It usually doesn't take too long after we have arrived at a show before someone asks us if we have seen his car and how he can get it into the magazine. If it's a small enough show, we walk over to the car, check it out, and talk with the owner some more.
It's apparent right from the start that the owner has poured a lot of blood, sweat, and tears, as well as a considerable amount of green, into his build-up. But unfortunately, he missed the boat when it came time for the wheels. The biggest mistake we see is that many people buy the wheels and tires when they start the project which then takes a few years longer than expected to finish, so when the car is finally done, the wheel and tire combo is already out dated.
To explore just how dramatic of a change could be accomplished with no other modification than adding a set of wheels and tires, we went looking for a suitable candidate and found Darryl and Peggy Nance's restored '57 convertible. Darryl and Peggy own and operate D&P Classic Chevy in Huntington Beach, California (714/375-0889), and usually have plenty of Tri-Fives in various stages of construction, as well as a few classic examples they have held onto for their own collection. The convertible had received a restoration some years ago and had seen its share of road time. The white walls added a classic '50s look but begged for the burger tray and drive-in speaker props.
We were amazed at how good the classic looked after installing a set of 18- and 20-inch Colorado Custom wheels and Yokohama tires. The new tires were tall enough that they didn't look dwarfed in the fenderwells, but a couple of inches off the ride height would definitely complete the makeover. With the availability of dropped spindles and springs, achieving the lower stance is almost as easy as the wheel/tire swap.
Before you start the hate mail, let us clarify that we are not saying that you must run the latest and biggest set of wheels to get noticed. We're suggesting that you give a thought to the wheels and tires; there are other options besides Chevy rally wheels. We had another recent cover car that made a change from 15-inch rallies to 16-inch cast-finish five-spokes that made a night-and-day difference in the overall look of the car.
OwnersDarryl and Peggy NanceVehicle'57 Bel Air convertibleEngine350ci V-8TransmissionTurbo 350SuspensionRebuilt stock front and rearWheelsColorado Custom Paradox (18x8 w/4.5-inch bs and 20x8 w/4.5-inch bs)TiresYokohama AVS Sports (245/40R18 and 245/40R20)