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Hot Rods Mis matched wheels front and rear?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Utahvette, Oct 26, 2017.

  1. Utahvette
    Joined: Sep 4, 2012
    Posts: 250


    Looking through old pictures I've noticed that it used to be fairly common to have mis matched wheels front to rear on hot cars. I also remember local cars running around with non matching wheel combinations. I think it was an intentional choice rather than economic one like they didn't have enough money to buy matching wheels. The only reason I can imagine it would have been done on purpose would be for drag racing where you have a set of 4 street wheels and a different pair of rears for slicks that were mounted on cheaper wheels. Although many times the rears don't appear to be any less expensive. But that doesn't really explain why so many would do it on the street unless they were trying to copy what they thought was some drag racer look. There was a 1970 L-S6 Chevelle here in my town that the guy bought and mounted Tork-Thrusts on the front and Slots on the rear when it was still new so once again it appears money wasn't the issue. He certainly could have afforded matching wheels if he wanted. I'll admit I like the look on some cars but it is kinda strange to think people did it on purpose. Any other theories on this? 427 Chevelle.JPG Bob Runyon (5).jpg Stags 40 (5).JPG 16864154_10211694449093901_1941028744076866195_n.jpg 22851909_684258901780587_1016282668227123750_n.jpg
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2017
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  2. Wheels got mismatched for any number of reasons. Sometimes it was economic and others it was or is intentional. Example, I am going to run narrow Ansens on the front of my A sedan and Steelies reversed on the rear. It is for two reasons, one is I like the look and the other is that in my mind slots mags on all 4 corners looks too much like a good times van.

    Sometimes the wheels looked mismatched at the track and in reality they were not, for example Halibrand had front runners that didn't resemble the big window wheels at all. Narrow front runners often are not the same style wheel as the wider rears that held the slicks.

    I don't know if any of this makes any sense at all.
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2017
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  3. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 49,511


    I didn't know anyone who could afford 4 wheels at once...except one friend who bought them on credit.

    but I think the real reason was that if you were interested in going fast, there was no reason at all to make the wheels match. Wide out back, skinny up front, that's all that mattered.
    j3harleys, -Brent-, nunattax and 17 others like this.
  4. blowby
    Joined: Dec 27, 2012
    Posts: 7,883

    from Nicasio Ca

    [​IMG] Cause dragsters do it.
    pitman, Stogy, Deuces and 7 others like this.

  5. Squablow
    Joined: Apr 26, 2005
    Posts: 15,233


    This would be my guess. Some guys were buying pairs of big wide wheels to run drag tires on and they wouldn't necessarily match because they were only used at the track, then some people jumped on that as a "look" to show that you're a racer and have big wide tires in the rear, along with a few who just did it for cost.

    But I'm just guessing.
  6. Slopok
    Joined: Jan 30, 2012
    Posts: 2,657


    Mag spokes on the front and either chrome reverse or stock type steelies on the rear painted 1/2 black & white was a very common look in the Midwest in the 60's & 70's!
    Nicholas Coe and 55 Ford Gasser like this.
  7. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 49,511


  8. dana barlow
    Joined: May 30, 2006
    Posts: 4,428

    dana barlow
    from Miami Fla.
    1. Y-blocks

    Basic stuff,hot rods used "I"beam axles up front,why,cuz is what parts we had,was what racers used,now come some real basic,big/wide wheels on rear get better bit=go faster faster. Small/thin wheels on front roll EZer,cut wind better and are liter= Goes faster faster,less likely to bounce with bumps an the shocks of the day{or anyday}=less likely to deathwabbel. So look of what works well ,becomes look of both speed an cool. Same size all around works best on customs,an thats cool too,but if lower much,small fronts are needed to clear front fenders. like I said,basic,what works is cool,what dosen't ,is not.
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2017
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  9. And I know a guy around here that has a red, white & blue 56 Chev with chrome slots on the rear and torque-thrusts on the front.:)

  10. 64 DODGE 440
    Joined: Sep 2, 2006
    Posts: 4,291

    64 DODGE 440
    from so cal

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  11. Mr48chev
    Joined: Dec 28, 2007
    Posts: 29,779


    I knew several guys who did it in the 60's because they thought it gave the car a drag car look. I don't think any of those cars ever saw a drag strip though.
    Had friends in the 70's that ran matching mags on all four corners and a pair of slicks on steelies for the drags. That was standard procedure then. Put the slicks in the trunk with the tools and jack, drive to the track, unload the trunk, put the slicks on, uncork the headers and go race.
  12. Deuces
    Joined: Nov 3, 2009
    Posts: 20,914

    from Michigan

    Chrome steelies in back and skinny Torq-Thrust mags up front... Oh, yeah! ;)
  13. chevy57dude
    Joined: Dec 10, 2007
    Posts: 6,466


    It was rare to ever buy new wheels. That was for the wealthy! Way cheaper to buy used, so the look was secondary to the fit.
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  14. slowmotion
    Joined: Nov 21, 2011
    Posts: 3,276


    I did it, several times. I liked the look & still do. The first was skinny chrome slots on front, wider chrome reverse on back. That was more due to economics at the time, but it worked for me. Even today, I have a pair of TT five spokes on the shelf destined to be fronts someday. Rears, probably painted steelies, unless I run into a pair of deep chrome or aluminum slots (& depending on what turns up as project). Lots of mismatched wheels were run back then, be it economics or on purpose.
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  15. 197.jpg 289.jpg 465.jpg 486.jpg It's just an easy, and fun thing to do!:confused: 197.jpg
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  16. 57Custom300
    Joined: Aug 21, 2009
    Posts: 1,364

    from Arizona

    Seems like we used to do it a lot back in the 60's. As some have mentioned, who could afford 4 new wheels back then. My personal choice were ET's on the front and chrome reversed in the rear.
  17. jnaki
    Joined: Jan 1, 2015
    Posts: 6,079


    upload_2017-10-27_5-34-57.png upload_2017-10-27_5-18-21.png Brissette, Quincy, Eichenhofer Roadster
    upload_2017-10-27_5-20-17.png 1959 Colburn-Glaze

    What a great topic. The 50’s and 60’s were the time period of mismatched wheels on drag racing cars. They influenced the look on the street for a lot of hot rods. Our stock cars sometimes had mismatched wheels because of changing the stock rims with slicks in the back. But, most of the wheels matched for the street, whether or not it was a racer, custom, or roadster.

    When you went to the drags, the trunk popped open and out came the slicks. So, most of the time, they were black on black, but there were whitewall slicks on rims that were handy, regardless of color.
    upload_2017-10-27_5-28-27.png upload_2017-10-27_5-28-42.png
    Junior Thompson Willys and the Juggers Bantam

    The drag racing coupes and sedans had the “Bigs and Littles” like the FED racers. So, the mismatched rims always came into play. But, most of the time, it was put on the slicks that were mounted on any rim available at the time.
    Carl Swift Ford
    upload_2017-10-27_5-34-57.png 1958
    My brother went through a stage of gold rims all around, small hubcaps, then full hubcaps and finally all black rims on his 58 Impala. But, in this photo, we had just purchased a set of cheater slicks for the A/Stock races. The handiest rims were from the scrap yard near our house, black 15” Chevy rims. (Stock 14” in front and 15” in back. Single run, time trials were ok for the cheater slicks, but for the eliminations, the stock rims and wheels had to get put back on the rear.)


    Sometimes, I felt like I was the head “Indy Pit Row Tire Installer” between rounds.

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Oct 27, 2017
  18. Jibs
    Joined: May 19, 2006
    Posts: 1,614


    Because it looks good, in my humble opinion. My coupe photo shopped by "the Moose" rsz_done.jpg
  19. saltflats
    Joined: Aug 14, 2007
    Posts: 10,904

    from Missouri

    08-11-2017 024.JPG
    It was all I had to work with.
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  20. 40fairlane
    Joined: Aug 31, 2008
    Posts: 51


    I bought the car with the wheels same front to and back.Then bought new tires for the front found out they were tube only rims so I had them put on some wheels I had ? I am not sure if will change the rears to match the front ?

    Attached Files:

  21. joeyesmen
    Joined: Dec 24, 2010
    Posts: 494


    I just set up my roadster this way, because it reminds me of the cars I used to see growing up in the '60's, all the really bad-ass ones looked like this. Sometimes you see deuce roadsters that look so street-roddy and perfect -- this way looks more purposeful, and less goody-goody. Feels period-correct, in an odd way. (If the period in question is the late '60's-early 70's).

    Screen Shot 2017-10-27 at 8.57.38 AM.png
    Screen Shot 2017-10-27 at 8.50.53 AM.png
    Also a chance to be less cookie-cutter and predictable. Nothing cooler than a set of mismatched pie crust slicks.
    Screen Shot 2017-10-27 at 8.50.29 AM.png
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  22. My 34 coupe I'm working on

    IMG_8633.JPG IMG_8823.JPG
  23. Tim
    Joined: Mar 2, 2001
    Posts: 12,806

    from KCMO

    Honestly most people did/do it for looks but there are a few other reasons that come into play

    -different bolt pattern front and back and some wheels don’t come, or aren’t found easily in one of the patterns

    - Front wheels weight less

    - wheels aren’t available in the offset / size needed for the front or back

    -they are exspensive! I know a lot of guys who bought wheels for one end that blew the whole budget so they went with a cool but different and cheaper wheel on the other end. By the time you pay for those spindle mount mag wheels up front your just praying the junk yard has the right sized steelies for the back!
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  24. zzford
    Joined: May 5, 2005
    Posts: 1,823


    Ditto in the Southeast during the mid-late sixties.
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  25. wicarnut
    Joined: Oct 29, 2009
    Posts: 7,816


    Back in my day 60's only matched set I ever had was chrome reversed purchased at JC Whitney, had my homemade reversed 15" Chevy wheels with recap street slicks that I took on and off (bad in rain and it snows here in Wi.) Had these wheels and tires for several years 64-71 as I was Chevy guy, 57, 56, 58, 64, 65 and throw in a few Fords and 1 mopar. I had several mismatched sets from buying used mag wheels in pairs from guys. As a kid/ young man was always a day late and a dollar short, working 2 jobs, traded/bought/repaired/improved and sold cars often.
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  26. Latigo
    Joined: Mar 24, 2014
    Posts: 663


    image.jpg Because it was just cool with the cheater slicks! About 1967.
  27. 302GMC
    Joined: Dec 15, 2005
    Posts: 6,920

    from Idaho

    Sometimes we'd buy the wheels and have to find a car to put them on. These "Rocket" 14'' x 7'' rears had no air slots, being made by cutting '49-'53 Chev centers down and welding into"GTO outers" or rims. Stock Chev caps or baldies made for one of the smoothest wheels on the street. It took all summer to find 2 more for the front, as they weren't in production more than a few years. HPIM9237.JPG

    Attached Files:

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  28. partssaloon
    Joined: Jan 28, 2009
    Posts: 511


    I'm with Squirrel, it works for me. 4-11-2014-2.JPG
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  29. 20171009_124211-1.jpg
  30. I bought my parent's old daily driver Olds while I was in the military. Didn't have much $$$ so I mounted my Casler recaps on stock, black Olds rims and put chromies on the front. For the photo I put both chrome wheels on one side. Hey, I shoulda taken a photo of the other side with cheater slicks on front and rear.
    I kept the chrome wheels when I sold the Olds and put them on my new 57 Pontiac. I took another photo with [again] both chromies on the same side....cheaters on the other side for the photo.
    55olds.jpg 57Ponchoonstreet.jpg
    Deuces, Ron Funkhouser and Tim like this.

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