Home › Forums › General Discussion › Seeking Advice: Wheels for my Bug-atti
- This topic has 10 replies, 4 voices, and was last updated 2 years, 9 months ago by Mark Radzin.
July 31, 2020 at 3:25 pm #307119
So the work on the Bug-atti is coming along fine… body is cut, tank is pulled and getting lined, and the next step will be reconstruction. Thanks for all the advice I got so far, and I will post pics of her as soon as I’m done.
Im starting to think about new wheels. She has 80’s alloy wheels which are not awful, but I’m not in love with them. I’d like to get her looking more period-correct, and so I’m thinking wire wheels (this would make her resemble a Type 37, which is great). Looking around the Internet, I’ve found few options that would work, mainly because there is very little wiggle room in terms of offset to keep the wheels more or less under the fenders— so most wheels that require adapters wouldn’t work. Custom-made wheels would be prohibitive in price. So it seems like it comes down to three options for me:
Option A: I found A set of 1970’s wire wheels in 7×15 that I believe would fit. My current wheels are 4.5×15 so the tires would appear bulkier (Which is a drawback), but if my calculations are correct they would only ride out 1/4” more than my current ones. The wrinkle is that while they are four-lug pattern, they are unilug wheels, with the offset washers that allow for multiple lug patterns. Looking at muscle car forums, some people swear by them, others hate them. Opinions From anyone familiar would be appreciated. The good news with this option is that I could use my current tires.
Option B: I have a friend who would sell me 1930-31 Model A rims for fairly cheap. These are 19” rims, which doesn’t leave a lot of room for tire, but if I used 400-19 tires they would not only work, but have a very period-correct look with the racing style tires. These are the only wheels I found that apparently would fit well with adapters, given how narrow the treads are. This would be far and away the most expensive option, as I would have to get wheels, tires, tubes, and adapters. Cha-ching.
Option C: This one I don’t even know if it’s an option, but I could look into knockoff adapters and go with some vintage British wire wheels. Therese would get a good look and I believe would also fit, but I am not aware of anyone who does knockoff adapters in a 4×130 lug pattern. If you do, I’d be interested to hear. If this worked, I may also be able to use my current tires, depending on what wheels I find.
I thank you in advance for any expertise, opinions, or advice that anyone would be able to share.August 1, 2020 at 9:28 am #307120Bill WellsParticipant
<p style=”text-align: left;”>I have no idea how much they cost but my ‘53 MG TD Fiberfab had Western fake wire wheels for her when I got her.
they are unbelievable!
I believe that wheels are the most important thing to bring a car’s appearance “Over The Top”.
I get at least three comments on the car every time I take her out! People rolling down their windows and shouting “cool car”. People taking pictures!</p>
Again, I don’t know how much they cost but they would be worth every penny!
I can’t figure out how to attach pictures but you could send me an email to email@example.com and I will send it pictures.
At 74, I have owned a lot of cool cars but these wheels are the coolest I’ve ever owned!
I literally would take out a loan to get them if I had to!
FiberFab FM1674 with Ford 302 V8. Denver CO looking for local club with events.August 1, 2020 at 10:12 am #307121
Bill— thanks for the input, I will email you for pics.
From a pure appearance angle, I don’t think I can do better than the Model A wheels: They will look period correct because they are. I would have to use a small section width tire of a size more often seen on motorcycles, but given the kind of driving I would be doing I don’t think that’s a big concern, and it would definitely give her that 20’s racer look. Next best thing for appearance would be knockoffs, as the Type 37 originally had, but not only do I not know if that’s a possibility, I am a little nervous about that technology, even though my understanding is they’re perfectly safe if checked often. Last in terms of appearance are the larger rim width wire wheels, but they’d still be an improvement over what I have now.
What size are the ones you run?August 1, 2020 at 10:12 am #307122Michael DavisParticipant
Get the Ford spoke wheels, no matter what you have to do to get them. As others have said, I would take a loan out to buy those. Nothing says ” I got this car but had to chintz out when it came down to the final thing ” more than a set of incorrect cheap looking wheels. That being said, I will probably step on some toes when I say this, but my Duchess MG TD replica came with the spoke hubcaps. Gawd awful! I thought they looked “kit car” the entire time they were on the car. I took them off, painted the rims silver, put on plain chrome VW hubcaps with MG logo centers, and the car has never looked better, in my opinion because that is how the originals looked. If I were to come across a set of true 19 inch spokers that would bolt to my car without adapters, I would snatch em up!
Try to make it look as “period correct” as possible. Just my thoughts and ramblings.
Oh yeh, you can buy un-drilled brake drums for VWs. Maybe do that and have a machine shop drill them to fit the Ford spokers, then no adapters?August 1, 2020 at 10:21 am #307123
Michael— thanks much for the advice! I am very much leaning toward the Ford wheels.
Just to be clear, I believe they WILL work with adapters. The 2-piece adapters will ride out the wheels slightly, but with the narrower rims I think I will still be under the fenders. I will double check my fitment to be sure, but as you say I can always invest in custom brake drums if need be.August 1, 2020 at 4:15 pm #307124
Well rather than just doing measurements in my head I entered the numbers into a CAD program, and while using adapters would work, the best solution would apparently be to get the custom brake drums done. If I go that route it may prove slightly more expensive depending on what price a machine shop can quote me for the drill & tap, but it would be a cleaner solution.
Thanks for that tip!
August 1, 2020 at 9:55 pm #307126edward ericsonParticipant
- This reply was modified 2 years, 10 months ago by Mark Radzin.
Mark, I adapted MWS wire wheels to my TDr and it absolutely pushed the outside of the tire out substantially—so much so I ended up sectioning and widening my fenders. (Blogged step-by-step at link).
If you wanted to go that route on your car I’d suggest getting a narrowed beam, They make a 2-inch narrowed one commercially that would have got the front wheels in under the fenders, though the rears would still have been wide.
Like you, I think the taller Ford wheels are the way forward. 19-inchers would look very correct in a way the 15s really cant touch.
TDs of course came with 15-inch steel wheels (not wires!) so the regular VW fare is pretty darn close to right.August 2, 2020 at 10:50 am #307127
Wow, I thought my project was technically ambitious, that fender job is amazing!
I’ve had a look at the Ford wheels, and I think it’s adapters or nothing with them. Drilling blank drums would center them better under the fenders, but I think there may be problems with the rim construction and how it would sit on the drum. The adapters would push them out far enough so that it wouldn’t be an issue. With the fenders as they are that would keep the wheels under them but not centered— OK but not ideal. I am going to give some thought to moving the fenders outboard a bit— because they’re not directly mounted to the body but are on brackets there may be a way to mod those to push them out a couple of inches.August 2, 2020 at 1:47 pm #307128edward ericsonParticipant
Fenders on brackets! You are in the money!August 14, 2020 at 9:04 am #307156
So I’ve been moving ahead with research for tires for the Ford wheels as I complete the major body work/gas tank project. With the fenders that I have, my best bet for tires would be the 400-19 size. They are just a little bigger than the radials I have on there now, and the low profile should give the car a great 1920’s racer look— exactly what I’m seeking.
So looking at tires, I looked at all the vendors who might have classic styled tires, and Coker is the only place that has 400-19 car tires. As I researched, I also came across motorcycle tires in the same size. Long story short, as I spoke to Coker about their tires, I noticed that the Duro HF308 motorcycle tire has better specs than the car tires and should fit on my rims… the Duro tire leads in these categories:
— 6 ply vs. 4 ply
— load index of 680 vs. 594
– While price is a secondary consideration, the Duro is about $60 per tire vs. $166
And they should fit on my 3” rims, as the minimum rim width is listed as 2.5 (no max listed).
just wondering if anyone has an informed opinion about this… I’ve done a bit of research and see on hot rod forums there are a good many people running motorcycle tires on cars (and vice versa for that matter, but that’s immaterial). I’m trying to see if there is any compelling reason not to go with these tires, and so far I’m just not seeing any. Thanks for any advice.August 14, 2020 at 9:42 am #307157
One more thing I forgot to mention— the tires are designed for sidecar motorcycles, so they have a flatter tread profile like a car tire, they are not designed for banking turns like many bike tires.
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