What is it with me? I always seem to find the weak spots of a car to pick on. Am I a car bully?
But looking at this shot of this very original 1968 Cutlass Supreme Holiday Coupe shot and posted by nifticus, with its rather advanced styling elements that built on the ’66 Toronado’s integrated rare quarter panel and C-pillar, I can’t help but notice that the designer’s ambitiously large bulging fender openings are completely mismatched with the original sized wheels and tires (7.75 x 14). Even the 4-4-2’s slightly wider F70 x 14 tires weren’t going to solve that problem by any meaningful amount. This looks rather pathetic. And of course, it was emblematic of the times; why didn’t they just spring for bigger 15″ wheels and fatter tires? Oh right; it would have cost them a few bucks more.
No wonder most of these now sport much bigger wheels and tires.
That’s more like it, without going overboard.
It’s not like this is some six cylinder stripper either; the Cutlass Supreme was more well endowed under the hood than under the wheel wells; the Cutlass Supreme came standard with a 310 (gross) hp version of the Olds Rocket 350 (5.7 L) V8. If that was too much for you, there was a credit option of the 250 hp low compression version with a two-barrel carb. But no sixes allowed!
Just pretend I didn’t ruin it for you by pointing out those little donuts, and savor its sleek and curvaceous bod.
The wheels clash with the color. Flat black calls for some rusty chrome Cragar-type wheels or oxidized five-slot mags shod with off-brand white letter tires, and maybe a bit of rake.
Factory hubcaps and (they even managed to find!) whitewalls would pair much better with a nice metallic green or something in the gold-bronze-brown part of the color wheel. Or at least trying to get a shine out of the black paint that’s there.
Longer! Lower! Wider! For 1968!*
*unless it costs more money
The Colonnades that followed were just as bad in this department, if not worse. My ’74 Malibu came with G78-14**, IIRC, just a tad wider, but I think the 73-77 A-bodies were heavier. I couldn’t afford 15″ wheels, so I swapped the G78-14 for 225/70R14, which did help some.
**I believe the base Malibu 6 came with F78-14
Yessir… even my 77 Chevelle sedan is a victim of the small wheels and tires, though it sports the original 15″x6″ wheels with stock sized (GR78-15, or 215-75-15) tires, they look like pizza cutters under it.
Some people run 255 or wider tires just to make it fill out the wheel wells, which I plan to do now that I have some wider 15″ wheels.
I double-checked oldcarbrochures.com and the Malibu 6 came with E78-14!!
I totally agree, typical of GM to cut cost in ridiculous ways. I still have the original wheels on my only vintage car these days, a ’69 (same body as ’68) Cutlass Holiday Sedan 4 dr hardtop that has Hankook P215/75/14s at the moment, but I’m considering 15″ wheels and slightly wider tires, the problem is I’d like to keep original wheel covers and whitewalls.
I will say (confirming my own hunch above) the pale green 4 door looks a lot much more “right” with the stock setup than the flat black coupe does.
The bulbous wheel arches compound the problem visually. Necessitating larger diameter, and wider wheels, and tires, to look correct. The body itself, looks a bit ‘bloaty’. Especially, noticeable in the first and third pic. Somewhat corrected on the ’70 Cutlass.
I don’t think the diameter needs to change past period correct diameters of 14-15”, just the width or even just the backspacing(or wider track) to set them further out.
The Toronado powered concept is a good example, just look at how much better this sits
Hope they’re going to paint it. Looks , “not done”. The precarious “tilt” to the antenna grabs attention too.
I’m not liking the look of these, and not just because the tires and wheels are too small and/or inset. The shape is a bit off too. Look at that last pic with the side view; it’s less like a GM product from the Bill Mitchell era and more like something AMC would come up with.
We’ve grown used to seeing larger, wider wheels and tracks closer to the body sides (and higher beltlines).
My aunt’s ’69 Cutlass sedan had balloon tires–no WSW–which counterintuitively made the tires more prominent.
Wow, this one brings back memories. My father bought one of these for my stepmom right after they were married. Hers was dark green with the light green-gold interior and a black vinyl roof. Buckets, but no console.
I wonder if one problem with this one is the lack of the contrasting silver under the lower body trim. I think it was standard on Supremes and went up over both wheels too, which sort of thinned the body down a bit. I tried to find a photo of one with stock wheels but this is as close as I could get. Everyone either does wheel upgrades or repaints the car without the lower contrasting silver.
On further examination, the lack of the contrasting trim does indeed make the wheelhouses look larger than they are (and therefore makes the wheels look smaller).
That wheel arch trim is a good inch or inch and a half removed from the actual opening, and this dull black paint job is an effective camoflage for everything inboard of the chrome arches.
I think lower trim models offered wheel lip trim that was actually on the wheel lip, so without room for the contrasting lower silver paint.
As a retired Industrial Designer, I am still of the opinion that the ’68-’69 Cutlass/442 2 doors were one of the cleanest design’s to come out of Detroit in the ’60s. They have aged very gracefully, and compared to the majority of tortured “designs” of today look even better!
However, they do need “more meat” under them like the Nugget Gold ’68 442 wears. 🙂 Even the ’68 H/O is marginal for proper stance. DFO
Excellent points. I totally agree. Beautiful cars.
That pure goodness of that first year design. Mmmmm.
Found this one on the net.
How yah like them wheels?
All mid-size used 14 inch in this period. Partly to remain low. Big iron had 15 inch. The radial was new tech and expensive. Steel belts.
Do these wheels/ pants make my butt look big?
huge ass, Cutlass
I wonder if they’re the correct, original wheels. Even allowing for the skinny wheels and tyres of the era, these look too far ‘in’
A set of 15 x7 would improve things, and give a better tyre choice too.
My 68 is perfect for me after upgrades 24.9 front 24.10 rear