Biggest wheels and tires for '57 Buick Special?

Discussion in 'Classic Buicks' started by Dznuggets, Apr 19, 2017.

  1. Dznuggets

    Dznuggets Active Member

    Hey guys. I'm looking to put 18x8 steelies on my Buick. It currently has standard suspension with no modifications but I'm looking to put a 2" lowering kit to get my desired stance. Normally I would lower it first and then do the calculations but the car has sat for 30+ years, so the tires are barely holding air and I want to cruise it as is until I have the time to complete the suspension.

    1. Any ideas if the 8" rim will fill the well without rubbing?
    2. If so, any ideas for tire size?

    Purists need not reply and tell me that I should keep it stock. I'm moving forward with my plans to get my desired look. I'm looking for those who have modified and have the knowledge to assist me. Thanks in advance.
  2. TheRev

    TheRev Silver Level contributor

    Try posting over here, a lot more pre 62 guys to poll from (although you may have to wade through some "purist" opinions, just ignore them and listen to the ones that actually answer your question).
    Dznuggets likes this.
  3. 1972Mach1

    1972Mach1 Just some guy.....

    I've got no problems with your decisions.....I don't know if you've seen this one, but it's one of my favorite cars: 57.png
    Dznuggets likes this.
  4. Skiroule69

    Skiroule69 New Member

    Good to hear from another '57 Spec owner. I don't think you'll run into problems with clearance. These cars had 7" wide wheels stock (at least mine did) and the wheel openings are pretty big. With the stock wheels on my car, they sit 2-3 inches in from the fenders. I don't think 18x8s will be an issue. Just measure the heck out of everything before you buy.

    That being said, you ARE going to be limited on wheel selection if your car still has the stock front/rear suspension and drum brakes. First, Buick was still using obsolete ball bearing front hubs in '57, when everyone else had switched to roller bearings. The ball bearings required a larger hub. So while a standard GM 5x5 bolt pattern will match, the center hole of the rim is too small and they'll only go on so far. A LOT of aftermarket wheels have that same size (I know, I tried 15x8 Bassett's for a little vintage stock car influence, no go without having to machine the wheel centers out), so make sure whatever you go with has a larger center hole. Second, since the Buick drums use a trailer-style bolt to hold the wheel rather than a stud and lug nuts, there is a locator pin on each brake drum to help you get the holes lined up when changing tires. You'll have to hack that off or it'll interfere with aftermarket wheels.

    Third, the aforementioned wheel bolts, I'm not sure if you can find ones to work with an aftermarket wheel, which might pose a problem if you end up doing aluminums down the road, but if you're sticking with steel you should be able to use the stock ones.

    I learned the hard way when I bought my car. It had only two of the original steelies. The other two were barely installed steelies from a later model car. I quickly found out I needed two more of the original wheels to be able to fit properly.

    Good luck with your project and the mods! It sounds really cool! -Marc ***NOT a purist, just too poor to afford modifications!

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