In the decade of the 60’s, I was a Ford guy – just give me a ’69 Stang with a 428 Cobra Jet. But even being a Blue Oval fanatic, I always thought their cars had the least attractive factory wheels; either standard or optional. GM led the way with wheel design, with Chrysler way back in second and Ford a poor third. AMC I believe didn’t have a factory sports wheel, instead offering an aftermarket model as an option. Let’s look at some ‘60’s factory wheels (we’ll stick with mostly sports models) and chime in with your favorite…
Most Fords came with hubcaps in the 60’s – Ford seemed to stay with hubcaps longer than the other brands.
Beginning in 1965, Ford did offer a factory styled steel wheel as an option, similar to the attractive Magnum 500 manufactured by Lansing-based Motor Wheel Corp. Today, every restored Mustang or Fairlane seems to be sporting a set, but they must have been an expensive option back in the day, as you didn’t see them that often. Nice looking wheel.
Then in ’68, Ford came out with their factory “GT” wheel which was offered on their all sports models; Mustang, Torino, etc. I thought it was actually a step backward. It just seemed too plain to me, and in fact, took some of the allure away from the snazzy-looking ‘68-’69 Mustang and Torino bodies. Like wearing a pair of buckwing brown shoes with a tuxedo…
I’ll give Ford a little credit however – with one of the best aftermarket wheels of the ‘60’s, they made an icon…
Chrysler, like Ford, took awhile to come up with their own factory design. Chrysler offered the aftermarket Magnum 500 wheel – very attractive, here on a Road Runner.
Then in ’70, they came out with their factory “Rallye” wheel. It was a popular option and was produced through ’78. I thought it was a pretty nice wheel – not great, but unique enough that you knew your were looking at a Chrysler when you saw one.
GM was way out in front of the others when it came to wheels – each division had it’s own unique factory model that blended beautifully with Bill Mitchell’s breathtaking designs.
Chevy had their “Rally” wheel – used on Corvettes, Camaros and even Impalas. Nice wheel, but still a little too bland for me.
Olds had their “Super Stock II” – a really nice looking wheel. No doubt in your mind, if you saw a SS II, you knew immediately that the car was an Olds. Later versions came with painted spokes that matched the body color. I typically wasn’t a fan of painted wheels, but I thought these looked great. Had a set on my ’81 Cutlass.
Pontiac had the superb Rally II – first issued in ’67 and used on almost every model. Another unique design – you knew when you saw one there was a GTO, Firebird, Grand Prix, or even a big Bonneville riding on top. The Rally II was one of the reasons I preferred the Firebird to the Camaro – through both the first and second generations.
A great wheel – just ask Jimbo…
Lastly, there was Buick. Buick was more of a luxury mark than the other brands, but it had several sporty models in its lineup in the ‘60s; the Wildcat, Riviera, and GS 400. All of these came with the Buick “Rally Road” wheel, which was first offered in ’64. It perfectly blended luxury and sport in a great looking design.
So what’s my favorite – I actually think the Olds, Pontiac and Buick wheels are all very sharp, but if forced to choose, I’d pick the Buick by the slightest of margins.
Which is your favorite?