Imperial wheel help needed….


New Member
Jun 13, 2024
Reaction score
Central MN
I just picked up a 1973 Imperial and want to change the wheels and tires. I know they are 5 on 5” pattern, but how wide can I go in the rear without rubbing? Not really sure what size I’d like to go with but they will be 15 inch. I want to go with a slotted mag like in the picture, will 15x8” wheels fit ok without rubbing the fenders or rear skirts? What offset? I’d kinda like to go with 275/60R15’s on the back, just not sure if they will clear. Or maybe 255/60’s or maybe 70’s? Just want a nice stance, car will just be a cruiser….any help would be great!


Nope….I got the right car, just want to add some different wheels is all what’s wrong with that?
It might be a generational thing, but IMPERIALS are about style and elegance, AND being able to easily lose a similar Lincoln or Cadillac in the twisty roads of the world. Might some 15x8, or even some factory 15x7 wheels be better? Certainly. OR maybe some 17x7s with some sticky tires (considering there are some of those tires with the same OD as the OEM tires) as BFG builds in that larger diameters. Even some where the polished rim edge would be about where the older whitewalls might be in relation to the wheel. If you're going to buy new tires and wheels, shopping wisely in wheels and noticing that 17" tires can be cheaper to buy than 15" tires, the larger diameters can be an option that makes financial sense.

All things considered, that car needs all 4 wheels to be the same size and width. Same with tires so you can rotate them if needed. No real need for wider tires on the back, either. Having a "tough looking 4dr hardtop" can happen, but with a car that sits level with all four tires/wheels the same.

The other side of things is that "stance" seems to be more of a "pretender's game" where the car it's on in no way has the performance to match the looks, no matter what. It can accentuate the lines on the 2-drs and convertibles, though, in pre-73 C-bodies with their more-wedge shapes. But that ended with the blunt-front '73 cars. There is ONE exception. A member in here with a '66 NewYorker 4dr with 4 305s on it and a stroker 440 under the hood. Sits level, runs very quick in the 1/4 mile, and still looks like a New Yorker.

As to your wheel choice, better look to ensure they are clear-coated rather than just "polished". If polished, that means you'll have to maintain their polished look. If clear-coated, which is better, some car wash soaps have been known to turn the clear-coat white, by observation. Just an advisory. If the polished surface gets dull, the only way to make it look good again can be "elbow grease, a buffer, polishing compound/wax and money". FWIW

If I were you, rather than invest in tires and wheels (which it does need) first, I'd look to firm-up the suspension with some KYB shocks, add in some HP brake frictions, and learn more about the car and what makes it work as it does or can. There should be holes for up to 4 6x9 speakers in the back deck, I believe. Do not forget the condition of the vinyl top, as the OEMs did not put a full paint job under the top, just primer. With time, moisture accumulates, and rust can happen unseen.

Getting more power out of the 440 can happen, too, but with the 8.2CR, only a complete new engine (even a stroker 440) can really help that. You can re-tune for better throttle response, but that's about it as is. In order to make that 4700 lb car "jump", it will take lots of torque rather than horsepower at 7000rpm. Plus some rear spring upgrades.

Back to wheels . . . I'm not sure of the attraction to the Ansens, but there are other wheel styles out there that can look good on a luxury car. Don't need to spend over $200.00/wheel, usually. A few companies do repro Chrysler Rallye wheels in different diameters and rim widths, which would be "A Family Look" of sorts. VN-501s are another option. REV has some 5-spoke wheels which are shiny and clear-coated, which look similar, if you line shiny aluminum. NO 20s!!

So, get the vinyl top looked at, suspension firmed-up, the brakes improved, the factory radio sent to Aurora Designs/Gary Tayman and upgraded for power, bluetooth, etc. first. Learn about the car and what makes it work. Enjoy it for what it was designed to be. If the car needs tires sooner than later, find some whitewalls for it. Whitewalls will make things look so much better, just by themselves, as they "fit" better than blackwalls.

Then tolerate the current wheels/tires unitl "sales happen" at Summit, every several months. Look around on the Internet (OR even in the "garages" section of this website) for different car/wheel combinations. Even a recent thread on wheels has a Newport 2dr hardtop with different wheels on it. Get a buffer and make that old acrylic enamRe-doing the vinyl roof (and body work underneath, due to ruse) can be expensive.

My apologies if my comments (and those of others above) might not have been what you wanted to hear, but you really do have the wrong car (even if it were a 2dr) for such aftermarket wheels. I understand and laud your enthusiasm for the car, BUT don't try to make it something it was not meant to be or otherwise diminish any value it might have from such.

The first thing to get concerned about spending money on is the vinyl top. That by itself can be very expensive to fix it right. Even if you just remove it, fix any ruse issues, and put paint back on it. Spending money elsewhere, first, will be a costly mistake, from my experiences.

NONE of us are trying to "rain on your desired parade", BUT there are some realities involved of what an Imperial was designed to be and what regular Chryslers were designed to be at each model/trim level. We appreciate your obvious enthusiasm for the car, but perhaps your enthusiasm might be re-directed a bit.

Sorry for the length. Just some thoughts. Enjoy!
Last edited:
Nope….I got the right car, just want to add some different wheels is all what’s wrong with that?
Be careful on this one Keith. Lol. They're some fellas in here that really don't like you messing with a holy "c" body with modifications lol. These cars are a reflection of our personalities. This isn't a HOA after all. I say do as you please with it :rofl:
FWIW, I don't like HOAs either. Nor does Commando 1 from his comments a while back.
Be careful on this one Keith. Lol. They're some fellas in here that really don't like you messing with a holy "c" body with modifications lol. These cars are a reflection of our personalities. This isn't a HOA after all. I say do as you please with it :rofl:
Yeah I see stuff like this all the time on the MoPar Forward Look groups….god forbid you do anything that’s not original to a car and they jump all over you….I never expected it though for just a wheel swap!!! Geez….it’s just wheels and I can always put the stock ones back on! Good thing I didn’t mention that someone put dual exhaust on this car before I bought it lol….Thanks!

I like the Keystone Classics with the white wall.
I agree with Cbody67 had to say. I installed the KYB Imperial size shocks on my Imperial, I also installed a Firm Feel front sway bar and those two adds made a huge difference in highway city driving.
Call up Dick at Firm Feel he is making me another bar, tell him that Jackson from Toronto told you about him making a 73 Imperial bar and you would like one as well. Here is a link to the Imperial shock fitment. 1973 Imperial shocks.
The Navy Blue Imperial in the pics is running 17" wheels. I missed getting the sizes as the owner and I hardly had a minute to talk.
Do your wheel swap, just don't toss any of your original parts and don't bang up the wheel covers putting them away. 5x5 bolt pattern 8" wide with 4.5" back space should do you.
I would give the Westerns a go if I found a complete set with centres.


Keith, nice to see you here. The slots are gonna look awesome, they look great on Bill's car.

If you guys think he's gonna make a clown car like @DocMcNeedy's Big Red when he bought it, you couldn't be more wrong. You should see the pickup Keith's dad has, you'd be drooling all over it.

I need to take that drive up 15, maybe in two weeks, buddy!
The majority of my Imperials were acquired with stock wheels. Just one that I decided to eventually convert back to original wheels/wheel covers. So, two came with aftermarket wheels that I drove on and liked for a while. Big Red transformed the most. Old Red: I left the wheels alone.



20180930_101821 (1).jpg

I don’t know what the difference is in the wheelhouse, size wise, between a slab and a fusey, but I had 275/60/15s on my 66 New Yorker with 15x8, 4" back space. They cleared the skirts, but only just. You could get your fingers flat between, but both sides touched, so maybe 5/8" of clearance if that.

4.5" back space would have been perfect and I expect on yours, if you are looking to run a 275 on the back, 4.5 will be the way to go.

What size tires did it have factory? My 71 had L84x15 bias, a size I had never heard of before. It currently has L78's which are an inch shorter. I'd like to put the original height tire back on it in a radial, but 235/75 is as tall as it gets as far as I've found. and it's the same height as the L78.