The visual case for bigger tires

Wheel sizes these days have gotten ridiculous. And of course, the larger the wheel, the skinnier the tire’s sidewall— the two go hand in hand. But just how low can a tire’s profile possibly get? An aspect ratio of 15? 10? 5?

Here’s a shot of how tires once were on performance vehicles, and the look is big, bad, and glorious. A little meat never hurt anybody.

(Image credit: TuningHistory)

~ by velofinds on February 27, 2013.

15 Responses to “The visual case for bigger tires”

  1. Running 70 profile here and tracking them like a champ on my AE86 (original wheel specs for European market and some Japanese versions: 185/70R13). And it’s comfy as hell for the hideous Californian roads! lol

    • Stock 225/55 16″ tires here. My car is large and the front wheel arches are flared so I could see 17″ wheels.. but its descendants are rolling around on 20″ wheels and strips of rubber…

  2. Preach on!

    Nearly every time someone shows me their new performance car and ask me what I think, I *think* “the belt-line is up around your shoulders, you can’t see a thing to the sides and year, and your wheels and tires look like a clown car.”

    I usually don’t say any of that out loud, though, unless I know they wont take offense. 🙂

  3. Not that long ago, 50-series tires were extreme. Now they seem so…tall. My daily driver runs 40-series tires (it’s a large family sedan, and that’s the stock size from the factory).

    I get nervous about Northeast roads killing them though. I’ve had to straighten the 40-series tires on my wife’s daily driver several times. Then again, maybe that has more to do with the driver?

  4. 245/45/16’s on my 510, I feel like they are a little tall…make the car sit up too high. Hope to run 15’s in the future but I imagine ill still be rockin big side walls.

  5. Large wheels are a trend. The pendulum will swing the opposite direction at some point.

  6. I’m onboard. Rocking 195/65R15s on the 924 S, has left me somewhat disgruntled with the 18s on my newer car. I always refer back to F1 cars, little wheels and tall sidewalls, and they know a thing or two, those F1 boys.

  7. Classic cars with white lettered tyres. Now that is class.

  8. Nothing beats the factory shots from Porsche in the 1970s. The ones they took off the side of their test track with the slight curvature in the road. Classic high sided, muscular tire profile.

  9. and classic porsches are the biggest offenders when it comes to fitting stupidly low profiles tyres. stay stock !

  10. Though I agree 1000% with your sentiments, I don’t think this wheel/tire/car/makes makes the case. The 17″ Gen 1 monoblock with slightly less sidewall (though still meaty by todays standards) would be a much better look.

    • This is a particularly exaggerated example, I agree 🙂

      I also agree that the factory monoblock as seen on the later 500E is the classically handsome look on this car:

  11. Some cars, mostly newer models, look good with 18s or 19s…20s are a grey area for me. This is my one problem with “Overhaulin’.” Maybe it’s Foose trying to get his wheels out on TV but they just ruin the profile of those otherwise beautifully restored cars…

  12. I agree that newer cars are over done and look more and more like toys, but, they are designed with the bigger wheels in mind, so not the worst thing. Classics that were designed to run 13/14/15/16s usually look tragic with anything much bigger. The problem is tires. Try to find good/wide tires in anything below 17 and you will have trouble. I have 17s on my “sport purpose classic” which would usually result in the tragic toy look, but I keep them black to visually keep them looking smaller. They cam with 16’s from the factory, so not a big leap. I can find good rubber for them all day long. The other classic I would have chosen 15’s to look perfect but because I already owned 2 -16’s and finding good/wide 15 tires is not easy or cheap. Europeans may not agree with me, but that is because we Americans have to get our small tires from you!

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