Aftermarket Wheels/Tires

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I had a bad feeling when the phone was dead at Halibrand Engineering. The company made special 5/kidneybean with spinners for the 2002 Custom Thunderbird at Pebble Beach. They looked great!

They filed for bankruptcy about a month ago. still has the largest aftermarket selection; but none are Retro!

The Firestone Firehawk LH has a treadwear of 500, our OEM Michelins have a treadwear of 300. The difference will show up in traction
and especially if your drive it hard. The grip of the Michelin will be superior and cost will be in less miles for the hard driver.

The wheel makers will need about one year to build us aftermarket Retro's. The makes wheels to order, but will cost a bunch.

I plan on waiting for the Retros instead of putting the painted 21 spoke wheel on.

The manager of Phil Long Ford, Denver showed his Birds over the holiday at the Colorado Convention Center. He had 55,56,57 and his 2002 Nieman Marcus nicely displayed.
He has already put different tires on the NM wheel. It has a 1 inch whitewall and a gold line. The overall effect was not as clean as a black wall. Sorry I didn't have my camera.

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Thanks Jodrod,

Discount Tire is where I buy all my stuff.
The tire deal is from Tirerack. $69 for the replacement tire for our Birds, made by Bridgestone/Firestone ugh!, the Firehawk LH 235/50VR17. They must have got these from Ford last summer, when Ford cut Firestone tires from the entire lineup of Ford products.

Discout Tire or your link can purchase any wheel from any source for the customer, and usually save you money by going through their buying power.

I have all my tire business with Discount, unless tirerack has a closeout that nobody can match. Discount will mount the Firestones once we find a great looking Retro style wheel.
Info for those who want to put different rims on their 02s:

Seems the bolt pattern is the same as the 89-97 Birds-4.25 on 5 between centers.

I'd measure to make sure-but if that is the case there are all types of wheels that will fit these cars.

BTW-anyone thought about using the Torque Thrust D wheels from American Racing?

Just had another thought-Boyd Coddington makes some great wheels also!


Why did you decide against the painted 21 spoke wheels? Just wanting something different? I thought they would give you a quick relatively low buck option that would look good on the car.

Your right about that 500 treadwear on the Firestones - they won't stick as good but they should last forever. They would probably dry rot on my car before I used them up.
Thanks Birdman,
I'm going to look into the Torque Thrust D's. At our Thanksgiving Auto Show one of the Earnhardt Camaro's in black had a set with black powdercoat spokes. It would look great on the T-Bird. Now where to get the polished AR painted/powdercoated.

I like the 21 spoke in painted or chrome, the main reason for the Retro wheel is varity keeps us on our toes.
A fellow Firefighter just finished restoring a '56 Ford Fairlane. Part of his work was new disc brakes. They required slightly different bolt space and he went to the chrome Torque Thrust D's and they look Fab.

My wife has always wanted Torque Thrust D's on our '68 AMC AMX. She likes doing burn outs with the 425 ft pds of torque that the stock AMX puts out.
I have kept the AMX Box Stock and it is one very nice original.

So now when I get camera and wheels and tires together, I will post them.
It's cold, snowing and our roads are sanded, so it will be a while before any tire changes on the new Bird.

The status of MT Car of the Year, may bring all kinds of aftermarket stuff for our Birds.
That said, I may wait a while to see what the future has in store.

Next month I will go to a wheel shop and try a few wheels and take pictures for the board as soon as roads and weather clear.
Looking forward to seeing those pictures of various wheels. I'm sure the COTY designation will help us on lots of fronts.


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After looking at the web pages at I found that the Smoothie or the Smoothie 2 was my choice for aftermarket wheel. They are cast aluminum and retail for $225.25 and I am ordering a set thru Discount Tire Co saving some money and will get them installed with the Firestone Firehawk LH.(NOte: The space saver spare is a Firestone!)

They will take 4-6 weeks to be made to order and delivered.

The bolt pattern is 108mm and is the same as the Taurus. It seems the 4.25 inch pattern was dropped on the 2002 Lincoln LS and now the Birds/LS/Taurus share this 108mm/5 bolt set-up. I will take Discount Tire a wheel from the NM Bird to measure it and they say it will be specification down to the exact mm on the originals. Most aftermarket wheels are either 7" or 8" and BC will make this 7 1/2" wide as the originals.

The other major players in wheels have said it would be 12 months to get a Vintage Style wheel in production for the Birds. That is why all of the wheels on the site are more modern.

Will keep everyone informed on progress and when I get time will try out wheels for pictures.

'56 + '02 Birds
FD-I just checked the measurement you gave me-here's what the measurement works out to:


Same as my 93, Which I had measured by a local wheel manufacturer in Cedar Rapids. Ford classifies or rounds this as the 4.25 on 5 bolt pattern.

Remember, folks-any wheel you order will need to have High Offset, not the rear wheel setup.

108mm divided by 25.4 (25.4mm to an inch)

Somewhere a post asked what the difference between rims and wheels was-in the UK a wheel is the actual rubber, the rim is the part the wheel is mounted on.


Thanks Birdman,

I was just passing out info given to me over the phone yesterday by American Racing Wheels to a manager of a local Discount Tire store.
The big issue here is that AR,CenterLine and many other wheel builders will need many months to produce a retro styled wheel.
I am still waiting for the nod from Boyd Coddington, which I thank you for the info, to give the green light on a set of their cast aluminum/polished "Smoothie" wheels.

I love the 21 spoke NM wheel, but in pot-hole ridden Denver, I need a tire/wheel combination for everyday driving.

Again, thanks for your help.

PS It maybe weeks or months before a retro-style wheel is made for the 2002 Birds. As of now,an under $400 per wheel option is Boyd Coddington.

'56 + '02 Birds

Will be nice to see what those wheels look like when you get them mounted!

I'm still hunting for a style I like-and it's hard to find the finish I want anymore-I want the polished finish-I saw a T-Bird locally that had chrome wheels-I wasn't impressed.

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