|The 1960 Buick|
|Where the Rubber Meets the Road|
|Part 1: Color & Rim Width of 1960 Buick Wheels|
The 1960 Buick wheel was a new design, but was actually introduced late in the 1959 model year. It differs from the earlier design by virtue of its four cooling slots. These were promoted as a feature that, together with slots in the wheel cover, directed air flow across the brake drums for enhanced brake cooling.
All LeSabres (except wagons) used a 5.5" wide wheel (p/n 1190839). LeSabre wagons, Electras, and all Invictas, used a 6.0" wide wheel (p/n 1190840). According to GM blueprints, the 5.5" wheels were primed gray and the 6.0" wheels were primed black.
If the car used the small "dog-dish" hubcaps, the wheel would then be sprayed body color. Body color wheels were also a no-cost option on (non-black) cars with full wheel covers. Although this is often seen on restored cars, very few were actually built this way.
If neither of the above situations applied, the 5.5" wheels would be treated to a partial or complete black spray only on the areas that were visible through the cooling slots of the wheel cover. Shown below is an unrestored wheel from my Flint-built LeSabre, with a partial spray. Original examples from other plants suggest that some wheels were sprayed completely black on the front face.
|LEFT & RIGHT: Original 1960 Firestone 7.60x15 tire on an unrestored wheel from my Flint-built LeSabre convertible. Note absence of balance weights: Tires were static balanced by the factory to a very crude (by today's standards) level. Only one of my original wheels had any balance weights at all.|
|For discussion on the beautiful 1960 Buick wheel covers, see the website section on "Design & Styling"|
|Part 2: Size, Brand & Whitewall Width of 1960 Buick Tires|
|Like earlier Buicks, the 1960 models use lug BOLTS, not lug nuts. The front and rear lug bolts are different lengths and are clearly identified by the notation "front" and "rear" on the head of the fastener. The different lengths are due to the aluminum drums in front being thicker than the cast iron drums on the rear.|
|Baby Gets New Shoes|
I recently replaced the original factory tires on my 1960 LeSabre. This was for both comfort and safety, as well as preservation of the original parts.
I used reproduction BF Goodrich 7.60x15 tires from Coker. These are advertised as 2.5" whitewall, but once installed are more accurately a 2 3/8" width. This makes them a scant 1/8" wider than the original Firestones, and the difference can barely be seen. To mount them, I obtained a matched set of original 1960 wheels.
On the left is one of the original 1960 Firestone tires from my LeSabre, still mounted on its factory-installed wheel. On the right is one of the reproduction BF Goodrich tires, mounted on a reconditioned 1960 Buick wheel that has been painted to match the Flint-processed wheel. (What can't be seen clearly in this photo is the paint overspray pattern where the black ends and the gray begins. It was faithfully reproduced using a circular paint mask, raised about 1/2" from the wheel.)
The difference in ride quality between the new, precision balanced tires and the 44-year old hard square unbalanced tires, is incredible. The car now feels like it is riding on air!
|COPYRIGHT 2005 by Gregory L. Cockerill. All text contained herein, including interviews/recollections of other parties, is my original work and is owned by me. This also applies to all images of my white 1960 LeSabre convertible. As such, the aforementioned material may not be used without express written permission. Other images presented herein are either from the public domain or used with permission of the owner(s).|