What is the biggest tire that will fit in the back of my ’72-’76 Torino? I’ve seen this question asked on several forums Including Fordmuscle. Since I am going to be installing 15” tires and wheels on the back of my ’73 Torino Sport, I decided to answer this question for myself and to help others. My first choice was going to be 15 x 8 Magnum 500’s with a 295-50-15 tire. A couple of questions to resident FM Torino guru Jon Mikelonis revealed that a 10” wide wheel was possible. The backspace on the 10” wheel would be 5” according to Jon. He even suggested that 5 ½” would be even better. I wanted to know exactly as I was itching to order some wheels. I make some quick measurements and found that the 5 ½” backspace would clear, but it was going to be close. I needed to mock up an actual tire and wheel. A little rummaging through my wheel pile turned up an old Firestone 15 x 10 Nascar wheel that was given to me by Richard Petty at P.I.R. when I was 12 years old. It was the right width, but was a 6” backspace, ½” more that I needed. A ½” spacer would put me right a 5 ½”, so it would work. I was also going to try another combination that I have used on Street Rods and pick up trucks for years. That combination is a 285-70-15 tire on an 8”- 8 ½” wide wheel. It is a monster tire and wheel combo that has a different look from the 295-50. The wheels were a pair of Minilites that were 8 ½” wide, with a 4 ¾” backspace.
I tried the 295-50 combo first, expecting to have to put a spacer to allow it to clear the frame. Much to my surprise, the 295-50 with the 6” backspace wheel cleared everything perfectly!!!! I was worried that the 5 ½” backspace wheel would be tight, and the 6” cleared great. The area that I was worried about was the frame rail clearance between the tire sidewall at the front of the tire. The was ¾” of clearance between the frame and the sidewall. The outside wheel lip had ½” between the sidewall at the stock ride height.
Here are the vital stats on the whole combo:
295-50-15 Mastercraft radial tire.
-Section width-12 ¼”
-Frame rail clearance-3/4"
-Wheel lip clearance-1/2” *
*At stock ride height.
Side view of the 295-50
Frame rail clearance.
This is a view from the undeside.
Next on the list was a 285-70-15 Bf Goodrich tire on a 15 x 8 Minilite wheel with 4 ¾” backspace. This tire has a totally different look because the tire is so tall. This combo cleared perfectly also with ¾” between the sidweall and the frame, and 1” between the outer wheel lip and the sidewall
Here are the vitals on this combination:
-285-70-15 Bf Goodrich radial tire
-Section width-11 ¾”
-Wheel width- 8 ½”
-Frame rail clearance-3/4”
-Wheel lip clearance-1”
285-70-15 side view.
Frame rail clearance.
Both combinations fit well with plenty of clearance. The 295-50 tire will look way better with the Magnum 500 wheel, as the stock car wheel looks too bland. I may try a 255-70-15 tire on the 10" wheel with the 6" backspacing as a taller tire(though not as tall as the 285-70) might look even better than the 295-50. A little measuring told me that there was no way the 285-70-15 would fit the car with a 10" wheel.