Project Bullzeye Dart: Selecting New Wheels From American Racing

arwheelsleadartWe’ve got our Project Bullzeye Dodge Dart heading in the right direction, and for a nostalgic look it’s not too bad with those Mopar Rally wheels. But if we’re going to complete the upgrades we want to complete, those 14-inchers are going to have to go.


The VN327 Rally wheel, available with a polished center or a black center, as shown above.

Looking through the thousands of wheels that are available, making a decision can be both inundating, and time consuming. The first thing that we had to consider is bolt pattern, and the bolt pattern on the Dart is not going to give us many choices. But we knew that going into this endeavor, and had already decided that an upgrade to the more popular 5×4.5-inch bolt pattern was mandatory.

With our choices opened back up again, we decided to take a look at five wheels from American Racing, and photoshop them onto the Dart to see which one’s we like better. Will you like the same wheels that we chose? Or will you go an entirely different route? We’re not going to spill the beans just yet, so you’ll have to keep following Project Bullzeye and see what else we have planned for it.


The VN402 Classic looks great on almost any car from the 60s and 70s.

We showed you some of the first steps to take when you begin a project car with our article on tips and tricks to get the car up and running. We changed the fluids, checked the belts and hoses, and replaced some old, tired parts that were doing us more harm than good.

We followed that article with some common upgrades to the LA318 Mopar mill, and showed you what we saw on the Dynojet dyno after each of three upgrades. With the additional horsepower, the planned upgrades, and the route that this 1971 Dart Swinger is taking, we knew that a new set of 17-inch wheels and tires were going to be a part of the plan.

So we checked out the five wheels from American Racing that fit our style and needs, and after digitally installing them on our Dart, we kinda liked them all. So now we’re curious which wheels you liked best on the Dart. It will have a similar paint job, so it will be blue, and it’s going to have lower profile tires with these 17-inch wheels, and we plan to make a cool cruiser out of her.

American Racing Wheels is well known for their quality and their warranty, and this is why there are so many American Racing wheels on cars in some of the biggest car shows in the country.


The Candidates (in the order shown in the photo above):

  • VN327 Rally – A look that is as classic as these cars themselves, the manufacturers created the Rally wheel to give their cars more of a sporty look in a steel wheel. American Racing captures it in an aluminum wheel, with the rally slots that made this style so popular. Available in polished or black center, with a very cool looking rally center cap to complete the look.
  • VN402 Classic – This wheel has the classic look of a mag wheel from the ’70s, and with the gray center it has a nice contrast to the color of the car. Gray goes well with everything, right? Available in as wide as 15×14 for street rods, or 17×11 for a cool look on musclecars, the classic look can still be affordable when seeking larger than stock tires.
  • VN500 Custom 500 – One of the more popular wheels back in the ’70s was the Magnum 500 that was found on Mopars and Fords. Going a little larger means that factory wheels aren’t an option. With sizing similar to the VN402 above, the Custom 500 looks even better than the original. We like the classic look of the Custom 500.
  • VN472 Burnout – Last but not least is another five-spoke wheel with a modern feel to it. The Burnout is available in 17 up to a huge 22 inches in diameter, and gives large windows between the spokes to show off big rotors and brake calipers. The tight center allows for a longer spoke and a more open look, making this a cool wheel for street rods to musclecars.
  • VN425 TT SL – This wheel has a great five-spoke classic look to it, but gives a very modern feel, especially in the available 17 to 20-inch sizes. Musclecars always look great with five-spoke wheels, it just seems to fit perfectly. This one is available in a polished center or black, our choices are starting to narrow down quite a bit. The contrast helps a lot.

Left: the VN500 Custom 500 reminds us of a classic Mopar/Ford wheel, which is highly desirable. Center: the Vn472 Burnout has long spokes and large windows, great for showing off big brakes. Right: the VN425 TT SL has polished or black spokes, as shown, and actually looks pretty good on the Dart. What do you think?

So there are the five contenders we stated with, which would you choose for the Dart? Tell us what you think looks best in the comment section below. If you’re interested in seeing the numerous other wheels that American Racing has, check out their web site, and go to town picking out the next wheels for your ride. If you’re lucky, you might be able to solicit help from your local Photoshop expert like we did. Sometimes seeing the wheels on the car first helps to make the decision process a little easier, because once you install the wheels – you’re going to be seeing them every day.

About the author

Michael Harding

Michael is a full time Power Automedia writer and automotive enthusiast who doesn’t discriminate. Although Mopar is in his blood, he loves any car that looks great and drives even faster.
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