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Where the Rubber Meets the Road

Published in Technical
Written by  Peter Sant 25 October 2012
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Studebaker engineers were way ahead of their time. ( where have you heard that before). Before the second world war Studebaker designed cars with economy in mind. This was attained by relatively small engines with very light cars. The Studebaker engineers continued this lightweight thinking into later model cars which some of them by now are over 50 years old.

One of the weight saving items was the wheels. Studebaker used 15 inch wheels since 1947 other than the one year in 1958 when they switched to 14 inch wheels more for appearance than weight savings. These wheels were very light weight. Now after rust and fatigue they present a safety factor for current owners. This is compounded by owners attempting to use the new radial tires.

You know that you have a problem when your wheel discs fall off when you go around a corner or go over a bump in the road. The old rims flex and flex badly.

My suggestion is to find a late model rear wheel drive car such as a 1970 Chrysler or Ford at your local junkyard and after a thorough inspection to determine that they run true install these on your car.

If you plan on installing radial tires on your original Studebaker rims I would not go over a 195 X 75X 15 R and these are hard to find. Also they look a bit small on an older Studebaker.

Newer Chrysler or Ford rims can accommodate 215 X 70 X 15 with no problem and look right on most cars.

If you use the Ford rims be sure to use the Ford lug nuts as they are bigger to fit the Ford bolt holes.

Keep an eye on your wheels and remember that little patch of rubber at each corner is all that there is between your car and an accident.

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