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Mustang Monthly Feb. 07

Text and Photos by Miles Cook

Styled Steel wheels, offered as an option on '65-'67 Mustangs, provide a timeless classic appearance that looks great on any vintage Mustang. The trouble is, they've mostly been available in only the original 14-inch diameter, limiting tire choices. Some 15-inch versions are available, but tire choices are still limited.

These days, 17 inches is a default diameter for wheels in numerous automotive applications. California Pony Cars' NXT-Generation wheel division has combined a true favorite with the Styled Steel design available in a 17-inch size. It's the best of both worlds for those interested in a larger wheel diameter than the typical 14 or 15 inches.

In addition to the 17-inch Styled Steel wheels, CPC also offers several other choices for most eras of Mustang production, including the '05-'07 models. The options include a standard 14x6-inch variation of the classic Shelby 10-spoke style, two versions of a 17x8-inch Shelby 10-spoke, and two widths of a 20-inch Styled Steel, designed for use on an '05-'07 Mustang.

For all the details and fitment possibilities, check out the photos and captions. If you want to order any of the wheels shown here, Autoworks International, a Southern California distributor, has them available.

California Pony Cars' new line of NXT-Generation one-piece aluminum wheels includes everything shown here. Details on each wheel follow, but to summarize, there are...
...three variations and two sizes of Shelby 10-spokes, and two sizes of Styled Steels for a total of five options. At bottom right is a 14-inch Styled Steel CPC offered prior to the release of this new line of larger wheels.
At Autoworks International, we wanted to try a set of the 17-inch Styled Steels on an early Mustang. On hand at the shop was this '66 coupe that looked great with the 17-inch version with red center caps. Of course, blue center caps also fit these wheels for the perfect OE-type look on a '67 Mustang.
After talking with Autoworks about tire sizes in relation to ride height and fenderwell clearance issues, we determined the best thing to do when ordering a set of wheels is to consult with the company to determine which would work best. Tire sizes on cars with low ride heights will need more careful consideration compared to those with a stock ride height. For cars like this, CPC recommends 235/45R17 (shown) as a good size all around. For staggered sizes, a 245/45R17 might work in back, but be careful about fenderwell clearances. For larger '67-'68 cars, a 245/45R17 might be a good fit.
This is the same wheel as on the red car. It's a big hit for a classic Styled Steel-look, combined with a modern one-piece, cast-aluminum 17-inch wheel. There are several options, including two backspacing choices for the 17x8-inch size. The 4.75-inch backspacing is for vintage Mustangs. If you're interested in running these on a late-model, the 5.30-inch backspace fits '94-'04s. You could also install the 5.30-inch backspace wheels on a '79-'93 Fox-body Mustang, provided you convert the car to five-lug front rotors and rear axles.
CPC felt the 17-inch Styled Steel came out so well for '65-'73 and '79-'04 Mustangs that the next logical step was to offer the design for the '05-'07 model. That meant going big-make that huge-to a 20-inch version. In reality, they don't look that large on a new Mustang. The 20s on an '05-'07 are about as proportional as 18s on a '94-'04, so the current-model sizes are ideal. They include 20x9s for the front and 20x10s for the rear. You could also run 20x9s all around. The fenderwells on new Mustangs are so big that you have some latitude on tire sizes, but be careful. Consult with Autoworks, as well as other resources, when figuring out tire sizes. You could also take a page from the current Saleen S281 that comes with 20x9-inch wheels in front and 20x10s in back. Those cars ride on 275/35R20s in front and 275/40R20s in back. The 20s also accept the same red or blue wheel centers as the 17s.
Also new is this 17x8-inch 10-spoke wheel-a contemporary-size version of the classic style used on '66 Shelbys. These wheels have a clearcoat protective finish and a 4.75-inch backspace. As with the 17-inch Styled Steel, this wheel is available with backspacing to fit up to '04 Mustangs. Nicely finished, the spokes are face-cut to highlight and contrast the cast surfaces.
In addition to the natural clearcoat finish, the 17-inch 10-spoke wheel is available in black.
The original 14x6-inch 10-spoke wheels used on '66 Shelbys haven't been available for a while. With the introduction of the 17x8-inch 10-spoke, CPC is reproducing a limited number of these 14x6s with stylized center caps.


All contents, text and pictures of Autoworks International's web site are
Copyright 2006. To copy, written permission must be obtained.