New tires and wheels

When we put this Shelby GT 350 together, we were in a hurry, and a set of 15x7-inch REV (licensed by American Racing Wheels) appeared on eBay Motors with lugs, caps and even a socket to fit the lug nuts. We clicked “Buy It Now” and, for $600, temporarily solved our problem. We picked up some 225/60-15 Kumho tires and got rolling.

After a bit of testing and a little research we decided we wanted to move to 16” wheels to get some stickier tires. It seems hardly any real performance tires are made in smaller sizes any more. While they rode and handled surprisingly well and were very quiet, the 15” Kumhos we had chosen were not ultimate performance tires.

Still, we wanted a period correct look, so after a bit of research, we chose Vintage Wheel WorksV45 wheel, which looks a lot more like a real vintage wheel than the REVs we had first chosen.

We opted for 16x7-inch up front, but went to 8-inch wide wheels at the rear to put a little more tire under our nearly 500 horsepower Shelby. At less than $1000 for the set, we would have been better off to plan this up front and skip the 15-inchers.

These Vintage Wheel Works wheels look perfect and seem to be very well made. A little fender-rolling is necessary to avoid rubbing issues in the front. The backspace is 3.75 inches front, 4.5 inches rear.

The 225/55ZR16 size BFGoodrich g-Force Sport COMP-2 tires certainly look the part on an old Shelby Mustang and while no taller than the 15” tires we had on at first, are a bit wider.

We have suffered no degradation in ride quality or noise levels, but the combination of running a more performance oriented tire on slightly bigger and (at the rear anyway) wider wheels has improved the already good handling of this car to the level that we feel completely confident now at higher open country rally speeds.

This tire also gives us a Z speed rating which is safe at speeds beyond what this car is capable of running. This tire is the one chosen for Millers Driving School, as well as the school and race series at Skip Barber. At $122 each at the Tire Rack, they’re not very expensive either. We are very happy with this tire choice and feel it complements the looks, performance and intended rally and light track use we have planned for our Shelby.

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