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Installing Cragars and Skinny Whitewalls on our 1964 “GMC”

Truckin’s longest-running project truck receives new shoes with the help of Summit Racing.

May 11, 2020

Since we're still stuck at home, we're forging on with our '64 "GMC." We began in the last installment by installing a custom-built tube grille insert from Glory Grilles, and if you want a short history of the truck, be sure to check out that story. The second part of the first phase of our upgrades include changing out the 18- and 20-inch Wheel Vintiques billet steelies with red centers. They served us well, but at this point where every other classic truck is sporting big solid wheels in contrasting colors, we decided it was time to move on to something new-or rather, something old.

Photo 2/18   |   Here's our Six-Four the last time we had it out on the road. It looks good for an 18-year build, but we were ready for some change.

We're basically moving from a '50s look to a '60s look with a little bit of an update. We certainly didn't invent the idea of adding a set of Cragars and skinny whites to our truck as opposed to big billets or solids, but we had seen a couple of trucks around and we really liked the look. And it fit right in with the new grille insert. We contacted Summit Racing for the Cragars. They are an all-aluminum, chromed, 17x8-inch, slightly modernized version of the classic S/S wheel design and feature a 4.5-inch backspacing. We had to locate the 17s because of our big brake system that was already on the truck. And with 17s, skinny whitewalls are pretty much impossible to find. That's when we contacted Diamondback Classics, who are known for crating classic looks with a modern tire. Whether you want a wide or skinny whitewall, or a red or gold stripe, you can order up your size as well as the placement and thickness of the stripe. A company like Diamondback Classics is invaluable for creating the exact look you're going for with just about any vehicle.

Once we had our new wheel and tire combo mounted and balanced at New Century Tire, we thought we were just going to bolt the wheels on and hit the road—but we thought wrong. We hadn't had the wheels off the truck in years, had not looked at the brakes for just as long, and forgot that the SSBC brake kit has a giant caliper to contend with. Our install stretched out to a couple days, and we ended up bolting the wheels on the night before the COVID Cruise in Huntington Beach, which was the first time the truck had been on the road in close to a year. The truck successfully made the cruise, but it was clear that we needed to address a few more things before the next one. Check back soon—we're going to keep going on this one!

Photo 3/18   |   We contacted Summit Racing and ordered Cragar S/S wheels in all aluminum chromed 17x8, 5 on 5 with 4.5 inches of backspacing, part number 610C785045. We couldn't believe they were on our doorstep just a few days after we placed our order.
Photo 4/18   |   With the wheels handled, we had to find a 17-inch tire with a skinny whitewall. Diamondback Classics custom-built us exactly what we were looking for, which with a little help from their crew, turned out to be 225/55/17 up front and a 255/50/17 out back, both with a 7/8-inch whitewall placed 1 inch off the rim.
Photo 5/18   |   Here's where things got weird. These wheels had not been off the truck in many years, and one of the wheel studs spun when we went to buzz it off. We chipped away at the lug nut with a grinder and drilled sections until we could yank the wheel off. We only nicked the wheel a few times in the process.
Photo 6/18   |   Once the wheel was off, we remembered how short the studs were in the first place. And when we tested the wheel, we realized we needed a -inch spacer. So we pulled them off and sent them to New Century Tire to press in the new Moroso studs we found at a local speed shop.
Photo 7/18   |   In addition to the new studs, we had the rotors turned just a tiny amount to make them new again. We even blacked out the non-braking surfaces.
Photo 8/18   |   A C-clamp was used to spread the pistons back into the caliper.
Photo 9/18   |   We cleaned up and inspected the rest of the front suspension before reassembly.
Photo 10/18   |   We inspected and repacked the wheel bearings and reinstalled the rotors.
Photo 11/18   |   It took some sleuthing to figure out which brake pads these SSBC calipers used. They turned out to be Dodge Stealth, and we found some on short notice about 15 miles away on a Saturday afternoon. That was lucky.
Photo 12/18   |   We got the calipers reinstalled and were finally ready to bolt some wheels on.
Photo 13/18   |   In the rear, we simply cleaned thing up and inspected the brakes. That's what was supposed to happen up front.
Photo 14/18   |   Meanwhile, over at New Century Tire, we used the zoom on our camera to get a shot of the mounting and balancing of our new combo while maintaining social distancing.
Photo 15/18   |   Man, were we stoked on this Cragar and Diamondback Classic combo.
Photo 16/18   |   We bolted them up the second we got them home. Luckily, we remembered to pick up a set of fresh lug nuts.
Photo 17/18   |   It was getting late, so the wife jumped in and scrubbed the blue off of our skinny whites.
Photo 18/18   |   We finished the truck up and got it on the ground just in time to get a good night's sleep before the cruise the next day. That drive brought some new issues to light, so we will be back soon with the next update. Stay tuned!

Source Box:

Diamondback Classics

New Century Tire

Summit Racing


Diamond Back Classics
New Century Tire
Westminster, CA
Summit Racing