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Suggestions on tires for original 14" wheels?


New member
Hey guys, hoping someone can help because I've been banging my head against the wall trying to figure this out on my own and not knowing any other Sterling owners in the area.

I have what I believe are the original wheels AND the original tires from this car - GR50/14's front and rear (25" diameter, about 10" wide). I think these were discontinued slightly after the fall of the Roman empire, and so I'm trying to do one of the following:

1. Find an equivalent tire that's about the same size, or
2. Find a 15" rim that's similar to the look of the wheels on my Jeep that will fit.

At this point I'm open to either, but both are presenting some challenges. I like the look of the wheels that are on it and the way the tires fill the wheel well, so just finding a tire would be my first choice right now.

Since I'm doing the car in matte black (poorly-photoshopped version below ... right now it's still primer gray in real life), I also think the wheels on my Jeep would look good too, but finding a rim and then figuring out how much backspacing etc. has been an even bigger challenge. I don't really care about the cost so much as just not wanting to order the wrong thing or having it not look the way I like and then have to deal with shipping stuff back etc.

Any suggestions? For those of you running the 14" wheels, what are you doing for a 25" tire?


and the Jeep wheels


Honorary Admin
Welcome to the forum, Ron. I'm amazed that you have a 50 series tire on the front and it isn't hitting the inside of the wheel well. You may want to step that down a little. As you've found, though, a 14" tire is getting harder and harder to find. My car originally had FR60-14's on the rear and 185/70 on the front - and the rear tires were OE back in 1975, so they had to go. I had no luck actually finding direct size replacements, so I opted for the next nearest size - 215/60 at the rear and 235/60 at the front, both in TA Radials: http://www.nationalsterling.org/memberphotos/fullsizeimages/RMilne/100AA_2.jpg
Of course, I had to do some hunting with those - Goodrich no longer manufacturers 14" tires. I found one set on eBay and another set on an online tire discounter - and they were literally the last set on the east coast. Yokohama makes a similar size, though it's limited to a 185/70 at the front and 215/60 at the rear; both of those are the Avid T4 tire. So, if you're set on sticking with the 14" wheels, you're going to have to make some concessions on size. Bump the wheel up to 15" and you'll have more choices.



New member
Thanks, that's about 100% more information than I had before :)

It looks like the front inner fender was removed to make more room for that wheel/tire combo, but I do like the idea of going a little larger in the rear, I think it would all flow a little nicer. Wheel/tire size and spacing can make or break the look of these cars.

Should I do 15's in the front and 16's or 17's in the rear, or 15's all around and a taller tire? Just not sure what width and backspacing and tire sizes I should be looking for here?

I found a site yesterday that will make a custom wheel adapter that's 1.9" thick, so I should be able to find a rim that uses the Jeep 5x5 bolt pattern, with 1.9" - 2" less backspacing than I need for the Sterling (to compensate for the 1.9" adapter) then have these guys make an adapter to go from the 4x130 to 5x5 - 4 Lug to 5 Lug Adapter : 5 Lug to 4 Lug Adapter : AdapterKings.com - ? Am I doing this right? :)
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Honorary Admin
Well, the front fenders never did have an inner liner towards the nose. That was always open with the thought of, if the scoops under the nose were opened, that the air would hit the brake drums (or rotors) more directly to aid in cooling. Whether that works or not is anyone's guess.
I wish I had saved the information that I used on my first car, though I used wheels that were meant for off-road buggies. Using Beetle wheels will allow you not to worry about backspacing, which is something I'm familiar with but don't have a lot of knowledge about. Running adapters is a matter of personal choice - I've heard horror stories about adapter blowing apart and other guys that have no issues with them. I think a reputable wheel shop should be able to help with determining what will fit... something that's sorely lacking in my area.

I'll caution against going too large with the combinations, though. Remember, it's still riding on VW bearings that were meant for a 5" wide, 14" wheel. Same with the brakes. Something larger and heavier is going to wear those components much, much faster than normal, so you'll need to keep watch on your mechanicals.