires starting around $125 but that goes all the way up to W speed rating which is much higher and should handle noticably better
S is SUSTAINED 112 MPH operation, T is sustained 118 MPH, and W is sustained 168 MPH. Any of them will be more than adequate for a 1970s vintage Cutlass.
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Old May 21st, 2018, 11:07 AM   #9  
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I know what the speed ratings mean, thanks
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Old May 21st, 2018, 11:49 AM   #10  
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Guess I'm just an old fart, but the huge rims with banana peel tires doesn't cut it. I like the more traditional wheel sizes on muscle cars. I recently put a set of 295/50-15's on 10" wheels on the back of my 66, and I love the look.
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Old May 21st, 2018, 01:00 PM   #11  
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Tirebuyer lists only two tires in 255/60-15. The Cooper @ $117 w a T Rating and BFG's t a hefty $165 with an S (lower) speed rating.
https://www.summitracing.com/parts/mtt-6028/overview/
Mickey Thompson Sportsman S/T Radial
255-60-15
T Speed Rating
$134.56
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Old May 21st, 2018, 01:07 PM   #12  
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https://www.summitracing.com/parts/mtt-6028/overview/
Mickey Thompson Sportsman S/T Radial
255-60-15
T Speed Rating
$134.56
I gotta say, I bought Radial TA's back in 2014 (I believe) when I had my 1979 Trans Am. Those cars need white letter tires and Radial TA's look great on them. However, at the time, I think they were $15 more than a Cooper would be. These days, you have to be out of your effing mind to pay that much more for a tire that is no better.
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Old May 21st, 2018, 01:50 PM   #13  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joe_padavano View Post
Assuming all else is the same (same tread width, same tire OD) then the only difference is the shorter sidewall. Advantages are 1) less sidewall deflection so more precise handling, and 2) larger rim allows larger brakes. Disadvantages are 1) rougher ride, 2) more easily damaged rim on a pothole, and 3) forking out major bucks for new wheels. The aesthetics of big(ger) rims and "rubber band" tires are a personal taste issue.

I agree, this has been debated here before on whether to update to larger rims or stay the same.

Personally I like the stock look of the super sports rims. If I acquired a car that had a distasteful to me hub cap, then perhaps looking at new rims would be an idea, along with looking at the better rim option, if any, for that model in that year.


I search ebay and craigslist for mid 70s cutlasses for sale, and large 20's and 22's on these cars to me looks funny. At car shows it gives us something to chat/laugh/debate...
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Old May 21st, 2018, 02:14 PM   #14  
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I gotta say, I bought Radial TA's back in 2014 (I believe) when I had my 1979 Trans Am. Those cars need white letter tires and Radial TA's look great on them. However, at the time, I think they were $15 more than a Cooper would be. These days, you have to be out of your effing mind to pay that much more for a tire that is no better.
To each their own. I would pay 50 -100 more for a tire to have a correct name on the sidewall. These cars we love came with B.F. Goodrich, Firestone, Goodyear or Uniroyal. There is no way I would ever have Cooper on my car. Cooper I believe made baseball gloves and other sporting goods and Cobra is a Ford name. In my opinion you might as well have Walmart on the sidewall. Perhaps I am out of my mind but at least I am principled.
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Old May 21st, 2018, 03:11 PM   #15  
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Very true on those brands whom made the rwl tires.
I went with Cooper personally as Cooper was once advertised by Paul Harvey, at that time the last American owned and American made tire. However being made in America has changed, as the Cobras are made in Mexico, but the all terrains I had on my truck were made in USA.
Like a prior poster said, companies that offer RWL tires, in 15" size, are now down to a few. I liked the look of the Cooper Cobra tires, the tread pattern, and standing out a bit at the shows. Not period correct true, but too each their tastes.
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Old May 22nd, 2018, 06:47 AM   #16  
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To each their own. I would pay 50 -100 more for a tire to have a correct name on the sidewall. These cars we love came with B.F. Goodrich, Firestone, Goodyear or Uniroyal.
To each their own but I don't see it. If you aren't running a repro, restoration style tire (I have Firestone Wide Ovals on mine) I don't see the difference. Plus, these cars were known for either Firestones or Goodyears, BFG wasn't a major supplier to them back then.
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Old May 22nd, 2018, 06:50 AM   #17  
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Very true on those brands whom made the rwl tires.
I went with Cooper personally as Cooper was once advertised by Paul Harvey, at that time the last American owned and American made tire. However being made in America has changed, as the Cobras are made in Mexico, but the all terrains I had on my truck were made in USA.
Like a prior poster said, companies that offer RWL tires, in 15" size, are now down to a few. I liked the look of the Cooper Cobra tires, the tread pattern, and standing out a bit at the shows. Not period correct true, but too each their tastes.
I know Cooper still manufactures in Ohio, but IDK about the Cobras, These days, Mexico is the good stuff. For my DD (245/45r18) I could only find one tire made in America, and it graded poorly in ice & snow. I ended up with a General tire, which is highly rated & I'm happy with, but they are made in Romania.
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Old May 22nd, 2018, 10:07 AM   #18  
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Cooper makes tires for multiple tire brands like Avon (motorcycle tires), Dean, Mastercraft, Mickey Thompson, Roadmaster, and Starfire. They also made all tires sold under the Sears Guardsman name. Cooper manufactures tires for Discount Tire Company under the Arizonian brand name, and Futura Tires for Pep Boys. Cooper Tire also manufactures Hercules branded tires in Findlay, Ohio. Cooper tires can be purchased at many tire retailers, like Tire Discounters, Pep Boys, Discount Tire, and more.
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Old May 22nd, 2018, 11:14 AM   #19  
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thanks for all the replies

I have a decent driver set of 15x7 SS3s painted black w decent trim rings and d rings, i like the way the rims look.

to go to 17s or 18s is ~$1700

replace tires only ~$500

replace tires an rims w another 15" rim ~$1200

I dont mind the look of the larger rim within reason (18") but for the extra ~$1k it looks like i buy slightly more precise handling and a slightly rougher ride. This will probably be the last set of tires i buy for this car ~2k miles a year, so i decided im just gonna stick w the SS3s and some new 15" tires
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Old August 8th, 2018, 05:51 PM   #20  
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Have 17s on mine and the new 15 inch SS1 wheels can’t come fast enough! The low profile Restomod look is just not for me
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Old August 9th, 2018, 08:14 AM   #21  
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I ended up picking up a set of 17's for mine. I still have my 14's with the repro Wide Ovals. I'll save those for show duty but as far as driving its a night & day difference. I went with a 245/50-17 to maintain an overall height close to stock

I think both look cool
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Old August 9th, 2018, 04:18 PM   #22  
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Have 17s on mine and the new 15 inch SS1 wheels canít come fast enough! The low profile Restomod look is just not for me
I agree, and the 14/15 inch radials handle just as well as 17 inch & larger low profile tires. The 14/15 inch wheels & tires also seem better proportioned to the original design of 64-88 cars.

Last edited by anthonyP; August 9th, 2018 at 04:33 PM.
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Old August 9th, 2018, 05:13 PM   #23  
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I have GM 15x7 inch big car steelie's on the 64-F-85. My opinion, in the early A-body's, low and straight is the way to go as far as stance and overall appearance. Currently have Hotchkis 1 inch lower springs in the rear and will replace to those with 2 inch to hopefully to level it out. Recently had the 3 inch mandrel exhaust installed an mentioned to them that I'm dropping the rear of car another inch and they said I should not have any clearance issues with their work. That said, if you guys install rear coil overs with a 2.5 or 3 inch exhaust you could have clearance issues-just saying....
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