Over the years we’ve owned several vintage Fords and have equipped them with wheels from Vintage Wheels Works. In fact, we installed a set on the Highland Green ’69 Mustang shown here within a few days of buying the car in 2003. Up until 2007, it rolled on a set of VWW Vintage 45 wheels – the company’s first design – in a 16x8-inch size.
We love the timeless classic style of the Vintage 45s on this car and after thinking it over for at least a year and realizing high-performance tire choices were better in a 17-inch size, we made a good thing better by swapping to a set of 17-inch V45s. When combined with the car’s fairly radical lowered ride height, the 17s look fantastic and the ’69 has the exact vintage Trans Am, road-race look we wanted with a bit of a Pro Touring vibe thrown in. In addition to the ’69 fastback, we also have a ’67 fastback on hand here to give you an idea of what the wheel/tire combinations look like on two different Mustangs.
But Mustangs aren’t the only cars that look great with VWW wheels. We wanted to put some other vintage Fords into the mix as well and the ’67 Fairlane and ’68 Torino we have here do exactly that. We have four sets of VWW wheels to show you and you’re going to see them on just about all four of the cars here to help you decide what styles and sizes you might prefer on any of the cars that might be closest to your own.
Extensive fitment and sizing information follows in the photos and captions and for more on other styles available from VWW, be sure to check out the company website at www.vintagewheelworks.com.
As for tires, we have several different sizes – all Toyo Proxes 4s which is an outstanding all-season tire with a modern design that provides an ideal balance between wet traction and dry performance. It’s also available in numerous 16- and 17-inch sizes to allow you to really optimize your combination as we’ve done here. Let’s take a look.
Our first combination is the ’68 Torino GT fastback with VWW’s version of a Shelby 10-spoke wheel. Known as the Vintage 50 it’s available in 15-, 16- (one-piece) and 17-inch (two-piece) diameters and several widths. We went with a 17x8-inch size all around and very slight stagger in the Toyo tire sizes with 245/45ZR17 Proxes 4s in the rear and 235/45ZR17s in front. It’s a great combination to be sure and as you will see, this same set of wheels and tires also look outstanding on both the ’69 Mustang and ’67 Fairlane.
The Vintage 50s look right at home on the Torino, so we are going to keep them on this car for the foreseeable future.
Part of the just-right look on the Torino is due to the car being just a little bit lower than stock. We took about 1/2 of a coil out of the front springs and also installed a pair of one-inch lowering blocks in the rear. It’s a very mild drop that might not even be noticed if it isn’t mentioned, partly because it’s a pretty big car.
Here’s the Torino with the two-piece 17-inch Vintage 45s. The look is clean and modern, though here the car is at its stock ride height. Ideally, we’d opt for the car to be a little bit lower like the way it is with the V50s in place. These wheels are a 17x8-inch size in front and 17x9 in back. Tire sizes are Toyo 255/40R17s in front and 275/40R17s in back.
Our third wheel/tire combination on the Torino are these 16x8-inch V40s with Toyo 225/50R16 tires in front and 245/50R16s in back. Again, the car looks pretty good, but it would look better with these wheels if it was a little bit lower as it is in the pictures with the V50s. When we installed the V45 and V40 wheels on the Torino for the photos, it hadn’t yet gotten the lowering treatment that’s shown in the shots with the V50s. VWW’s Vintage 45 and Vintage 40 styles are very similar. The only real difference is the 45s have curved spokes and the 40s have straight spokes. Though all four wheels on this car are the same 16x8-inch size, there is a slight stagger in the tire sizing with Toyo Proxes 4 225/50R16s in front and 245/50R16s in back.
This is the ’69 Mustang with the 17-inch Vintage 45s and these wheels stay on this car almost all the time. This is staggered sizing for both wheels and tires with 17x8s in front and 17x9s in back. Backspacing for these wheels is 4½ inches for the front and 5 inches for the back. With the big 275/40R17 tire in back some fender rolling was required especially with this car’s low ride height in back with mid-eye leaf springs and one-inch lowering blocks. All VWW 17- and 18-inch wheels are two-piece, which means custom backspacing is available. Though the 17x9-inch wheels with a 5-inch backspace work on this car, a 17x9.5-inch in the rear with 6 inches of backspacing would be a better fit, because that would give another half-inch of clearance at the fender lip and still leave plenty of room between the tires and the car’s rear leaf springs. All five styles of VWW’s 17-inch wheels are available in 7-, 8-, 9-, 9.5- and 11-inch widths. Check the company website for more information on this and their new 18-inch V40s and V45s.
On the ’69, the 17s as shown here from the back of the car are an unbeatable look that we’ve achieved by getting this car’s stance exactly right. This was done by paying attention to front and rear ride height, wheel diameter and width, and tire size.
A Shelby 10-spoke pretty much looks at home at any Mustang fastback and the VWW 17-inch Vintage 50 wheels and Toyo tires are an awesome look on this car. We might swap them off the Torino once in a while to give this car the cool Shelby clone vibe shown here.
From a rear angle, the V50s, of course, also look stellar on the ’69 Mustang.
As with the 17-inch V40s and V45s, the V50s are also a two-piece design which allows custom backspacing orders.
The 16-inch Vintage 40s also fit well on the ’69. It’s definitely a hassle-free fit on any ’69-’70 Mustang to run a VWW 16x8-inch wheel of any style and 225/50R16 tires in front and 245/50R16s in back.
The ’68 Torino and ’69 Mustang look great on all the various sets of wheels and tires we have on hand, but ’66-’67 Fairlane two-door hardtops might be our most favorite Ford body style of all time as evident by this ’67 and how good it looks on the 16-inch V40 wheels. This car serves as the home for these the V40s and Toyo tires–225/50R16s in front and 245/50R16s out back.
The roofline on ’66-’67 Fairlane two-door hardtops is as downright cool as any ’65-’70 Mustang fastback.
Paused by the side of the highway on a road trip, the V40 wheels on the Fairlane clearly add to the look with a just slightly-larger-than-stock 16-inch diameter given that almost all cars in made in this era had usually only 14- or maybe 15-inch wheels.
Not really expecting it, we were surprised at how good the 17-inch V50s looked on the Fairlane from the front…
…and the rear.
This ’67 Mustang with its slightly lowered ride height in front and stock height in back looks great with the one-piece 16-inch Vintage 40s. With a 245/50R16 tire in back, you may or may not have to roll one or both rear fenders on a ’67 or ’68. Each car will be different. The other option would be to use a 225/50R16 tire in back.
From the rear, the ’67 also looks great with the 16-inch Vintage 40s. All 16x8-inch Vintage 40 and 45 wheels have a 4.5-inch backspace.
Here’s the ’67 with the two-piece 17-inch Vintage 45s. The look is clean and modern, though we’d opt for this car to be a little bit lower with the 17s like the way the ’69 is. As mentioned, tire sizes are 255/40R17s in front and 275/40R17s in back. Certainly 17s look good on ’67-’68 Mustangs, but these wheels look a little bit more proportionate on the ’69 as ’69-’70s look a little bigger than a ’67 or ’68.
Some prefer a more standard rim diameter and sidewall height closer to what early Mustangs came with when new. That usually means 15- or 14-inch wheels. VWW’s first V45 offerings were in a 16-inch size, with 17- and 15-inch sizes becoming available in later years. For comparison purposes, here are a set of 15-inch wheels on the ’67. These are 15x7-inch Vintage 45s all around with 225/60R15 tires also at each corner.
The Toyo Proxes 4 tire is available in numerous sizes in 15- to 22-inch diameters. But for classic Fords, the 15- to 18-inch sizes will be of the most interest, such as the 245/45ZR17 shown here. The Proxes 4 has increased silica in the tread compound for good wet performance and excellent dry performance. The aggressive, modern tread design provides a good balance between wet traction and dry performance and it’s optimum for evacuating water to improve wet traction and enhance directional stability. All in all, the Proxes 4 is a perfect tire for classic Ford cars and provides a smooth, quiet ride and increased all-season traction.
For comparisons in wheel diameter and tire height, we arranged the 15-, 16- and 17-inch wheels side by side so you can see the differences. Shown here from the left to right are a 15x7-inch Vintage 45 with a 225/60R15 tire, a 16x8-inch Vintage 40 with a 225/50R16 tire and a 17x8-inch Vintage 45 with a 255/40R17 tire. Note the 225/50R16 tire in the middle is a little shorter than the other two. This helps give the ’67 Mustang and ’67 Fairlane in the photos a very slight rake in its stance, which further improves the look of the cars.
We also wanted to show the 15-inch V45 with the rear tires that are on the 16- and 17-inch wheels on the cars used in the photos. From left to right are the 15x7-inch Vintage 45 with a 225/60R15 tire, a 16x8-inch Vintage 40 with a 245/50R16 tire and a 17x9-inch Vintage 45 with a 275/40R17 tire. All three of these tires have essentially the same height even though the rim diameters vary by one or two inches.
Toyo Tires See your local Toyo retailer www.toyotires.com
Vintage Wheel Works (714) 690-4700 www.vintagewheelworks.com