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Old 09-17-2019, 08:30 PM   #1
Hot Rod Reverend
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Default Best Way to Spot Original Wheels at a Swap Meet?

Fellas,

Things are going well on the 55, been a busy summer and have not posted here much but if you get on the website at hotrodreverend.com you can read, see, and hear about my bout with ethanol fuel - what a difference pure gas makes on all fronts.

I am going to Fall Carlisle and will be on the lookout for a set of wheels - would like to get original 55-56 Ford wheels. The plan is to have a set for shows that have WWW mounted on them.

What do I need to look for on the rim itself to know that it will fit, is the right size, and that it is for a 55-56? I assume all 52-56 Ford wheels that were 15" were the same but I really do not know. I know that Ford made a 16" and a 14" also. Obviously, look for the oval and the FoMoCo stamped inside, but beyond that did Ford stamp part numbers somewhere?

thanks!
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Old 09-17-2019, 08:50 PM   #2
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Default Re: Best Way to Spot Original Wheels at a Swap Meet?

Yes - all the wheels were 15 inch. Other than that I don't have any info on offset or rim width.


All sedan/Tbird rims had 5 on 4 1/2 inch lug pattern. Trucks were different.
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Old 09-17-2019, 09:34 PM   #3
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Default Re: Best Way to Spot Original Wheels at a Swap Meet?

There are some differences between the '52/56 OEM wheels and later" wheels.
The later wheels have a small recess all the way around the inner diameter, so when the tire is removed, you see a little bumpout that runs around the inner part of the rim. Also, the later wheels lay more flat between the hub cap bumpout and the outer rim, however they have the outer rim positioned such that they have identical measurements with the old style wheels in respect to the distance between the rim and the brake drum mounting surface. Also, the newer wheels don't have as much material turning down into the air slots for brake drum cooling as the old wheel does. It looks like the metal was cut at a shorter radius on the newer wheels than the older ones.
If ya wanna wait till tomorrow, I have an original '55 wheel without tire mounted I just finished cleaning, sanding and painting, but it is not clear-coated yet. It's too dark to take photos now, but tomorrow I will take photos of all these differences and post them of both the newer wheel and the original '55 Ford wheel so you can compare.
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Old 09-18-2019, 01:11 AM   #4
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Default Re: Best Way to Spot Original Wheels at a Swap Meet?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hot Rod Reverend View Post
Fellas,

Things are going well on the 55, been a busy summer and have not posted here much but if you get on the website at hotrodreverend.com you can read, see, and hear about my bout with ethanol fuel - what a difference pure gas makes on all fronts.

I am going to Fall Carlisle and will be on the lookout for a set of wheels - would like to get original 55-56 Ford wheels. The plan is to have a set for shows that have WWW mounted on them.

What do I need to look for on the rim itself to know that it will fit, is the right size, and that it is for a 55-56? I assume all 52-56 Ford wheels that were 15" were the same but I really do not know. I know that Ford made a 16" and a 14" also. Obviously, look for the oval and the FoMoCo stamped inside, but beyond that did Ford stamp part numbers somewhere?

thanks!

HRR............a little off topic but everything that I have with a carb gets non-ethanol gas. Works amazingly better!!
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Old 09-18-2019, 06:14 AM   #5
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Default Re: Best Way to Spot Original Wheels at a Swap Meet?

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Originally Posted by Daves55Sedan View Post
There are some differences between the '52/56 OEM wheels and later" wheels.
The later wheels have a small recess all the way around the inner diameter, so when the tire is removed, you see a little bumpout that runs around the inner part of the rim. Also, the later wheels lay more flat between the hub cap bumpout and the outer rim, however they have the outer rim positioned such that they have identical measurements with the old style wheels in respect to the distance between the rim and the brake drum mounting surface. Also, the newer wheels don't have as much material turning down into the air slots for brake drum cooling as the old wheel does. It looks like the metal was cut at a shorter radius on the newer wheels than the older ones.
If ya wanna wait till tomorrow, I have an original '55 wheel without tire mounted I just finished cleaning, sanding and painting, but it is not clear-coated yet. It's too dark to take photos now, but tomorrow I will take photos of all these differences and post them of both the newer wheel and the original '55 Ford wheel so you can compare.
Thanks Dave, I appreciate that. Carlisle is not until the first weekend in October.
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Old 09-18-2019, 06:15 AM   #6
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Default Re: Best Way to Spot Original Wheels at a Swap Meet?

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HRR............a little off topic but everything that I have with a carb gets non-ethanol gas. Works amazingly better!!
I have no scientific proof of it, but the engine does seem to have more pep. That could just be because of the octane increase however.
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Old 09-18-2019, 06:53 PM   #7
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Default Re: Best Way to Spot Original Wheels at a Swap Meet?

The metallic blue wheel is an original 52/56 Ford 15x4.5, while the aquatone blue wheel is actually a later version. If this is not confusing enough, there is at least one other later version, I once had a complete set of, probably made in 1970's for the Torino models. I don't have photos of that version though.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Wheel2A.JPG (108.8 KB, 35 views)
File Type: jpg Wheel2.JPG (106.6 KB, 34 views)
File Type: jpg Wheel3.JPG (123.1 KB, 34 views)
File Type: jpg Wheel4.JPG (124.9 KB, 33 views)
File Type: jpg Wheel5.JPG (116.9 KB, 33 views)
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Old 09-18-2019, 06:57 PM   #8
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Default Re: Best Way to Spot Original Wheels at a Swap Meet?

HRR, be sure to click on the photo to enlarge so you can read a short description of the differences between the '55 wheel and later version.
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Old 09-19-2019, 06:15 AM   #9
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Default Re: Best Way to Spot Original Wheels at a Swap Meet?

Great Info! Dave, I wonder if some of these differences give guys fits when they try to mount original wheel covers or those fancy Tbird wheel covers with the prongs and all. Seems there is enough variance to make a difference and I would think that unless you had two side by side it would be hard to tell the differences from memory.

thanks so much!
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Old 09-19-2019, 09:23 AM   #10
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Default Re: Best Way to Spot Original Wheels at a Swap Meet?

HHR, I have both kinds on my 55. Original full wheel covers go on both with no problem.
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Old 09-19-2019, 09:34 PM   #11
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Default Re: Best Way to Spot Original Wheels at a Swap Meet?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hot Rod Reverend View Post
Great Info! Dave, I wonder if some of these differences give guys fits when they try to mount original wheel covers or those fancy Tbird wheel covers with the prongs and all. Seems there is enough variance to make a difference and I would think that unless you had two side by side it would be hard to tell the differences from memory.

Actually, no matter which of the three versions of the 15" wheel you have, they will all accept a 15" full wheel cover with no problems.
Since the 1970's I have had all three versions in my hands up close and personal, and have had occasion to take a trip to the junkyard for the purpose of finding a duplicate '55 Wheel. Knowing the differences by sight allowed me the opportunity to be picky and get the original 52/56 Ford wheels rather than settle for something that would work, but not look the same as my other wheels on the car.
The Lord blessed me with an eye for detail and fairly good memory at least up to this point, that I don't need to carry around samples if I need a duplicate of anything. Praise the Lord for that.
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