'62-'67 Nova Tire Fitment
According to Wayne Bushey of National Nostalgic Nova (the following is a quote from the 8/00 issue of Chevy High Performance
"The ideal wheel is a 15x7 with 4.5" backspacing. This wheel will fit every '62-'67 Nova without a single
modification. The '66 and '67 have different rear fenders, so you should be able to fit an
8-inch-wide wheel under the rear without too much trouble. As far as tire size is concerned,
a 235/60-15 is your best bet. However, a 255/60-15 will fit under the rear in the '66 and '67 models.
If you're willing to cut and weld, you can move the rear springs inboard on the frame for even
more clearance. The fattest tire we found with this mod was a 265/55-15, but it's a lot of work."
David Shipman said G60-14 bias-plies fit on the rear of his '64 back in
the '70s. They were mounted on 14x7 Pontiac Rallys and fit great.
He believes the wheels had a 4.5" backspacing, but he's not absolutely
sure. A G60-14 is about the same as a 235/60-14.
Wes said 205/65-15s fit the front of his '62 400 hardtop on 15x6s with no rubbing, and
he's got 255/65-15s on the rear, no rubbing there, either.
Another source said he fit 29.5-9.0/15 Mickey Thompson wrinkles on the back of
his '66 Nova and didn't indicate any problems.
Still another source said 245/60-15s fit on the back of his '67 without problems.
One more person e-mailed to tell me that he's got an unmodified '62 with 165-15s on the front and
255/60-15s on 15x7s with 4.5" backspacing out back and they don't rub at all.
From many different people:
15x3.5 with 165R15 fits without rubbing.
15x5 with 3.5" backspacing and 185/65-15 fits
185/70-14 on stock wheels(14x5.5) fits but looks too short
215/75-14s don't work well on the '62-'65s using stock 14x5 wheels. The fronts
rub the forward wheel opening quite a bit. They were way too tall and didn't look good.
More General Information
Tom provides the following:
- a 165/15 tire on a 15x3.5 wheel will not fit on the front of a '62-'65
- a 165/15 tire on a 15x3.5 wheel will fit on the front of a '66-'67 but will rub slightly
- a 135/15 tire on a 15x3.5 wheel will fit the front of a '62-'65
- caster affects front tire clearance
- a 225/70-15 on a 4.5" backspaced 15x7 will fit the rear of a '62-'65
- a 235/60-15 should also fit, but Tom hasn't verified it
- a 26x10.5 on a 15x7 wheel with 4.5" backspacing fit Tom's '66 after moving the springs inboard
- on either generation you can gain about three inches of tire clearance by moving
the springs inboard and using properly backspaced wheels
Pete has a beautiful '62 convertible and is running 225/60-15s on 15x7s with 4.5" BS out back and
205/60-15s up front on 15x6s with 4" BS. No rubbing at all.
Mike has 17x8 Billet Specialties all around on his '63. The tires are 235/40-17 up front and 255/45-17 out back. He said that 265/40-17s would fit out back without problems on 17x9.5 wheels and he plans to make that change in the future. The rear has been mini-tubbed with a 4-link and coil-overs, so don't think you'll be fitting those shoes on the back of your stocker! He's also got a Martz tubular control arm front clip. Feel free to e-mail
him if you have any questions.
New Info: Mike is quite confident he'll be able to fit some 315/35s on the rear of his '63! Now keep in mind this car is far from stock and his findings may not apply to your particular project, but they're interesting nonetheless. He has fit 285/40s on there with a couple inches of clearance.
Mike suggests keeping the front wheel width to 7" with front subframes that have straight rails. The rails in kits from companies such as TCI and C.A. Chassisworks can accomodate 8" wheels up front. Also, Mike has some pretty strong opinions about the Martz front clip he used on his '63. If you're considering one I urge you to contact him and ask about it. Click here to send Mike an e-mail.
Danny is running 245/60-15s on 15x7 wheels with 4.75" backspacing the back of his '63 and it only rubs while cornering with passengers in the back seat, and the car is slammed!
David has a beautiful '63 Convertible and put some very nice 17" wheels in it from Intro Wheels. They were custom made by Intro and delivered within two weeks and they fit great! I haven't received tire size or wheel width or backspacing information, but as soon as I do I'll post it here.
Jim Miller is running 195/70-14s on the front and 225/70-14s out back on his '64 Nova 100 wagon
(with a V8, power steering and brakes, factory air, and tinted windows)
and they don't rub. The wheels are off a Camaro and he's not sure the sizes or backspacing, he's
checking into it.
Wayne Hemingway is running 195/60-14s on the front and 225/70-14s out back on his '64 Nova
and the rears rub very slightly on one side under compression. The wheels are Buick rallys from a
Regal and are 14x6 with 3.75" backspacing.
Wayne sent me some new info recently. He's now running 225/60-14s on all four corners with the same wheels
as before. The fronts had some slight interference when first installed and the fender lip needed to be rolled
a bit up by the bumper.
After the tire swap, Wayne added disc brakes up front and dropped in a 355/TH700 combo which caused more
clearance problems because the discs push the wheels out farther than the drums and also because of the
added weight of the small block.
Here's a recent picture:
Glyn has a '64 SS with factory air, 4-speed, and a Tuned Port Injection 350. He's got 16x7.5
Centerline wheels up front and 16x8s out back on a stock rearend. He's unsure of the backspacing,
he's going to check on it. The tire sizes are 205/55-16s up front and 225/50-16s out back. There
is less than one inch of clearance on the inside at the spring, less on the outside. No cutting was
done to accomodate the wheels and tires, but he did heat and hammer the inner wheel housing as much as
Up front he has an custom adaptation of some early Camaro brakes. The wheel openings have been
recontoured (although it's difficult to tell) to keep the tires from rubbing.
This is the only picture we've got at this time, he hopes to make some more available soon.
Glyn used to have 235/60-14 tires on 14x6 wheels all the way around which fit well, and that was before
the inner fender massaging.
Mike Varley is running 225/50-15 tires on King Speed Wheels. The fronts
are 15x7s with 4.25" backspacing, and the rear wheels are 15x7s with 4.75"
backspacing. He's got a stock rear suspension save the 3-leaf springs
and he has a Fatman Fabrications front end setup. His beautiful '64 is
running a '89 305 TPI with a 5-speed right now. Nice job with the EFI setup,
Mike! Looks like it grew there. Is that an air conditioning compressor I see
on the passenger side? Sure enough, that thing will be connected to a Vintage
Air A/C system by next spring. Awesome.
Mark has a '64 wagon and installed some 255/60-15 B.F. Goodrich tires on 15x8 Weld Drag Lites
with 5.5" backspacing and bolted them to his stock 10-bolt rearend. There's plenty of clearance
on both sides of each tire (about 3/4") after rolling the inner fender lips and relocating the leaves
about two inches inward.
Mark has recently switched to 235/60-15 tires on the same wheels since the 255s are a bit tough
to find sometimes. He went with some Yokohamas this time around. See pics below.
The wagon spring setup is slightly different from the sedans and hardtops, but the info should apply,
for the most part.
Tim's '64 SS has 15x6 wheels with 3.5" backspacing and 195/60-15 tires up front (with
Camaro disc brakes) and 15x7 wheels with 4.5" backspacing and 225/60-15 tires out back, along with disc brakes, which pushed the rear wheels out slightly which has caused some minor rubbing. He's getting new 15x7s for the rear with 4.75" backspacing to take care of the problem. The car is lowered about two inches all the way around. Nice stance!
Mike Harris is running 205/60-15s on 15x7 rally wheels with 4"
backspacing on the front of his '65 Nova. He says it's a tight fit but
they don't rub. Right now he's got 275/60-15 Drag Radials on 15x10s with 8" backspacing
out back, but the rear has been tubbed and he's currently trying to fit some 15x12 meats.
He's been running high-10s at 128 mph in the quarter with this big-block-powered Chevy II.
Arne has a '65 with 205/50-16s on 16x7 wheels. No mention of backspacing, but he says the rears are really close to rubbing but the fronts are good. He's got multileaf springs in back and a Fatman suspension up front. The engine and tranny weren't in the car when the pics were taken, but he's got lots of miles on it now and there's no rubbing.
Jdiakis has a nice-looking '65 with American Racing Torque Thrust IIs. They're 17x7 with 4" BS and
215/40-17 Dunlop Sports up front and 17x7 with 4.5" BS and 225/45-17 Dunlop Sports out back. He says he
could have mounted up 235/45-17s on the back, but any bigger will rub. Below are the pics of his cool ride showing
the wheels and tires, click here
for more pics of his '62.
Mark owns this '65, it's got 205/55-16 tires on 16x7 Torque Thrust II wheels that have 4" backspacing. They
fit great after massaging the rear fenderwells about a quarter-inch. He also mentioned that he could have put
on some 17" wheels with 205/55-17 tires on all four corners, and he just might do that in the future.
This is Jeffrey's '64 sedan. It's lowered two inches all around with lowered springs in front and lowering blocks in the rear. The wheels are 15x7 with 4.5" BS on all four corners with Goodyear GT radials mounted up, 195/50-15 up front and 225/50-15 out back. Jeffrey said that's definitely the largest tire combo he could fit thanks to the lowered ride height. Very nice, Jeffrey!
Here's Gabe's '65. It's got 195/60-15s on 15x7s with 3.75" backspacing up front which fit perfectly with no rubbing at all. There are 225/60-15s on 15x7s with 4.5" backspacing out back which only rub very slightly when he's got several people in the car. He tried 205/60-15s up front but they rubbed, and the 235/60-15s he tried out back also rubbed.
Jeremy's (see above) father, Ed Weed, runs 225/70-14s on 14x7s with 4" backspacing on the
back of his '66 SS, and runs 205/70-14s on 14x6s with 3" backspacing on the
front. Ed's wheelwells have the original SS wheel opening moldings, too.
Here's another example of 16" wheels on an early Nova. It's a '66 SS that now sports
245/50-16 tires mounted on 16x7 aftermarket Corvette rally wheels out back and 195/50-16s up front
on similar 16x6 wheels. All four wheels have 4" backspacing and no trimming was necessary front or back.
Now that he's got this setup he thinks he probably could have gone with 255s out back, too. Nice.
The guys at Kwiklift have a beautiful Nova running some tall wheels! They've
got 17x7s with 4.5" backspacing on the front and rear. The front tires are 205/45-17s
and the rears are 215/45-17s. The car is slammed, the tires fit, and the car drives great.
This is BP's gorgeous '66. It's got 17x7s up front and 17x8s out back. No mods on the front end, but the curved lip was removed from the back.
Jeremy Weed is running 235/60-15s on his '67 Nova 2-door sedan on 15x8 wheels
with 4.5" of backspacing on the front and the back, the inner lips of fenders have
been rolled, however. He thinks the front end is pretty much
maxed out (without rubbing) with the stock suspension. This wheel/tire
combo also works well on the rear of his car without any problems, althought he
has rolled the inner fender lip of the wheel opening. He does think, however,
that he could step up to 245/60-15s and to a 255 if he used a lower profile
sidewall without rubbing on the fenderwell. He did mention, however, that
the fenderwell trim can make a difference on these cars.
Eric has a '67 4-door and is running 225/50-16 Michelin XGTs
rims with 4" backspacing up front, and 245/50-16 Michelin XGTs
on 16x7 rims with 4.5" backspacing out back, and he has
drum brakes all around. The rear sits about 1.5" higher than
stock due to one added leaf to the spring packs. It looks
great, no clearance problems.
Jeff has a'67 hardtop with American Racing Torque Thrust IIs. Sizes are 15x7 with 4.25" backspacing
and 235/60-15 tires in the rear and 15x6 with "standard" backspacing and 185/60-15s up front.
There's no rubbing at all, although it's quite close.
Mike is running 245/60-15 Hoosier Quick Times on 15x7s with 4.5" backspacing on the rear of
his '67 Acadian. He did have to grind the leaf springs and the inner fenders a little but they work
well and look great. They really fill up the wheelwells!
Up front he's got 205-70-15s on 15x6s, but he's unsure of the backspacing. He'll get back to me with the
info and I'll post it ASAP. He also hopes to have some pictures soon.
Here's Jim's pretty '67 coupe which is running 15X6s with 3.5" backspaced ProStar's on front with 195/60-15 BFGs. The rears are as big as you can go on a stock rear, he says: 15X7s with 4.5" BS and 245/60-15 tires. There's a slight rub on the passenger side if he doesn't take it easy, but the driver side is okay. He also reminds us that many of the rearends on these cars are not centered very well. Use 235s on the rear if you want to be safe.
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©2015 Bruce Johnson and Craig Watson