What is Different About Muscle Car Wheels?

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  • Written By: Dan Cavallari
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 16 October 2019
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Muscle car wheels are specially designed to work well with muscle cars, which are cars designed with power in mind and are often used for drag racing or street racing. The design and structure of muscle car wheels are often such that they can handle the rigors of racing while still looking attractive and fitting of the aesthetic of the car. The rear wheels are often much wider than the front wheels to allow wider tires to be mounted to them. This is done to promote traction, while the thinner front wheel allows for steering capabilities.

While the primary difference between muscle car wheels and regular car wheels is strength, aesthetics are important as well. Chrome muscle car wheels are common, since they polish to a high shine that is very attractive and complementary to the aesthetics of the car in general. Many owners of muscle cars choose to buy custom made muscle car wheels that are designed with his or her specific muscle car in mind. These tend to be quite expensive, but may be worth the cost, especially if the owners plan to display their muscle cars at car shows. Some muscle cars are built exclusively for display at car shows, so these types of wheels work well for such applications.


Other muscle cars are more utilitarian and require muscle car wheels that are strong above all else. Such cars are designed for drag racing, which means forward speed is key to the car's operation. The rear wheels are much wider to accommodate a wider tire which enhances traction and speed off the starting line; the front tires and wheels are thinner to cut down on drag and friction, and to aid in steering capabilities. The wheels tend to be lighter when they are used for racing, further cutting down on rotational weight that can affect the handling of the vehicle. It is increasingly common to see aluminum alloy wheels on muscle cars meant for racing. Racing wheels are generally smaller than wheels meant for show.

Show wheels tend to be larger and the weight matters less than racing wheels, so materials like aluminum alloy are unnecessary. Steel wheels are more common, and the patterns range from spoked wheels to sleeker, more modern designs. In the past, the wheels were not necessarily meant for show, so chrome was not as common, but on more modern show models, chrome wheels are extremely common. The wheels on show muscle cars are often quite large to show off the design of the wheels and the components within, such as brake calipers.


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