Third Generation Chevy Camaro 1982 - 1992: Street Performance and Race Mods


After Market Performance Camaro Wheels and Tires:

Performance tires and wheels are chosen for the performance niche you are optimizing. Drag racers choose the widest tires for the power driven wheels (rear wheels on the Camaro) for ultimate traction and thin, low rolling resistance tires on the front to reduce parasitic drag. Road course and oval track racers prefer a balanced approach for lateral traction in corners requiring the same size tire on all four wheels or sometimes slightly wider wheels in the rear to improve rear wheel traction on acceleration. Gas mileage optimization introduces a trade off between wider tires which improve cornering and thin highly inflated tires which reduce rolling resistance.

The sidewall height is part of the ride and handling optimization. The higher the sidewall of the tire, the softer the ride. Lowering the tire sidewall height reduces the lateral flexibility, generally improving cornering but also introducing a harsher ride.

Wheels are not only upgraded for improved looks but also required when changing to a tire of a different width or sidewall height. Wheels can also improve handling by lowering wheel weight, lowering its inertia and allowing it to respond the road variances more quickly. A lower wheel weight also improves the vehicle's ability to accellerate by reducing the rotational inertial which the engine has to overcome to move the vehicle.

Largest Tire Table (body clearance):

Measurement in inchesFirst Gen
1967 - 1969
Second Gen
1970 - 1981
Third Gen
1982 - 1992
Fourth Gen
1993 - 1995
15" DiaBackspacing3.754.8753.754.04.754.0

Rim width7.


16" DiaBackspacing5.05.5 - 5.754.

Rim width8.

17" DiaBackspacing5.05.5 - 5.754.

Rim width8.



Rim width20x9.520x9.5



Data from "Chevy High Performance" measured data (Jan 2002) and real experiences. Stock ride height.

There is no shortage of wheel and tire options for the 1982 to 1992 Camaro.

The stock third generation '82-'92 Camaro wheel wells will fit 17"x9.5" rims with a 10mm offset (positive) with P275-40ZR17 in all four corners.

17x9.5 in10 mm17x9.5 in10 mm

Wheel-Caliper Clearance:

If using aftermarket racing calipers, one can measure the wheel clearance with the "X-Brake Factor" tool. This is a set of gages used to measure the caliper overhang from the wheel mounting pad to the outer most edge of the caliper to determine wheel to caliper clearance.
For gage and plus size guide see Wheel Consultants Inc: Plus Sizing Guide

Wheel well openings, ride height, tie rod ends (front), sway bar (limits front turn) and upper A-arms (1st and 2nd gen front) are the greatest constraints on tire and wheel size. By using smaller tubular upper A-arms, one can gain some clearance on first and second generation Camaros.

Wheel Rim Terms:

  • Pilot: Diameter of center hole which fits over hub or axle.
  • Rim Diameter: Diameter measured from the bead seat.
    The CamaroTech project car uses a 17 inch rim diameter.
  • Rim width: Width measured between rim flanges.
    The CamaroTech project car uses a 9.5 inch rim width.
  • Bead Seat: Position where tire rests on inside of wheel rim to seal air.
  • Center line: One half of rim width.
  • Back Spacing: Distance from extreme back edge of rim (not bead seat) to mounting pad.
  • Offset: Distance of mounting pad from center line. Zero offset is a mounting pad located on the center line. A negative offset is one where the mounting pad is located inboard of the center line (wheel sticks out). A positive offset positions the mounting pad outboard of the centerline.
    The CamaroTech project car uses a 10 mm positive offset.
  • Bolt Cirdle: Diameter of an imaginary circle drawn through the center of each lug hole or stud.

Tire Terms:

  • Aspect Ratio: Ratio of the tire's cross section height to the cross section width.
    Calculation: AR = (Height/Width) x 100
  • Section Height: Vertical distance between the tire's bead seat and the the outer tread surface for a mounted and inflated but unloaded tire.
  • Section Width: Tire's width from sidewall to sidewall when mounted and inflated but unloaded.
  • Deflection: Difference between the tires natural radius and the loaded radius.
  • Tread Width: Distance of the inner to the outer edge of the tread.

Metric Tire P-Sizes:

For example: P275-40ZR17
  • P: Passenger car tire.
  • 275: Section width in millimeters.
  • 40: Aspect Ratio
  • Z: High speed rated
  • R: Radial construction
  • 17: Wheel rim diameter


The lighter the better. A lighter wheel will lower the unsprung weight allowing the wheel to follow the bumps in the road. The lower wheel weight will lower the wheel momentum which will allow the suspension spring to press the wheel back upon the road after a bump and thus will improve road contact and thus will improve traction.

After Market Performance Wheel Manufacturers:


Savini Forged Wheels display (did anyone notice the wheels in the photo?)

2Crave: wheels from street to track


The 1982-1992 Camaro can fit P275-40ZR17 tires on all four corners without wheel well or sway bar modifications.

After Market Performance Tire Manufacturers:

Cooper Tires


Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS):

AutoMeter: TPMS
Josn Electronics
Tyredog: Inflation monitoring
(Typically used by heavy duty trucks)
MVP: Multi-Vehicle Protocol inflation monitoring
(OEM replacement sensors)


Tire Wheel Mounting Equipment:

Corghi Artiglio Master: Note that this system is leverless and does not come in contact with the wheel.
Corghi (Italy)
Corghi USA

Dynamic Wheel and Tire spin Balancer:

This Snap-on digital dynamic spin balancer can detect out of balance wheel-tire combinations, tire flat spots and impreoperly mounted tires.
Snap-on Tools

Wheel and Tire Equipment:

  • Vis Polish - Automotive rim repair and polishing

Wheel and Tire Trade Associations:

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