From the original Ford Mustang in 1965 up through the Ford Mustang Mach-E released in 2021, the Mustang has had many different looks over the years. What about the OEM tires and wheels?
Each new generation of the Ford Mustang has brought with it a facelift and a new power plant. But within each generation, the OEM tires and wheels differed even more. If you’re looking for a specific year and model’s OEM tire and wheel information, consider this your number one resource for finding the information that you need.
The Ford Mustang has had six (going on seven) generations throughout its nearly sixty-year history. And with all the different trim levels, it can be easy to see how it is pretty much impossible to keep track of exactly what the OEM wheels and tires for any specific year and model were. That said, we’ve made it easy for you. Use this comprehensive guide to quickly determine what the OEM tires and wheels were for every model year of the Ford Mustang.
All of the information you find in this article was compiled following countless hours of research into the history of the Ford Mustang. With nearly 60 years’ worth of model years to go through, it requires a lot of careful research to ensure that we’re providing you with the most accurate information on the web. Rest assured knowing that the OEM tires and wheels information shown for each model year is actually what came on the car during that year!
Ford Mustang OEM Tires & Wheels
The Ford Mustang is one of the most iconic vehicles in the automotive industry all across the world. It’s a vehicle that has transcended borders, starred in movies, and brought people together for nearly 60 years.
During that time, a lot has changed. From the original Ford Mustang released in 1965 all the way through the barrier-breaking all-electric Ford Mustang Mach-E released in 2021, nothing has stayed the same.
Each new generation of the Ford Mustang came with it a complete facelift and upgraded capabilities. Then within each overarching generation, there were more facelifts and more performance upgrades.
And with each different version of the Mustang, down to the various years and trim levels, Ford offered different tires and wheels from the factory. With literally hundreds of combinations of the years, it’s impossible to keep track of which wheels and tires really came from the factory.
That’s where we come in. We’ve gone back through every model year of the Ford Mustang (1965 - 2021) and found the OEM tires and wheels that came on the most popular trim level of that year. If intra-generation years had the same options, we chose a different trim level that was popular during that year — such as the 1969 Boss 429, for example.
So let’s get into it! Here is a breakdown of the different generations of the Ford Mustang over the years, followed by all the various wheel and tire options that Ford included on them from the factory.
1st Generation Mustang (1965 - 1973)
Technically the first generation of the Ford Mustang was actually first released about midway through 1964, and it’s commonly referred to as the 1964.5 Mustang. But for all intents and purposes, it’s been widely accepted that the Ford Mustang was first released with the 1965 model year, even if it was more like a year and a half.
The first models of the Ford Mustang included six- and eight-cylinder engines across the various trim levels, from the standard base model in 1965 through the 428 Cobra Jet Mach 1 in 1970. As you can imagine, this also meant all sorts of different tire and wheel options.
Throughout the first generation of the Mustang, the vast majority of the years and models came with 14” wheels and tires, but there were also a few models that had 13” and 15” sizes standard from the factory. Also keep in mind that during the 60s and early 70s, almost all of the wheel options were just steel wheels with wheel covers, there wasn’t the wide selection of aluminum wheel options available today.
Here is a breakdown of the OEM tires and wheels that came on the Mustang during each year of the first generation.
The most popular version of the car that was sold during the first model year was the base model with the 6-cylinder, 200-cubic inch engine. Touted as a family car that was a bit more fun to drive than other normal cars on the road, the base model Mustang was an instant hit. So that’s which trim level we will be looking at for 1965.
6.50” x 13” Firestone Champion
The standard tires that came on the 1965 Ford Mustang were 6.50x13 Firestone Champions. Like most tires that were used during these days, the Firestone Champions were of bias-ply construction rather than the steel-belted radials that are used today.
Bias-ply tires are noticeably worse to drive on than any type of modern tire you’ve driven on. But back in 1965, they were the norm so everyone was used to them. The OEM Firestone Champions came with a standard black sidewall, but a ⅞” white sidewall option was also available for those who wanted the extra aesthetics.
Today, the modern equivalent size is a 175/80R13, and it would of course be a steel-belted radial, offering far better handling and durability. Coker Tire makes a tire in this size that also has the optional whitewall, perfect for any enthusiasts on the hunt for that period-correct look.
13” x 5” Styled Steel or Wheel Covers
During the early years of the Ford Mustang, the wheels that were included were almost always just a steel wheel with a wheel cover of the buyer’s choice. Wheel covers were easy enough to change that owners could swap them out as they wanted to to get the perfect look.
On the 1965 Mustang, the standard wheels were 13x5 steel wheels that came with a few different wheel cover options, with the “wire wheel” look by far being the most popular option. These small wheels were not exactly designed with performance in mind, and after the 1965 model year, the Mustang never had 13” wheels again.
Similar to the first year of the car, the most popular trim level of the 1966 Ford Mustang was also the most popular model that was purchased. But there was a major change in the OEM tires and wheels between the two years.
6.95” x 14” Firestone Champion
As you may have noticed, that big change from the previous year was that the standard OEM tires were now 6.95x14 Firestone Champions. While the tire itself was the same as before, the size was different, not only in width (from 6.50” to 6.95”) but also in diameter (from 13” to 14”).
Though they were still the same bias-ply Firestone Champions, the bigger tires offered a bit better performance than the previous years. This was because the wider tires provided more traction during high-speed driving and more aggressive cornering and the bigger wheels added stability.
The best modern-equivalent option that you have is still the Coker Tire Silvertown Radial with the black and white sidewall options. Only this time you’d be looking for a 185/75R14 tire to get the period-matching size.
14” x 5” Styled Steel or Wheel Covers
As with the 1965 model year, the OEM wheels that came on the 1966 Ford Mustang were just steel wheels that were either left as styled steel or had one of a few different wheel cover options snapped on.
The big difference in 1966 is that the OEM wheels were now all 14”. Ford ditched the 13” wheels after the 1965 model year and never went back. The bigger wheels added more stability to the Mustang and allowed for a tire with a less dominating sidewall. This allowed for tighter performance and better handling overall.
With the 1967 model year of the Mustang, the OEM tires and wheels for the popular V6-engine were exactly the same as they were the previous year. So let’s take a look at what tires and wheels came on the 289-cubic inch V8-engine models to see how they differed.
6.95” x 14” Firestone Wide Oval
The V8 versions of the Mustang came with an entirely different tire, even though they were exactly the same size. Rather than the Firestone Champions that were used on the less-powerful models, the bigger-engined Mustangs used 6.95x14 Firestone Wide Ovals.
These Wide Oval tires were still a bias-ply tire that offered much the same performance as the Champions did. The modern equivalent that best fits this year and model of the Mustang also remains the same, with the Coker Tire Silvertown Radial in 185/75R14 sizes. The only real difference is that the Wide Ovals had a ⅝” white sidewall compared to the ⅞” white sidewall on the Firestone Champions.
14” x 5” Styled Steel or Wheel Covers
Even with the 289-cubic inch V8 motor, the wheel options remained the exact same from 1966, with just 14” styled steel wheels or with wheel covers. Between the two years, the different wheel cover options were not even changed.
Based on the OEM tire size (6.95x14), the ideal wheel size for the 1967 V8 Mustang was a 14” x 5” steel wheel. So if you’re restoring a Mustang from this year that fits into this category, then you’ll want to get a set of 14x5 wheels to best fit the 185/75R14 tires that match the OEM tire size.
Just like in the previous year, the 1968 Mustang had the same tire and wheel options on the most popular models including the V6 and the smaller V8 options. So for the 1968 model year, we’ll take a look at the big V8 — the 390-cubic inch engine variant — to see how the wheels and tires were different from the smaller-engined cars.
F70 x 14” Firestone Wide Oval
With the bigger and more powerful 390-cubic inch V8 engine, this model of the Mustang was offered with a new, wider tire option — F70 x 14” Firestone Wide Ovals. These Firestone Wide Ovals were over an inch wider than the tires on the mustangs with the smaller engines, and these were offered on all GT models as well.
That naming convention might not mean a lot for you, but that’s because it’s a bias-ply tire, so the construction is completely different. That said, the “70” in F70 is still in reference to the aspect ratio and the “14” is still the wheel size, so it’s easy to determine the modern equivalent. For the 1968’s Firestone Wide Ovals, they are the equivalent of a 215/70R14 in modern sizing.
14” x 6.5” Styled Steel or Wheel Covers
The wheel options for the 390-cubic inch V8 model Mustang in 1968 remained largely the same as the previous years and the other models. You had your choice of styled steel wheels or steel wheels with wheel covers. But to handle the bigger tires and to offer more control and stability in the more powerful model, there was one key difference.
The standard wheel options for the 1968 Mustang with the 390-cubic inch motor were 14x6.5. Compared to the 14x5 wheels that came on the other models, that’s a 30% increase in width — which is pretty substantial. These helped keep the car planted to the ground even with the additional power that the motor was putting out.
It’s time to step away from the standard models of the Mustang briefly to take a look at one of the most iconic Mustangs built — the 1969 Ford Mustang Boss 429. Over 50 years later, this is without a doubt one of the most sought after Mustangs in the world, so it only made sense to look at the OEM tires and wheels that came on it instead of the other models.
F60 x 15” Goodyear Polyglas
With the introduction of the 1969 Mustang Boss 429, there were of course some new tire options to handle the power that this monster of a car was putting out. To handle this beast, Ford put F60 x 15” Goodyear Polyglas tires on them. For the first time since the Mustang was released (at least for the models in this guide), the Mustang had non-bias ply tires.
The Goodyear Polyglas tires were so named because they were belted with actual fiberglass. Like today’s tires use steel-belted radials, the Goodyear Polyglas tires of the late 60s used fiberglass to reinforce the tires. Thanks to these fiberglass belts the Boss 429 was much more easily controlled than it would be on the bias-ply tires of the other models.
15” x 7” Magnum 500 Steel Wheels (Optional Chrome Finish)
Finally, we get the first set of actual, distinguishable wheels on the Mustang. In 1969, both models of the Boss Mustang (the Boss 302 and the Boss 429) came with Magnum 500 steel wheels. To add even more options and to really make the Boss models pop, owners could also get the Magnum 500 in a chrome finish.
Not only were they the first set of unique wheels, but they are also the first standard option on this list to step up in size. Before now, we’ve only had 13” or 14” wheels. With the Magnum 500 wheels, we get the first set of 15” wheels. They were also the widest wheels that had been offered, at 7 inches. These 15x7 wheels were necessary to handle the power of the Boss 429 as well as to really complete the incredible look of the car.
In 1970, the base Mustang models started getting some new wheel and tire options, but they were really just the options that we already looked at for some of the higher-end Mustang models. So for 1970, let’s take a look at one of the other most iconic Mustangs of all time — the Mach 1.
E70 x 14” Goodyear Polyglas
The 1970 Ford Mustang Mach 1 came with E70 x 14” Goodyear Polyglas tires from the factory. As you just read about with the 1969 Mustang, the Goodyear Polyglas tires used fiberglass belts inside the tires for stability and support. But as you also might have noticed, the size that came on the 1971 Mach 1 is not the same as the size that came on the 1969 Boss 429.
From the Boss 429 to the Mach 1, Ford stepped it back down to 14” tires instead of the bigger 15” ones that came on the Boss. But that’s just because the Boss 429 was still a much higher-tiered model in 1970, and it still had the exclusive rights to the 15” tires. The 14” Goodyear Polyglas offered far better handling than any of the previous bias-ply tires and started really giving people a glimpse of what the Mustang could do.
14” x 6” Deep Dish Sport Wheel Covers
For the 1970 Mach 1, you won’t find a set of OEM wheels that were unique and distinguishable, since that was again still left only for the Boss models. But the Mach 1 did have a unique appearance nonetheless. They were still steel wheels underneath, but the Mach 1 had special deep dish sport wheel covers to give it a much more aggressive look than the average Mustang.
As 14x6 steel wheels underneath the fancy wheel cover, they were still a little small and underwhelming, but they got the job done. The deep dish sport wheel covers really helped to set the Mach 1 apart and are something that some of the most fervent Mustang fans of all time are still in love with over 50 years later.
After a few years of looking at some of the higher-tiered Mustang models while the standard trim levels offered the same wheels and tires over and over again, we finally got a chance to look at the base model again. For 1971, let’s take a look at the base 200-cubic inch engine model of the Mustang since this is the first year that a new tire option was provided as original equipment.
E78 x 14”
The tires that came on the base model Mustang in 1971 were simple E78 x 14” radial tires. These were actually some of the most basic tires that were offered during this era since they didn’t even have a whitewall option from the factory — the E78 x 14” OEM tires were just standard blackwall tires.
These tires were still bias-ply, so they didn’t offer much in terms of performance or handling. But that’s just what was common to use at the time. The modern size equivalent of these tires is 195/75R14, which means you have a whole slew of options that you could fit on your 1971 Mustang and they’d fit perfectly (and perform much better than the OEM bias-ply tires!).
14” x 5.5” Styled Steel or Wheel Covers
For the 1971 Mustang, the standard wheels that came from the factory on the base model went back to the styled steel wheels or steel wheels with wheel covers. There were a few different wheel cover options that owners could choose from, to add a little bit of flair to your own Mustang.
The biggest difference between these stock steel wheels and the ones from a few years back is that the 1971 Mustang’s OEM wheels were 5.5” inches wide. This is a half-inch wider than the steel wheels of previous years. This just helped the new E78 x 14” tires get as much traction as possible by keeping the tread planted to the ground.
For 1972, we’re going to go back to the Ford Mustang Mach 1, because all of the other more popular models still had the exact same options as previous years. After this, however, we won’t revisit the Mach 1 for over 30 years. As Ford themselves didn’t keep the Mach 1 mantle going once the 70s ended.
E70 x 14” White Sidewalls
The 1972 Mach 1 Mustang got some new E70 x 14” tires to go along with the facelift of the Mustang. With a refreshing redesign of the body style, it only made sense to throw in some nice new tires as well, right? Well the E70 x 14” tires that came on the 1972 Mach 1 really helped to complete the look with their white sidewalls, which really made the Mach 1 pop.
Yet again, these tires were still made using the old bias-ply tire construction, so the Mach 1 wasn’t really able to be pushed to its limits unless you were to swap a set of belted radial tires on there. The modern equivalent size for the Mach 1 would be a 205/70R14, so you won’t have any trouble finding a set of decent tires that fit.
14” x 6” Deep Dish Sport Wheel Covers
Although the updated Mach 1 came with a nice new set of whitewall tires, the wheels remained unchanged from the previous years of the Mach 1. The high-performance car still came with the same 14x6 steel wheels with the deep dish sport wheel covers as it did in 1970. These wheel covers helped set the Mach 1 apart, but at the end of the day, they were still just steel wheels.
1973 was the end of an era when it came to the Ford Mustang. After taking the world by storm less than a decade earlier, the first generation Mustang was in its last year of production. That said, most of the OEM wheel and tire packages remained unchanged. That said, Ford did offer optional tires for all of the models that were upgrades over previous years.
GR78 x 14” Steel Belted Radial Ply
With the 1973 Mustang, Ford did something that would help change the tire industry and the norm when it comes to tires forever. They began offering GR78 x 14” steel-belted radial tires. You may have noticed a few mentions up to this point of the fact that modern-day tires are steel-belted radials, so that should give you an idea of how much better these were than the bias-ply tires of the day.
These tires were an option that could be included on every model of the Mustang released in 1973, from the base model V6 to the top-tier Mach 1. And anyone who opted for them would be happy with that choice. The added stability and enhanced handling changed the way the Mustang drove for the better and helped propel the automotive industry towards the modern-day performance that we have.
14” x 6” Styled Steel or Wheel Covers
Even though the tires got a massive upgrade in 1973 (at least as an option), the OEM wheels were still just basic steel wheels. For this year, the standard wheels offered on most models were 14x6 styled steel wheels or basic steel wheels with wheel covers.
You might have noticed one small difference compared to the wheels of older generations, and that’s another half-inch addition to the width. These 14x6 steel wheels are what used to come standard on only the Mach 1 models, but were now being used with the other models. In conjunction with the new steel-belted tires, the 1973 Mustang could handle better than ever before.
2nd Generation Mustang (1974 - 1978)
For the 1974 model year, Ford made the bold decision to redesign the Mustang from the ground up, and a new generation Ford Mustang was born. During its five-year run, the second generation Mustang was heavily marketed and over one million of them were sold. Even with the great sales numbers at the time, the second generation of the Mustang has long since been touted as Mustang fans’ least favorite version of the car.
Known as the Mustang II, the second generation Mustang was somewhat of a hybrid between the first generation and the subcompact Ford Pinto. This led to all new styling that enthusiasts felt drifted too far away from the lines and curves that made the original version of the Mustang so special.
The Mustang II brought with it some of the strangest motor choices in Mustang history, offering a 2.3L four-cylinder, a 2.8L V6, and the popular 4.9L Windsor V8. And as you can imagine, the second generation of the Ford Mustang also brought along with it some new tire and wheel combinations, even though there weren’t too many options available back then.
As we will throughout the entirety of this guide, we’ll start off our soiree into the second generation Ford Mustang by looking at the base model. The 1974 Mustang was met with mixed reviews at the time, although there were quite a few of them sold. In hindsight, many people feel that the 1974 redesign of the Mustang was one of the worst decisions in the history of the iconic American car.
BR78 x 13”
Even though fans around the country had hoped that Ford would stay away from the 13” tires for good, they decided to go back to them for whatever reason with the release of the second generation Mustang. The new BR78 x 13” tires were still bias-ply construction that offered very little in the way of performance, but they could get drivers from point A to point B.
The modern equivalent tire size would be a narrow 175/80R13, which most people wouldn’t want to drive on for an extended period of time. That said, the Mustang II’s tires were just as good as any other vehicle’s tire options back in the day, and people were happy with how they performed.
13” Styled Steel or Wheel Covers
With the re-introduction of 13” tires to the mix, Ford was forced to bring back the 13” wheels as well. While people never were fans of the small 13” wheels, it’s fair to keep in mind that the new Mustang was based on the subcompact Pinto chassis.
This meant that it was 19” shorter in length and nearly 500-pounds lighter, so the 13” wheels were as big of an issue as they were on the original version of the car. That said, bigger wheels still would’ve offered more control and stability to help offset the lack of control that bias-ply tires provide.
As one of the best bits of news that Mustang fans around the country got when Ford started advertising the 1975 Mustang, the V8 was coming back. That’s right, Ford had abandoned the V8 in 1974 when they launched the new Mustang, a decision that was met with harsh criticism. Not only did Ford put the V8 back in the Mustang, but steel-belted radial tires also became standard. Let’s take a look at the Fastback V8 model of the Mustang.
GR78 x 14” Steel Belted Radial Ply
The biggest improvement that Ford made to the Mustang between 1974 and 1975 (other than bringing the V8 back) was bringing back the steel-belted radial tires. These were the same kind of tires that were on the late-model first generation Mustangs that fans of the car were more than pleased with.
The steel-belted radial tires offered enhanced stability and control, which then translated to an overall more enjoyable driving experience. And with the Windsor V8 back in the lineup, Mustang owners wanted all the control they could get so that they could truly get the most out of their Mustang.
14” x 6” Styled Steel or Wheel Covers
Similar to the last models of the first generation Mustang, Ford offered 14x6 steel wheels to go along with the 14” steel-belted radial tires. The new steel wheels were offered as either styled steel or standard steel with trim pieces, so they weren’t anything special aesthetically.
But the increased size — in both diameter and width — helped aid the tires even more in adding enhanced stability and control. The optional wheel trim pieces added a bit of flair to the otherwise mundane lineup of wheel choices.
While the Mustang II received very few changes from 1975 to 1976, there were a couple of new variations of existing models and performance packages added. One of which was the Cobra II package that added a big rear spoiler, a fake hood scoop, and blue stripes. Let’s take a deeper look into the 1976 Cobra II to see what exciting wheel and tire combination Ford fitted them with from the factory.
We might have set you up for some disappointment there with that last sentence because truth is, Ford didn’t put any new wheels and tires on the Cobra II package. It was the exact same combination from the standard V8. So the tires were just the same GR78 x 14” tires that we just talked about in a bit more detail in the 1975 model year, so we’ll spare you the extra reading here.
Just as the tires were the same, the Cobra II’s wheels were also the same basic 14x6 steel wheels. Like us, many Mustang fans at the time wished that Ford would’ve come up with some stylish new wheels to go along with the Cobra II package that would have made it stand out from the rest of the pack.
Ford brought back the popular Mach 1 with the second generation Mustang, and it remained largely unchanged throughout the five-year period. With all the other models also remaining similar to what the previous year had to offer, let’s take a look at the 1977 Mustang Mach 1 and see which wheels and tires Ford decided to go with.
195/70R14 White Letter Tires
To ensure that the Mustang Mach 1 not only performed great but also looked the part, Ford was sure to include some raised white letter tires from the factory. When you think of a classic muscle car, you probably picture some tires with white letters on them letting the world know that the car meant business, and that’s exactly what Ford did with the Mach 1.
The 195/70R14 tires that came on the Mach 1 were far more capable than the 13” tires that came standard on the base model. Not only were they 14” tires which meant they could fit a bigger and better wheel, but they were also almost an inch wider. This helped drivers of the Mach 1 keep better control of their car and let them push the Mach 1 further than they could other models.
14” Styled Steel Wheels with Trim Rings
Unfortunately, Ford did not outfit the second generation Mach 1 Mustang with any sort of special wheels that were unique to the model. Instead, the Mach 1 just had standard 14” styled steel wheels with trim rings. There isn’t really much to talk about with the wheels that came on the Mach 1, but at least they weren’t 13-inch!
1978 was the final year of the Mustang II, and Ford sent the second generation off with a bang by releasing the limited edition King Cobra package. The King Cobra was mostly an appearance and slight modification package, but it was only offered with the Windsor V8. But with such a rare one-year limited edition model, Ford finally had to release some new wheels for the King Cobra, right?
14” Lacy Spoke Wheels
For the first time during the reign of the second generation Mustang, Ford actually did release some new wheels with the introduction of the King Cobra. Though they were still 14” wheels which limited the performance due to the tire options, the new wheels were at least entirely unique to the King Cobra package and make bias-ply it even more coveted among Mustang enthusiasts — even though it’s already the most desirable Mustang II ever built.
The new wheels are commonly referred to as “Lacy Spoke” wheels because of the mesh that the many spokes form as they radiate away from the center of the wheel. The wheels also had special edition cobra center caps that fit along with the rest of the wheel perfectly. They were unlike any other wheels Ford had ever produced. The King Cobra was a great sending off for the oft-overlooked second generation Mustang.
3rd Generation Mustang (1979 - 1993)
In 1979, Ford did away with the second generation and ushered in a new line of the Ford Mustang. The third generation Mustang is much more commonly known by its other name — the Fox Body Mustang.
Ever since the Fox Body Mustang was released, it has been one of the most popular models of the car that’s ever been built. Even today, people all around the country are obsessed with Fox Body Mustangs for their look, performance, and the massive aftermarket marketplace.
Although the car was a big success overall, it was all over the map in terms of OEM wheels and tires. Even after Ford went to the steel-belted radial tires years ago, some of the third generation Mustangs went back to the poorly-performing bias-ply tires wrapped around some basic steel wheels. On the other hand, some models were outfitted with top-notch tires and aluminum wheels straight from the factory.
Let’s take a look at the year-by-year breakdown of all the OEM tires and wheels that came on the most popular models of the third generation Mustang.
As we will do consistently throughout this guide, let’s start off the third generation by taking a look at the most popular model sold — the base model V6 Mustang. Just like with the first generation Mustang, Ford started off a little slow on the OEM wheels and tires, but the options started to pick up soon after.
13” Bias Ply Tires
For some reason, Ford decided to take a trip down memory lane and outfit the first year of the new Fox Body Mustang with 13” bias-ply tires. If you remember back to the 1965 Mustang described above, Ford did the exact same thing with the first year of the Mustang. And just like in 1965, these 13” bias-ply tires got the job done, but just not very well.
With these tiny 13” bias-ply tires, the new generation of Mustang was difficult to control and couldn’t really be taken to high speeds. Bias-ply tires offer far less rigidity and stability than their belted-radial counterparts, and these issues are only compounded when they’re so small. Even today, you won’t find many 13” tires available, but the modern equivalent would be a 175/80R13.
13” Styled Steel Wheels
Just like the tires offered on the base model 1979 Mustang, the OEM wheels were incredibly basic as well. To go along with those 13” tires, the new Fox Body came with 13” styled steel wheels, with wheel covers being an optional add-on. The 13” wheels that came on the Mustang offered little in performance capabilities in themselves, but that can mostly be attributed to the poor choice of tires from Ford.
With how small in diameter and how skinny they were, it could get a little tricky to take high-speed turns or do any sort of aggressive driving. But thankfully Ford ditched the 13” wheels again not long after this first year, so most of the third generation models didn’t have to contend with them.
1980 was a huge year in the history of the Mustang when it comes to tires. Hark back to the 1973 Mustang above when we touted the use of radial-ply tires. Well in 1980, Ford took the plunge head-on, moving all models of the Mustang over to only radial tires, no more bias ply! Let’s take a look at how these new tires played out on the popular 1980 Ford Mustang Ghia.
14” Radial Ply Tires
As alluded to above, the 1980 Mustang switched over to radial tires on all models, a game-changing move by Ford that really should’ve been done a year sooner to match the new generation. But better late than never! The 1974 Ghia not only came with radial tires, but they were bigger (at 14” diameter) than the base model’s 13” tires.
These bigger tires offered a handful of benefits over their smaller counterparts. First, they added some stability and better handling, able to actually control the Mustang better and guide it down the road. And to make the drive better, bigger tires with taller sidewalls also provide more comfort, lessening the effects of poor road conditions.
14” Steel Wheels with Turbine Wheel Covers
The tires might have gotten a big upgrade going to all radial-ply across every model, but the wheels stayed fairly boring in 1980. The Ghia Mustang came with basic 14” steel wheels to go along with the bigger tires, which did help to add more stability to the Mustang and enhance the handling. But it didn’t do much for the looks and appearance of the car.
To help out with that, Ford offered 14” turbine wheel covers as the standard option on the Ghia, which became a staple of the Fox Body Mustangs. These wheel covers helped to give some level of flair to the Mustang and will pop back up a few times as you read through this guide.
With the 1981 model year, we’re going to take a look at one of the most iconic Mustang models ever created — the Mustang Cobra. As you may know, the Cobra has long been a popular model and will come up again and again throughout this list. Not only are we dealing with a legendary model name, we also get our first look at one of the most famous names in tires.
190/65R15 Michelin TRX
Of note, the 1981 model year was the first year that Ford finally got rid of 13” tires as the standard tire option. From here on, all OEM options are 14” or bigger. But let’s dive into what came on the 1981 Mustang Cobra from the factory — 190/60R15 Michelin TRX tires. While the TRX may no longer be in production, Michelin certainly is, and this is the first of many years that Ford put Michelins on the Mustang from the factory.
These 15” Michelin TRX tires were high-quality steel-belted radial tires that were designed to handle the performance of the high-powered car. Those old 13” wheels and tires wouldn’t cut it, so Ford had to look elsewhere. The Michelin TRX was a huge upgrade that helped Cobra owners really get the full experience of their car, and the size is a common modern-day size as well so they’re easy to replace.
15” Forged Aluminum Wheels
To go along with the introduction of the OEM Michelin tires with the Fox Body Cobra, Ford also released brand new wheels. The 1981 Mustang Cobra came with 15” forged aluminum wheels, the first time that forged wheels were an option from the factory. In fact, this was the first time that aluminum wheels were presented as the OEM wheel option.
Before this, Mustangs had steel wheels that were either styled, enhanced with wheel covers, or finished with chrome. But aluminum wheels changed the game, and are still by far the most common types of wheels around today. The 1982 Cobra wheels were lighter and wider, allowing drivers to push their Cobra to the limits unlike any Mustang before.
The 1982 model year of the Mustang came with a bunch of changes to the models that Ford was offering. The Ghia, Cobra, and even the standard base model options were no more. Instead, Ford offered a new family of models including the L, GL, and GLX — each more luxurious than the previous. To top it off, the popular GT model made its return, replacing the Cobra as the high-powered option of the bunch. For 1982, we’ll take a look at the new base model, known as the L model.
175/75R14 Radial Tire
Even though the L was the lowest-tiered model, it actually came with the exact same tires from the factory as the higher-priced GL and GLX models. The OEM tires for the base model of the 1982 Mustang were simple 175/75R14 radial tires. As mentioned previously, Ford did away with 13” OEM tires as well as bias-ply, so at the very least, these tires were a big upgrade over previous years.
While the 14” radials were an upgrade over smaller bias-ply tires, they were still incredibly small and didn’t handle great. The 175/75R14 tire size is very narrow, which can lead to a bit of discomfort in the driver’s seat during any sort of high-speed driving or aggressive cornering. But at least such a narrow tire made it easier to turn!
14” Steel Wheels with Full Wheel Covers
All three of the lower-tiered Mustangs in 1982 came with 14” steel wheels. The only real difference between the models was the wheel covers. For the L model, the steel wheels were adorned with full wheel covers, similar to many of the previous years. Other than that, the 14” steel wheels were the same as in older models — they got the job done, but they weren’t anything special.
In 1983, Ford didn’t make any drastic changes to the Mustang, offering the exact same models as the year before. They did, however, make changes to the wheel and tire options of all four models. The biggest change came with the GT, which was stepped up in wheel size and given some much higher-quality tires than it had received in 1982.
220/55R390 Michelin TRX
Like the Cobra model of 1981, Ford decided to go with Michelin TRX tires on the Mustang GT. But as you might have noticed, the tire size for this year is a bit strange. Usually, the number following the “R” is the diameter of the wheel in inches, so what’s up with the “R390”? Strangely, the tires used on the 1983 Mustang GT displayed the diameter in millimeters, which comes out to just over 15” in diameter.
That said, for all intents and purposes, you can just think of these as 15” tires — we won’t even get into the “220” in the tire size, since every other size always has the first number ending in a “5”. Regardless of the strange size naming convention, the Michelin TRX tires allowed drivers to really drive their new Mustang GTs. The wider tread provided better contact to allow for harder, more aggressive driving.
15” Cast Aluminum Wheels
To go along with the new 15” Michelin TRX tires that Ford used, the Mustang GT also got some new 15” cast aluminum wheels. While these aren’t quite as nice as the forged aluminum wheels that came on the Cobra a couple of years earlier, these aluminum wheels were far lighter and easier to maneuver than the steel wheels that came on the other models.
You may be wondering what the difference between the cast aluminum and forged aluminum wheels is. Without getting too deep in the weeds on the intricacies of metallurgy, it comes down to a different manufacturing process. Cast wheels are created by pouring molten aluminum into a mold and letting it harden. Forged wheels are created from a single solid chunk of aluminum. In the end, they’re both aluminum, but forged wheels are stronger than cast.
In 1984, Ford had a few different changes to the Mustang lineup. The GLX model was discontinued because it was seen as redundant — not luxurious enough to overtake the LX, and those who wanted power went for the GT. But the big story of 1984 was the introduction of the Mustang SVO, which is what we’ll be taking a look at here.
225/50VR16 Goodyear NCT Radial
The top-tier Mustang model released in 1984, the SVO the most powerful and performance-oriented member of the family. And with that performance in mind, Ford was sure to add some high-quality tires from the factory. To enable drivers to take advantage of the SVO as much as possible, they were outfitted with 225/50VR16 Goodyear NCT radials.
These wide Goodyear tires provided arguably (or perhaps, inarguably), the best traction and performance of any tires that Ford had put on a Mustang to date. The Goodyear NCT radial tires offered maximum traction during aggressive driving and high-speed cornering that allowed drivers to take their SVO to the limits.
16x7 Cast Aluminum Wheels
In conjunction with the tire upgrade, Ford also increased the diameter and width of the wheels. The SVO Mustang came with 16x7 cast aluminum wheels that were light enough to add excellent performance while being strong enough to stand up to the abuse that SVO drivers were expected to put their cars through.
The 7-inch width of the wheels really accepted the wider Goodyear tires and enabled the SVO to be driven hard. The wide wheels and tires would keep the car planted on the ground in all conditions more so than any year before. This (and the 1981 Cobra) were really the first years that Ford made sure to take the wheels and tires into account when it came to their high-performance models.
In 1985, the biggest change to the models of Mustang that Ford produced was to the base model version. The L package was discontinued, leaving only the LX as the base model V6 Mustang. As the only lower-tiered model left, Ford made slight improvements to the design and even offered better tires as an OEM option.
225/60VR15 Goodyear Eagle
The standard option that came on the LX Mustang was the same 195/75R14 tire that we looked at previously, but Ford gave owners a second option in 1985. They could opt for the upgraded wheel and tire package from the factory that included 225/60VR15 Goodyear Eagle tires. You might have heard of the Goodyear Eagle name, as it’s a tire that’s still widely produced and used to this day.
These upgraded tire options were a huge improvement over the standard 14” tire in just about every way. To start, they were more than an inch wider, which provided drivers with even more traction on its own. But as Goodyear Eagles, they were far superior in design and construction than the 195/75R14 tires were as well, letting LX Mustang drivers get the most out of their cars.
15” Steel Wheels with Turbine Wheel Covers
Even with the upgraded tires, Ford did little to upgrade the wheels to match. Of course, they had to go from 14” to 15” wheels, but they still just offered steel wheels. To make it even less exciting, the steel wheels just came with the same turbine wheel covers that had been offered on the LX and GLX models over the past few years.
This is one of the most boring years in Mustang history when it came to tire and wheel packages because nothing changed since the previous years. The same models were still offered — LX, GT, and SVO — and all of their wheel and tire options remained the same. But let’s take a quick look at the GT since its tires have changed since we last looked at it in 1983.
225/60VR15 Goodyear Eagle
You know those 225/60VR15 tires that we mentioned above that were available as an option on the LX model in 1985? Well, those are the standard tires that came on the GT model during these years. The Goodyear Eagles were really designed for the GT and other performance-oriented vehicles, and let Mustang GT owners get as much out of their cars as possible.
15” Cast Aluminum Wheels
While the 1986 Mustang GT received different tires than it did in 1983 when we last took a look, the wheels were exactly the same. The 1986 GT came with the same 15” cast aluminum wheels that it did back in 1983, they were now just wrapped with an even better tire than the Michelin TRX. This new wheel and tire combination helped propel the Mustang GT to the forefront of the minds of the everyday American that wanted to experience a high-performance car.
1987 was a big year for the Mustang in general, as it was the year that the redesigned Fox Body was released. For Fox Body enthusiasts, there are generally two camps — those who prefer the “four-eyed Fox” (so named because of the headlight style) and those who prefer the redesign. Well even though Ford redesigned the body, the wheels and tires were exactly the same. And to make things worse, only the LX and GT models were brought back. Let’s just take a very brief look at the base model LX Mustang.
195/70R14 Radial Tire
For some reason with the 1987 Fox Body redesign, Ford ditched the optional 15” Goodyear Eagles that they offered on previous versions of the LX. Instead, the only options that Mustang owners had were the OEM 195/75R14 blackwall tires or the 195/70R14 whitewalls. The key here is that the much better 15” Goodyears were no longer offered.
These skinnier 14” tires just didn’t offer the same performance that the Goodyears did, and the LX Mustang was unable to perform as well as it could before. It was strange enough of Ford to redesign the body and only offer two models, but lessening the quality of the tires on the models they still offered was not the best choice.
14” Steel Wheels with Turbine Wheel Covers
Much the same as the tires that came on the 1987 Mustang LX, the wheels were nothing special, just back to the old 14” steel wheels. Just like in previous years, the LX Mustang came equipped with turbine wheel covers in an attempt to add some flair, but the 1987 Mustang was set up just the same as the earlier models of this generation.
For the second year in a row, Ford reintroduced only two models — the LX and the GT. And also for the second year in a row, the tire and wheel options remained unchanged from before. We’ll dive very briefly into the 1988 Mustang GT just to see what it really came with from the factory, but these are the years that the aftermarket Mustang community really started to thrive. If Ford wasn’t going to give Mustang owners better options from the factory, the aftermarket industry would.
225/60VR15 Goodyear Eagle
As you can see, the Mustang GT came with the same 225/60VR15 Goodyear Eagles tires as it had for a few years now. This wasn’t necessarily a bad thing, because the Goodyear Eagles were (and still are) a high-quality tire geared at performance-oriented vehicles. So even though the tires remain unchanged, they performed well and owners were happy with them. The bigger issue came with the lack of variety or options in the wheels.
15” 16-Spoke Cast Aluminum Wheels
If you think about it, tires don’t really change the look of a car on their own — unless you’re talking about super-wide tires meant for racing (which we’ll see much later). The real ticket to altering the look of a car is the wheels. And for the 1988 Mustang GT, Ford offered the exact same 15” 16-spoke cast aluminum wheels that had been the OEM option on the model for years.
This lack of variety is what really helped to build the massive Mustang aftermarket parts industry that we have today. These days, the Mustang world has one of the biggest aftermarket part communities of any car on the planet, and it was really started during these years that were a bit of a lull period when Ford wasn’t giving owners anything to choose from.
After a couple of years of total stagnation, Ford decided to release something new in 1989. Thus, the Mustang LX 5.0 was born. As the name suggests, the LX 5.0 was a hybrid of the LX model and the GT model. It had the same engine as the GT (the famous Ford 5.0), but most of the other features of the LX, so it wasn’t quite the same as the GT. At least not in all aspects.
225/60VR15 Goodyear Eagle
However, one of the places that the LX 5.0 was the exact same as the GT other than the motor was the tires. The 1989 Mustang LX 5.0 came with the exact same 225/60VR15 Goodyear Eagle tires that we’ve been seeing pop up in the past few years. They performed great, transferred power to the road, and were comfortable to ride on. Ford saw no reason to change the tires, and Mustang owners were more than satisfied with how they performed.
15” 10-Spoke Cast Aluminum Wheels
Although the tires were the exact same as the Mustang GT, Ford decided that it was time for a new set of wheels to be released to come along with the introduction of the new LX 5.0. While they were still 15” cast aluminum wheels, similar in composition and construction to the wheels that came on the GT, they looked entirely different.
The 1989 Mustang LX 5.0 came with a brand new 10-spoke (or 10-hole) design, compared to the 16-spoke design of the GT. This new design completely changed the look of the Mustang LX 5.0, and finally gave owners something to get excited about. No longer would their Mustang look the exact same as previous years and models, and they worked great in conjunction with the Goodyear Eagle tires.
After Ford was on the right track with the introduction of the new LX 5.0 in 1989 and the accompanying brand new 10-spoke aluminum wheels, Mustang fans were hopeful that 1990 would have something up its sleeve. But unfortunately, the models offered in 1990 were the exact same as what came in 1989, and the wheel and tire options remained entirely unchanged. Just to give a quick refresher of what the 1990 models had, we’ll take a very quick look at the OEM tires and wheels from the 1990 Mustang GT.
225/60VR15 Goodyear Eagle
Yet again, the 1990 Mustang GT came with the 225/60VR15 Goodyear Eagle tires. We’ve harped on them enough in the previous years, so we won’t spend too much time here. But they performed great, kept the GT planted to the ground, and allowed drivers to push their Mustang GTs to its limits.
15” 16-Spoke Cast Aluminum Wheels
And as you might’ve expected, the 1990 Mustang GT also came with the exact same 16-spoke cast aluminum wheels that it has come with for years. Stack up any OEM tire and wheel packages from the third generation Mustang GT and you would not be able to tell a difference without looking at the tire’s date codes!
In 1994, Ford kept the same three models that they had been offering in the previous few years — the LX, LX 5.0, and GT. While all of the models actually received an upgrade in either their wheels, tires, or both, let’s take a look back at the base model, the Mustang LX. The base models were always the most popular models due to their affordability and versatility, so let’s see what people were rocking with their 1991 Mustang LX.
195/75R14 Radial Tire
Unfortunately, the tires on the 1991 Mustang LX were not what was changed. This year and model were still using the same 195/75R14 radial-ply tires that we’ve taken a look at previously, and they wouldn’t be swapped out for the remainder of the third generation of the Mustang. For the base model, the 14” tires did fine, getting drivers from point A to point B, but they weren’t exactly made for performance.
14” x 5” Stamped Steel Wheels
The only real change in the Mustang LX’s OEM tire and wheel package was the wheels, and mainly just how the wheels were made. In 1991, Ford switched over to 14x5 stamped steel wheels for the Mustang LX, instead of the standard steel wheels with the turbine wheel covers that had become commonplace for the better part of a decade.
The new wheels didn’t offer much in the way of performance or anything, since they were still just simple 14x5 steel wheels, but people became fans of the new designs. Same with the tires, the wheels would not be updated again for the last few years of the third generation. So the 1991 Mustang LX was the exact same — tire and wheel wise — as the 1992 and 1993 model years before the new generation Mustang was released.
Since the LX model would remain the same as alluded to above, let’s focus on the other two models of the Mustang that were still being released — the LX 5.0 and the GT. Both models received upgrades in the 1991 model year along with the LX, but they too remained the same as the generation closed out. So let’s take a look at the LX 5.0 first.
The biggest difference that the Mustang LX 5.0 got in terms of tires was that the 15” tire size was thrown by the wayside. Instead, Ford stepped up the size to 16” diameter tires and the size went to a 225/55ZR16. The specific brand and model of tires seem to have alluded people, but it’s safe to assume that they were no longer using the Goodyear Eagle tires.
The new tire size was the same width as the older 15” Goodyear Eagles, so the traction that they offered was largely the same as before. The total diameter of the new tire was just slightly smaller, about 0.2” less in diameter, so nothing much changed there either. The bigger difference, of course, came from the 16” diameter wheels.
16” x 7” 5-Spoke Cast Aluminum Wheels
With the new tire and wheel options that Ford came out with and offered as original equipment, the wheels were completely different than what they had been in previous years. Let’s start with the obvious, they were an inch bigger than their predecessors, stepping up from 15” to 16”. This is a common theme that you’ll see on the higher-tiered models, as OEM wheels start to get bigger and bigger in diameter up through the modern-day.
But the entire design of the wheels were different as well. Gone were the days of the 10-spoke wheels that came on the LX 5.0. Instead, a new 5-spoke design was implemented, which was very well received. 5-spoke designs continued to grow in popularity, and various 5-spoke designs will be seen again and again throughout the history of the Mustang’s OEM wheels.
The last year of the Fox Body, the end of an era. Many people might have been hoping that Ford would do something special with the Fox Body as a sending off, but that didn’t happen. In fact, Ford did nothing at all to the previous model years as previously mentioned. That said, the wheel and tire options were the exact same as in ‘91 and ‘92. So let’s take a quick look at the last model we haven’t looked at during this span, the Mustang GT.
When we say that Ford didn’t do anything to improve on the wheel and tire packages, we mean it. In fact, they are the exact same setup as what Ford offered on the 1992 LX 5.0 that you just read about above. The GT was fitted with the same 225/55ZR16 tires as the LX 5.0 was, and they offered satisfactory performance for anyone who picked up either model.
16” x 7” 5-Spoke Cast Aluminum Wheels
Also, something that was a bit boring for die-hard Mustang fans hoping for something special was the OEM wheel option. Like the tires, it was the exact same 16x7 5-spoke cast aluminum wheels that came on the LX 5.0. 1991 through 1993 Mustang LX 5.0s and GTs came with the exact tire and wheel packages as each other, without even the option for owners to opt for something different.
Thankfully, this was the last year of the exact same wheel and tires, since the following year brought along with it an entirely new generation of the Mustang.
4th Generation Mustang (1994 - 2004)
After a decade and a half of the Fox Body Mustang, Ford decided that it was time to release an entirely new design, and the fourth generation Mustang was born. The new design was entirely different from the Fox Body, and if you put a third and fourth generation Mustang next to each other, you wouldn’t even know that they’re the same model of car.
Based on the chassis code used for the new Mustang, the fourth generation of the car is typically referred to as the SN95 Mustang. One of the best things about the new Mustang is all the different wheel and tire packages that were offered by Ford from the factory. From here until the modern-day, there will be very few repeat wheels between models in subsequent years.
Not only that, but each model’s wheels have easily identifiable part numbers that make finding OEM replica wheels easier than ever. And, of course, there were also all sorts of new tire sizes, brands, and models used on the new generation of the Mustang. So let’s dive right in.
Here are the most common OEM wheel and tire packages for every year of the SN95 Mustang, from 1994 through 2004.
As we’ve been doing throughout this guide, let’s start off by taking a look at the base model SN95 Mustang that came out in 1994. As the most popular model that was sold in 1994, you’ve likely seen plenty of these cars on the road as well as the wheels and tires that came on them from the factory.
When Ford brought in the new generation Mustang to replace the Fox Body, there were fans all over the country on both sides. Some loved the move, others missed the Fox Body. But with the new generation, Ford also brought in all new tire setups. The first tires that Ford used on the base model V6 in 1994 were 205/65R15 all-season tires.
Ford wanted to focus on providing base model owners with reliable and dependable performance all year long without focusing too much on performance. It was Ford’s thought process that the GT and other higher-tiered models would be performance-focused, and the base model would continue to just bring in more customers. These all-season tires would be used on the fourth generation base model all the way until 2002.
15” x 7” 5x114.3 Aluminum Alloy Wheel (F4ZZ1007F)
Gone are the days of steel wheels coming on the Mustang from the factory, the era of aluminum alloy wheels has begun. The early versions of the base models of the SN95 Mustang came with 15x7 aluminum alloy wheels that were a brand new design that Ford had never used before.
The wheels were finished in a silver color and had a unique design, with three wide spokes coming out from the center of the wheel. Each of these spokes had three elongated slots in them which offered an interesting visual, and they were finished off with a horse-imprinted center cap to cover the lug nuts. The wheels were instant fan favorites and without a doubt the best wheels that Ford put on a base model Mustang from the factory.
The base model Mustang in 1995 had the same options as the previous year, so let’s take a look at the next most popular model — the Mustang GT. The GT has always been one of the most popular models of the Mustang sold, and the fourth generation Mustang was no exception. With its powerful new 4.6L V8 motor, the Mustang GT needed some beefier tires and wheels, and that’s exactly what it got.
The base model’s tires were very underwhelming for the majority of drivers, but Ford at least provided a bit wider and more performance-oriented tires for the GT in 225/55R16s. These new tires were actually the same size as the ones that came on the GT from the Fox Body’s final years. So even though Ford hadn’t made any changes for a few years in a row there, they stuck with the same tires since they were performing well on the Fox Body.
Fourth generation Mustang GT owners had no major complaints with the tires either. In fact, Ford wouldn’t upgrade the tires on the base model or the GT for nearly a decade following the release of the new generation. They were capable of providing good traction in all weather conditions and could stand up to some of the abuse that the GT was commonly put under.
16” x 7.5” 5x114.3 Aluminum Alloy Wheel (F6ZZ1007MA)
While the base model of the Mustang kept the same wheels as it had in 1994 (as well as a few more subsequent years), the GT had entirely different wheels to differentiate between the two models. The OEM Mustang GT wheels were bigger in diameter and wider than the popular base model wheels, measuring 16” in diameter and 7.5” in width.
The GT’s factory wheels were finished in silver just like the base model wheels, but that’s where the similarities end. These wheels went back to the wildly popular 5-spoke design, with five beefy spokes poking out from the center of the wheel providing a clean, sophisticated look. These wheels also had a horse-imprinted center cap to cover the lug nuts to add to the look.
With the wheels and tires of the base model and GT remaining the same, let’s dive into the Mustang Cobra. As we’ve mentioned before (and we’ll mention again) the Cobra is one of the most legendary names in Mustang history, and this new generation of the Cobra had more performance than ever before. It also was the first Mustang to go above and beyond 16” wheels and tires.
For the first time in the history of the Mustang, 17” wheels and tires were a thing. So Ford needed to change the tire size up completely on the 1996 Mustang Cobra to fit the new 17” wheels. The size that they came up with was 245/45R17. This was one of the widest tires that Ford had put on the Mustang up to this point, and helped set the tone for wider tires moving forward.
The additional width and performance capabilities of the high-performance tires that came on the 1996 Cobra helped to ensure drivers that they could be confident in their tires’ traction even during aggressive driving. This same tire size would be used again on a much more powerful and iconic Mustang down the road with the introduction of the Terminator Cobra.
17” x 8” 5x114.3 Aluminum Alloy Wheel (F8ZC1007BA)
As we keep going up in performance, the wheel size keeps going up as well. Stepping it up from the Mustang GT, the 1996 Mustang Cobra came with 17” diameter wheels that were 8” wide. This is bigger than the GT wheels since the Cobra tires were also nearly an inch wider than the tires that came on the GT.
These 17” wheels are where Ford really started to open their minds up and started getting more and more creative with the OEM wheels they offered. The 1996 Mustang Cobra’s OEM wheels were a variation on the popular 5-spoke design, with each spoke incorporating an elongated oval within itself. This look was unique for the Cobra and wasn’t used again until the next generation of the Mustang.
With the 1997 model year, the base model and the GT came with the exact same wheels and tires that they did since 1994, so let’s take a look at another one of the more performance-oriented models. The Saleen S281 — so named because of the 281-cubic inch motor used in this generation of the Mustang — was a special version of the Mustang that was souped up with a bit more performance and appearance modifications than the regular GT. It also came with a new style of wheels that became an instant favorite within the Mustang community.
245/40R18 Pirelli P Zero
To handle the upgraded performance capabilities of the new Saleen S281, Ford opted to go for the Pirelli P Zero, a maximum performance summer tire. To fit the new 18” Saleen wheels, Ford went with 245/40R18 tires to complete the car’s look. The Pirelli P Zero was originally designed as the OEM tire on luxury performance brands including Aston Martin, Ferrari, Lamborghini, and Maserati, so it could handle the needs of the Saleen S281 with no issue.
The tread compound is enhanced with silica and carbon black that ensure consistent and dependable traction to keep the Saleen glued to the road in warm-weather conditions. Even though they were designed with performance in mind, the P Zero tires also utilize Pirelli’s Noise Cancelling System to make your ride as comfortable and quiet as possible.
18” x 9” 5x114.3 Aluminum Alloy Saleen Style Chrome Wheels (FR06B-18090-5450-24C)
If you’re a Mustang fan or you’ve looked into different aftermarket wheel options to put on your Mustang, you’ve likely heard of the Saleen model. The wheels that came on the 1997 Saleen S281 became an instant classic, and “Saleen style wheels” have been reproduced for just about any Mustang that’s been released since.
Continuing the trend of stepping up in wheel size as we step up in performance, the Saleen wheels were a whopping 18” in diameter and 9” in width. Up until now, no Mustang had ever had wheels that were this big and wide, allowing the potential for even wider tires to be added. The Saleen wheels are another variation of the 5-spoke design, with five narrow spokes bursting from the center, offering one of the cleanest looks of any stock Mustang wheel ever made.
In 1998, all of the Mustang models that Ford was offering remained the exact same as they had in previous years. That said, there is one that we haven’t looked at yet — the Saleen SR. Think of the Saleen SR as the big brother of the Saleen S281 that we just looked into, offering even more performance and a unique combination of OEM tires and wheels that we hadn’t seen before.
255/35R18 (front) & 285/35R18 (rear) Pirelli P Zero
For the Saleen SR in 1998, Ford (Saleen) used the same kind of tire that they had used the year before on the Saleen S281 — the Pirelli P Zero. So we won’t get into too much detail this time around, but the major difference was the sizes that they came in from the factory. For the Saleen SR, a staggered tire size was offered with 255/35R18 in the front and 285/35R18 in the rear. And the P Zero tires let Saleen SR owners really get the most out of their car!
18” x 9” (front — FR06B-18090-5450-24C) and 18” x 10” (rear — FR06B-18100-5450-24C) 5x114.3 Aluminum Alloy Saleen Style Chrome Wheels
Since we’re still dealing with a Saleen model of the Mustang, you might be expecting it to have the same Saleen style wheels that the 1997 Saleen S281 had. And, of course, you’d be correct! The famous Saleen 5-spoke wheels made a return on the Saleen SR, with the same shiny chrome finish that the previous year’s Saleen had.
There was one major difference though, the Saleen SR was the first Mustang ever released to have different size wheels (and tires for that matter) from the factory. The front wheels were the same 18x9 Saleen wheels from 1997, but the rears were widened to create an 18x10 wheel design. This was necessary to fit the massive 285 rear tires that you just read about. Staggered wheels and tires are even more popular on modern-day Mustangs, and this was the first year to offer them as the OEM option.
In 1999, Ford redesigned the fourth generation Mustang and released the updated version with the moniker “New Edge”. As the name implies, the New Edge Mustangs were far more angled, with sharper edges and stronger lines than the curved style of the previous design. To bring in the new redesign in style, Ford also released a new line of wheels for all of its models, so let’s start off with the base model V6.
Even with the new wheels that Ford outfitted the New Edge Mustangs with, they stuck with the same 205/65R15 tires that had been on the base model since 1994. Ford was met with a bit of criticism regarding their choice not to improve the tires with the redesigned body style, but they still didn’t make any changes to the tires for a couple more years.
Drivers of the base model Mustang in 1999 were not happy with the performance capabilities of the stock 205/65R15, but for the most part, the tires did their job and handled everything just fine. They provided a comfortable ride, lasted a long time, and offered drivers dependable traction all year long.
15” x 7” 5x114.3 Aluminum Alloy Wheel (F9ZZ1007HA)
With the introduction of the New Edge body style, a new set of wheels was required as well, even for the base model. The 1999 V6 Mustang came with a brand new wheel design, unique from anything else Ford had used before. Coming in the same 15x7 size as previous years and being made of an aluminum alloy, nothing major was changed in terms of performance.
But the look was brand new. The new base model wheels were a sort of 6-spoke design that was broken into three pairs of two. The spokes were also slightly angled as they protruded from the center, giving each side of the car a subtly different appearance. The lug nuts were again covered with a center cap that had a horse on it to complete the look.
To bring in the new millennium, Ford released a super-high performance Mustang in 2000 — the Mustang Cobra R. At the time of release, the Cobra R wasn’t just the fastest fourth generation Mustang, it was actually the fastest factory Mustang that Ford had ever produced. Making 385-horsepower and completing a quarter-mile in 13.2 seconds completely stock, the Cobra R was in a league of its own and brought with it some unique wheels and tires.
265/40R18 Goodyear Eagle F1
As the fastest Mustang that Ford had produced in the history of the car, the 2000 SVT Cobra R needed a special tire to handle all that power. So Ford decided to bring in the Goodyear Eagle F1 for the first time, which they would end up using time and time again on their high-performance Mustang models going forward. For the Cobra R, Ford put some of the widest tires on the Mustang that they had up to that point, with 265/40R18s on all four corners.
The Goodyear Eagle F1 was designed as Goodyear’s maximum performance summer tire, capable of providing optimal traction in warm-weather conditions. This was perfect for the Cobra R, as it was designed with pure performance in mind, not necessarily year-round driving. The Eagle F1 handled the Cobra R so well that Ford would bring it back just a few years later for one of their most iconic Mustangs ever produced.
18” x 9.5” 5x114.3 Aluminum Alloy Cobra R Wheels (YR3V1007AB)
With the release of the Cobra R, Ford had to come up with a new wheel design to set the car apart. After all, it was the fastest factory Mustang ever produced at the time, so it deserved its own set of wheels. So where did Ford go for their design? To the popular 5-spoke aluminum wheel of course! This time, they were produced in 18x9.5 sizes for all four corners, and they weren’t staggered like the Saleen SR was before.
These new wheels had five skinny spokes, and look a lot like Saleen wheels to anyone who’s just glancing at some pictures. But they did have a few subtle differences. The Cobra R wheels had a deeper rim, with the spokes set back a little into the wheel, unlike the Saleen wheels which sat nearly flush. Similarly, the center of the wheel was set back into the wheel. These features gave the Cobra R wheels some depth, which had not been done before by Ford.
In 2001, Ford changed things up a bit and added a special version of the Mustang GT — the Bullitt. Coming from the original movie starring Steve Mcqueen, the Bullitt Mustang was a fan favorite and has been released each generation (for at least one year) since. The iconic green paint color might set the Bullitt apart, but it also received a brand new wheel design that has become the single most popular wheel in the Mustang community.
245/45R17 Goodyear Eagle ZR45
While the 2001 Mustang GT Bullitt was a step above the standard GT model, it certainly was not the Cobra R from the year before. So Ford stepped the tire size down to 245/45R17 and chose to go a different direction than the Goodyear Eagle F1 as well. The exact brand and model of the tire that came from the factory has been said to be a few different options, but the consensus is the Goodyear Eagle ZR45.
Also known as Goodyear ZR Gatorbacks, the tires that came on on the 2001 Bullitt were designed as ultra-high performance summer tires. Right off the bat, this was a bit of a strange choice for the Bullitt since it was not a model designed for all-out performance. Even so, the tires didn’t provide the traction that you’d expect from a summer tire, and drivers were overall displeased with the Eagle ZR45s. Unfortunately, Ford would bring them back for the Mach 1 just a couple of years later.
17” x 8” 5x114.3 Aluminum Alloy Bullitt Wheels (44331007CB)
We mentioned above that the Saleen style wheels are one of the most common wheel designs used on Mustangs of just about any generation in the aftermarket industry. Well, the most common wheel is the Bullitt wheels that were released in 2001. Yet another rendition of the famous 5-spoke Mustang wheels, Bullitt-style wheels instantly took the Mustang world by storm.
The 17x8 aluminum alloy wheels that were released on the 2001 Bullitt Mustang use a unique spoke design that has garnered popularity ever since. The spokes start off narrow at the center before expanding the entire way to the barrel of the wheel, giving them a unique design that has been recreated for every generation of Mustang that’s been built.
When Ford released the new 2002 Mustang, they finally changed the OEM tire size of the base model, something that had remained the same since 1994. With that in mind, let’s go back to the base model V6 — the best-selling model of the year — and see what the wheels and tires that came on it were like.
For the 2002 model year, Ford made the first drastic change to the tires offered on the base model by increasing the size to 225/55R16. This is of note because it was the first year since the fourth generation Mustang was released in 1994 that the OEM tires for the base model stepped in size from 15” to 16”.
Not only were the wheel diameters bigger than the previous year's base model’s, but the tires got wider and also had a lower profile. Going from a 205/65R15 to a 225/55R16 completely changed the look of the base model Mustang while simultaneously enhancing the performance. Even though it was just the base model V6, owners were happy with the tire upgrade after so many years of the far worse 205/65R15.
16” x 7.5” 5x114.3 Aluminum Alloy Wheels (F9ZZ1007GA)
Along with the upgraded OEM tires from 15” to 16” for the first time on the fourth generation Mustang, new wheels were designed to be released at the same time. The new base model wheels were a 16x7.5 aluminum alloy wheel with, you guessed it, a 5-spoke design. We said that the 5-spoke design would come up again and again, and we weren’t exaggerating!
The new 5-spoke design for the 2002 Mustang was still different than anything that had been offered yet. All five spokes were back to being evenly spaced, but the spokes themselves were unique in their design. The spokes in the new wheel were tapered in the middle, getting wider at both ends (in the center and at the barrel), giving the new Mustang a simple yet intriguing look.
When it comes to the 2003 Mustang, there’s only one real choice to talk about — the Terminator Cobra. Created by the Special Vehicle Team (SVT), the Terminator Cobra was powered by a supercharged V8 putting out 390-hp and 390 ft-lb of torque. Nearly 20 years later, the Terminator Cobra (offered only in ‘03 and ‘04) has remained one of the most popular Mustangs ever built.
275/40R17 Goodyear Eagle F1
When Ford designed and built the 2003 Terminator Cobra, they knew that they needed a tire that could handle the power and torque of the supercharged V8, so they went with 245/40R17 Goodyear Eagle F1s. The Eagle F1 is Goodyear’s top-tier ultra-high performance summer tire that was designed for high-powered vehicles to offer the best traction possible. So it was a no-brainer to use them on the Terminator Cobra so that drivers could get traction on the street.
Due to the design of Goodyear’s Racing Compound Technology that offers high-performance capabilities, the Goodyear Eagle F1 tires aren’t known for lasting long, which is why they come with no manufacturer’s warranty. But with the 2003 Cobra, you should be more concerned with performance than longevity, and that’s where the Eagle F1 really shines. Ford liked how the Eagle F1 performed on the Terminator Cobra so much that they ended up bringing it back a few years down the line on an even more powerful model Mustang.
17” x 9” 5x114.3 Aluminum Alloy Wheels with Chrome Finish (3R3Z1007EA)
With the introduction of the Terminator Cobra, Ford also released new wheels to go along with it. After all, you can’t exactly release a new model like this without new wheels, right? The 2003 Cobra came with 17x9 aluminum alloy wheels on all four corners, wide enough to house the wide tires that were wrapped around these new wheels.
The Terminator Cobra’s wheels were yet again another variation of the 5-spoke design, similar to the Saleen style wheels with wider spokes. To set these apart, they were finished with chrome to really make them shine. And oh boy did they, becoming a huge hit within the Mustang community, nearly as popular as the Saleen wheels themselves.
In 2004, the Terminator Cobra was still dominating the Mustang class, but there was still one model left that we haven’t looked at since the 1970s — the Mach 1. This isn’t because we’ve ignored it, but Ford just hadn’t released it in so long. But in 2003, the Mach 1 made its return for just two years but was largely overlooked because of the Cobra.
245/45R17 Goodyear Eagle ZR45
The Mach 1, although nowhere near as powerful as the supercharged Cobra, still put out a respectable 305-horsepower from the factory, so Ford needed a tire that could keep up. They stepped away from the Goodyear Eagle F1’s that they put on the Terminator and decided instead to go with 245/45R17 Goodyear Eagle ZR45s, also known as Goodyear Eagle ZR Gatorbacks.
The Eagle ZR45 tires were designed to be ultra-high performance summer tires that could easily handle the Mach 1 and let owners push their car to its limits. But many Mach 1 drivers had reservations about the ZR45s and complained that they didn’t last long enough and didn’t provide the traction that they were hoping for. Following these reviews and others, not long after they were used as the OEM tires on the 2004 Mustang Mach 1, the Eagle ZR45 tires were discontinued.
17” x 8” 5x114.3 Aluminum Alloy Wheels with Machined Finish (3R3Z1007AA)
The fourth generation Mustang’s version of the Mach 1 came along with an entirely new set of wheels, one that ended up not being as popular as Ford would’ve liked. 17x8 aluminum alloy wheels that utilized the 5-spoke design that the Mustang was famous for at this point, what could there have been not to like?
The center of the wheels was a bit strange, with the hub where the lug nuts hold the wheel on being set back behind that wheel almost as its own entity. To make it worse, that part of the wheel along with the inside of the spokes and the barrel were a different color, giving the wheels a disjointed look. Some people loved them, but they are largely regarded as a failure among popular Mustang wheel designs.
5th Generation Mustang (2005 - 2014)
After just over a decade of the fourth generation Mustang, Ford decided it was time to start fresh again. Thus, the fifth generation of the Ford Mustang was created. Design with a heavy influence on the original body style but with a modern twist, the fifth generation of the Mustang is one of the most popular generations of the car that’s been released.
The long hood and sloping rear windshield creating that fastback look instantly drew long-time Mustang fans back to the 60s when the legendary car was first released. The new generation of the Mustang would also bring back some of the most iconic models of the Mustang that had ever been created.
All that said, you can probably expect to see quite a few different OEM wheel and tire packages, and you will. Almost every year had a model with a brand new wheel design, so Mustang owners had plenty to choose from if they ever wanted to go with something a little different.
So let’s jump right into it. Here is a yearly breakdown of the fifth generation Ford Mustang and all the different OEM tire and wheel combinations that came on all the most popular models.
As we’ve done with the four generations preceding this one, we’ll start off with the base model V6 and take a look at the wheels and tires that it came with. One thing that you’ll note with the new generation is that Ford has completely done away with 15” and smaller wheels and tires, every OEM option is now 16” or larger, even on the base models.
215/65R16 BFGoodrich Traction T/A
With the introduction of the new generation of the Mustang, Ford sidestepped Goodyear on some of the models and went with BFGoodrich for their OEM tires, at least on the base model. With the assumption that V6 base model owners wouldn’t be focused solely on performance, Ford decided to go with 215/65R16 BFGoodrich Traction T/A tires, a lower-tiered tire that was affordable and still got the job done.
The BFGoodrich Traction T/A, which has long since been discontinued, didn’t really do anything exceptionally well, but it did everything just fine. It was sort of a jack of all trades among tires, offering reliable traction throughout the year, but Mustang drivers wouldn’t be breaking any records on them. Even the base model Mustang owners were hoping for a little bit better tire from the factory, and Ford stopped using the BFG Traction T/A shortly thereafter.
16” x 7” 5x114.3 Aluminum Alloy Wheels Machined with Silver (4R3Z1007EA)
With the introduction of the fifth generation Mustang, Ford unveiled a whole new lineup of OEM wheels as well. For the base model V6, the wheels were 16x7 aluminum alloy wheels that were machined with a silver finish. These new wheels finally left the 5-spoke design that had seemed to take over every model of the Mustang, with a new 10-spoke design.
The ten spokes on this week are broken up into five pairs of two, so they didn’t entirely abandon the 5-spoke theme, but these were a totally new wheel at the very least. The new design didn’t have a large center cap that covered the lug nuts, leading to a bit of a cleaner look overall.
The base model’s wheels and tires remained the same between 2005 and 2006, so let’s take a look at the popular Mustang GT. With the new generation of Mustang, Ford used another 4.6L (281-cubic inch V8), but it was an entirely new design. This new Mustang pumped out 300-horsepower completely stock, which was an 80-horsepower increase over the fourth generation Mustang GT.
235/55R17 Pirelli P Zero Nero All-Season
For the first time, Ford decided to go with what became arguably their favorite OEM Mustang tire on the fifth generation Mustang GT — the Pirelli P Zero Nero All-Season. As you’ll soon see through the remainder of this guide, Ford came back to the P Zero Nero All-Season again and again on quite a few different models, so that goes to show how confident Ford was in the tire after trying it for the first time with the new Mustang GT.
The 2006 Mustang GT came with 235/55R17 Pirelli P Zero Nero All-Season tires to handle the upgraded 300-horsepower V8. The P Zero Nero All-Season allowed Mustang GT owners to drive their cars year-round and still get reliable traction, something that wasn’t exactly recommended on the summer tires that had been used on previous generations. The P Zero Nero is a great all-around tire even to this day, and Ford knocked it out of the park with its introduction on the fifth generation Mustang.
17” x 8” 5x114.3 Aluminum Alloy Wheels Machined with Charcoal (4R331007JC)
For the new Mustang GT powered by the popular 3-valve motor, Ford stuck with the same 10-spoke principle used on the base model, but a completely different design. Like the base model wheels, the ten spokes were broken up into five pairs of two, but they were even more defined on the GT wheel. This new design became a fan favorite of GT owners around the country.
With the upped size in tires between the base model and the GT, these wheels were of course upped in size themselves, in both diameter and width. The 2006 Mustang GT OEM wheels were 17x8 aluminum alloy wheels. They had a somewhat strange center that was actually two pieces and didn’t completely cover the lug nuts.
In the 2008 model year, Ford kept the base model and GT wheel and tires the exact same as the previous two years. But thankfully, Ford released a special appearance package on the GT that came with a different wheel and tire combination — the GT California Special. As you’ll soon see, however, it wasn’t just unique to its own model.
235/50R18 BFGoodrich g-Force T/A KDWS
With the California Special (GT/CS) being an appearance package on the standard Mustang GT, Ford decided to change out the wheels and tires. For the tires, they swapped from the wildly popular Pirelli P Zero Nero to the now-discontinued 235/50R18 BFGoodrich g-Force T/A KDWS tires. We’ll start off by saying the P Zero Nero is a better all-around tire, and GT/CS owners would have been happier with it, but the T/A KDWS is not a bad tire in its own right.
The BFG T/A KDWS was a step up from the BFG Traction T/A from the base model and offered GT/CS drivers with reliable all-season traction no matter the weather conditions, including even light snow. It was also designed for a quiet and comfortable ride that GT/CS owners were happy with, but the performance capabilities were not quite up to the bar that was set by the Pirelli P Zero Nero on the standard GT.
18” x 8.5” 5x114.3 Aluminum Alloy Bullitt Wheels with Polished Finish (7R3Z1007B)
Since the California Special was an appearance package more so than anything else, it wouldn’t have made any sense for Ford to keep the same wheels between the standard GT and the California Special. But if you were hoping that Ford came up with something unique to help really set the California Special apart, prepare to be disappointed.
Ford took a page from the aftermarket community on this one and used the OEM Mustang GT Bullitt wheels on the California Special. Even though the Bullitt Mustang wasn’t an option in 2007 (it would be the following year), Ford just used the same wheels for the California Special. These were 18x8.5” aluminum alloy Bullitt-style wheels with a polished finish around the rim and a dark finish throughout the center.
In 2008, Ford brought back the Bullitt Mustang yet again, to make a return for two years before going back on ice until later (which we’ll touch on towards the end of this guide). While the re-introduction of the Bullitt of course brought along with it the famous Bullitt-style wheels, it wasn’t the first time of the generation, as you just read about above. That’s right, Ford used the exact same wheel and tire combination on the California Special and the Bullitt, so we’ll just touch very briefly on it.
235/50R18 BFGoodrich g-Force T/A KDWS
Since the tires and wheels are the exact same as what came on the GT/CS just one year previously, we won’t spend too much time going into detail again here. The 2008 Mustang GT Bullitt came with 235/50R18 BFGoodrich g-Force T/A KDWS tires. These tires offered good traction throughout the year and solid longevity but they were still a bit of a disappointment compared to the normal Mustang GT’s Pirelli P Zero Nero tires.
18” x 8.5” 5x114.3 Aluminum Alloy Bullitt Wheels with Polished Finish (7R3Z1007B)
Just like with the tires that came on the 2008 Mustang GT Bullitt, the wheels were of course the exact same as the ones that came on the California Special. So we won’t dwell on them. They were certainly the right wheels for the Bullitt Mustang, but we just wish that Ford had done something a little bit different on the California Special rather than just recycle the old Bullitt wheels.
With the base model and GT still having the same wheels and tires, let’s take a look at the iconic Ford Mustang Shelby GT500. We have to admit that this version of the GT500 is not the most popular, but it was still an amazing car and of course had its own unique wheels and tires. Powered by a supercharged 5.4L engine, the 2009 GT500 pumped out a whopping 500 horsepower, so it needed some beefed-up wheels and tires to handle itself.
255/45R18 (front) & 285/40R18 (rear) Goodyear Eagle F1
When we were discussing the 2003 Terminator Cobra above, we alluded to a more powerful model getting the same Goodyear Eagle F1 tires later on, and this is that model — the 2009 Shelby GT500. The GT500 of course had different size Eagle F1 tires on it, with a staggered setup consisting of 255/45R18 in the front and some even wider 285/40R18s out back to handle all that power. But the Goodyear Eagle F1 was up to the task.
With Goodyear’s Racing Compound, the Eagle F1 tires were designed to offer maximum summer performance, providing GT500 drivers with optimal traction in warm weather conditions. Stiff shoulder blocks helped to increase rigidity around cornering and a continuous center enhanced high-speed stability, something that GT500 owners were likely thankful for. After all, who was buying a 500-horsepower Shelby GT500 just to drive slow?
18” x 9.5” 5x114.3 Aluminum Alloy SVT Wheels Machined with Silver (7R3Z1007A)
Even if Ford was using the same wheels between some of the other models (California Special and Bullitt), they did at least come up with a unique set of wheels for the Shelby GT500. To handle the upgraded power put out by the supercharged 5.4L engine, Ford put the aforementioned 285s on the rear, so Ford needed to have a wheel that could handle it.
Along with the Special Vehicle Team, Ford came up with some 18x9.5 aluminum alloy wheels machined with a silver finish. The unique wheels came with an entirely new 10-spoke design that looked far more aggressive than the wheels on the other options, which was fitting since the GT500 was by far the most aggressive car of them all as well.
2010 was actually one of the strangest model years of the Ford Mustang ever. It’s kind of seen as the black sheep of the fifth generation Mustang because it’s caught right in the middle of a redesign of the body and motor. In 2010, the Mustang received a body style redesign that was very well received. However, in 2011 (as you’ll soon see), a brand new motor was introduced that put the 4.6L to shame. Yet the 2010 Mustang still had the old motor — meaning it had the new body, but the old, less-powerful motor. It was kind of caught in no man’s land.
215/60R17 Michelin Energy Saver A/S
With the freshly updated redesign to the body, Ford decided to bring in a new line of tires for the base model V6 Mustangs — the Michelin Energy Saver A/S. Fitted with 215/60R17 Energy Saver A/S tires, the 2010 Mustangs weren’t designed with extreme performance in mind. As the name of the tire suggests, the Energy Saver A/S were engineered to increase fuel economy while providing traction throughout the year as a reliable all-season tire.
The Michelin Energy Saver A/S is, in fact, the most fuel-efficient tire in North America due to its exceptionally low rolling resistance. This doesn’t seem like a normal concern for the Mustang, but the use of the Energy Saver A/S can be thought of as the turning point where Ford decided they needed to put a bigger focus on fuel efficiency and the environment, especially with the base model cars.
17” x 7” 5x114.3 Aluminum Alloy Double-Spoke Wheels (AR3Z1007C)
A redesigned Mustang wouldn’t be complete if they just reused the same old wheels, so new wheels came into play as well. The redesigned base model V6 Mustang came with 17x7 aluminum alloy wheels that followed the same trend as the previous base model — reminiscent of the 5-spoke design but actually having ten spokes.
The new wheel design is hard to describe, but we’ve decided to start calling it the double-spoke wheels, since each of the “five” spokes is really broken up into two entirely separate spokes. Besides that, Ford steered clear of the hub cap that covered the lug nuts and just increased the overall center hub of the wheel.
As we alluded to above, the 2011 Mustang received a brand new lineup of much more powerful motors. While the base model got an upgrade of its own, the Mustang GT was all the rage starting in 2011. Ford brought back the famous 5.0 motor from the 90s, only this time it was even better. Nicknamed the Coyote, this new motor put out 412-horsepower completely stock, which was even more than the supercharged Terminator Cobra from ‘03 and ‘04.
235/50R18 Pirelli P Zero Nero
When Ford released the new 400+-horsepower Mustang GT in 2011, they needed a tire that could handle the increase in power without sacrificing all-season performance. And the tire they chose is the same one that they’d already been running on the GT for over half a decade — the Pirelli P Zero Nero All-Season. As an ultra-high performance all-season tire, the 235/50T18 P Zero Neros allowed drivers of the new Mustang GT to drive year-round with reliable traction in all weather conditions.
Thanks to the silica-enhanced tread compound, the P Zero Nero offered more than enough traction to handle the power output of the new Coyote motor, letting Mustang GT owners push the car to its limits. The P Zero Nero has a few other features that 2011 Mustang GT owners really loved including the Pirelli Noise Cancelling System for a quiet ride and an intricate network of sipes and grooves to direct water away from the tire for enhanced traction.
18” x 8” 5x114.3 Aluminum Alloy 5-Spoke Wheels with Silver Finish (AR3Z1007G)
With the introduction of the new 5.0L Coyote engine to complement the refreshed design of the body, Ford decided to make a drastic change from the 10-spoke wheels that had been on the Mustang GT up to this point. Thus, they went back to their roots and came up with a brand new 5-spoke wheel design that was simple yet elegant.
The new Mustang GT came with 18x8 aluminum alloy 5-spoke wheels that were finished in a somewhat dull silver color. The design was simple — five large spokes making up the wheel. Different from any 5-spoke design they’d released yet, it became popular among fifth generation Mustang owners. The design was simple yet stylish enough to look good with just about anything.
Not only did Ford bring back the 5.0 motor following the body redesign, but they also brought back the iconic Mustang Boss 302. With some upgrades to both the power and appearance of the normal GT, the Boss 302 put out 444-horsepower and did so in style. Ford also released some brand new wheels for the Boss 302 that had never been used before.
255/40R19 (front) & 285/35R19 (rear) Pirelli P Zero
To handle the upgraded power output of the Boss 302 and to give owners the best performance possible out of their new car, Ford went with the Pirelli P Zero maximum performance summer tires. From the factory, Ford put a staggered set of the P Zeros on the Boss 302 with 255/40R19s in the front and a pair of 285/35R19s in the rear. While the names are very similar, don’t confuse the Pirelli P Zero that came on the Mustang Boss 302 with the Pirelli P Zero Nero All-Season that has come on a slew of different models.
The P Zero tires that came on the Boss 302 were summer tires, not all-season. While they performed incredibly well in warm temperatures, it isn’t recommended to drive on summer tires year-round. So owners of the new Boss 302 weren’t happy that they couldn’t drive their new Mustang all year without fear of getting poor traction and performance out of the tires.
19” x 9.5” 5x114.3 Aluminum Alloy 10-Spoke Wheels with Black Machined Finish (CR3J1007BA)
Ford couldn’t bring back the legendary Mustang Boss 302 without designing some special wheels for it, and that’s exactly what they did. Although some of the more recent Mustangs had been fitted with some sort of hybrid 5-spoke/10-spoke wheel design, Ford went all-in on the 10-spoke design for the new Boss 302.
The Boss 302 came with 19x9.5 aluminum alloy true 10-spoke wheels that were finished with black everywhere except a silver lip around the edges. We say “true 10-spoke” because all ten are independent and equally spaced, there was so semblance of the 5-spoke design on these wheels. The Boss 302’s wheels were hit and miss, some people loved them and others swapped them out as soon as they got the car home. But kudos to Ford for trying something entirely new.
In 2013, Ford redesigned the body style yet again, which was again well-received. But there’s really only one model worth talking about from this model year — the iconic 2013 Ford Shelby GT500. Powered by the supercharged 5.8L Trinity motor, the 2013 (and 2014) Shelby GT500 made 662-horsepower and is still one of the most coveted Mustangs of the modern era to this day. To handle all this new power, Ford of course released a new OEM wheel and tire combination just for the GT500.
265/40R19 (front) & 285/35R20 (rear) Goodyear Eagle F1
When Ford released the new Shelby GT500 in 2013, it was an all-new animal, more powerful than any Mustang Ford had ever released before. That said, they stuck with the same tires that had been on the previous GT500s since they performed so well for so long — Goodyear Eagle F1s. For the new Shelby GT500, Ford included different diameter wheels for the first time from the factory, which required 265/40R19 tires in the front and 285/35R20s on the back.
As an ultra-high performance summer tire, the Goodyear Eagle F1s were designed to offer optimal performance in warm weather conditions, and that’s exactly when the new Shelby GT500 really shines. The tread compound and tire design enabled the Eagle F1 tires to provide traction and grip even when dealing with a 662-horsepower supercharged V8, so that goes to show you just how high-quality these tires really are.
19” x 9.5” (front — BR3Z1007K) & 20” x 9.5” (rear — BR3Z1007N) 5x114.3 Aluminum Alloy Wheels with Hyper Dark Silver Finish
To go along with the new powerplant and design of the Shelby GT500, Ford created some of our personal favorite wheels that ever came from the factory on a Mustang. As you noticed when you read about the tires, the wheels are staggered with 19x9.5s in the front and a set of 20x9.5s in the rear, able to handle those big tires and the power that the GT500 was putting down.
The design of these wheels was truly something special, and automotive fans around the country started putting replicas of them on other cars because of how good they looked. The GT500 wheels had a circle of eight triangles surrounding the hub before branching off into eight respective sets of double spokes. They were then finished in “hyper dark silver” to really complete the look. Tough to describe, but gorgeous to look at.
The 2014 model year brought along with it the end of the fifth generation Ford Mustang. Let’s come full circle and finish the fifth generation of the Mustang the same way that we started — by taking a look at the base model since all the other models were the exact same as previous years. Even though the base model didn’t have anything unique to it either!
215/65R17 Michelin Energy Saver A/S
Ford closed out tires on the sixth generation base model Mustang the exact same way that they brought the updated body design back in 2010, with Michelin Energy Saver A/S tires. The 215/65R17 Energy Saver A/S tires were designed to provide a quiet and comfortable ride while offering best-in-class fuel economy. These aren’t exactly things that people typically think of when they’re looking at buying a Mustang, but Ford wanted the base model V6 to be as accessible as possible.
The Energy Saver A/S tires used an incredibly low rolling resistance to draw the best-possible gas mileage out of the base model Mustang. Throw in a 65,000-mile tread life warranty and Michelin’s Comfort Control Technology, and the Energy Saver was a great all-around tire that Mustang owners were happy with overall. They just wished that the OEM tires had been sized and chosen with a bit more performance in mind, but that’s what the GT models were for!
17” x 7” 5x114.3 Aluminum Alloy Double-Spoke Wheels (AR3Z1007C)
If you were hoping that Ford would do something special with the 2014 Mustang to send off the sixth generation Mustang with some new wheels, you would have been disappointed. In fact, the 2014 base model had the exact same 17x7 aluminum alloy “double-spoke” wheels that the 2010 base model came with after the body redesign.
6th Generation Mustang (2015 - Present)
A decade after the fifth generation Mustang was released, Ford closed up shop on it and decided that a full redesign was needed, so they got to work on coming up with something new. What they came up with was something unlike any Mustang that had ever been created, and it was met by controversy along the way.
Known as the S550 Mustang because of the chassis code, the sixth generation kept only the very general stylistic design choices that made the Mustang popular and put a completely modern twist on it. The long hoods and the sweeping rear windshield were retained, but die-hard Mustang fans around the world disregarded the new design as not being a real Mustang.
That said, the new design of the Mustang also brought on a whole bunch of new fans, and over the years it’s become arguably more popular than it has been in recent years. Ford is embracing the modern design of the new Mustang and doing what’s best for the long-term survivability of the Mustang.
Let’s get into it and see what Ford has done with the Mustang over the past seven model years, from 2015 until the 2021 Mustangs that were just recently released. Here’s an annual breakdown of the popular sixth generation Mustang models and the OEM tires and wheels that came on them.
To remain consistent with all the other Mustang generations that we’ve looked at, let’s start off by looking into the base model V6. With the start of a whole new generation of Mustang, it’s fair to assume that there will be all sorts of new OEM tire and wheel combinations, so let’s take a look at what Ford offered their customers.
235/55R17 Pirelli P Zero Nero All-Season
Even when Ford completely redesigned the Mustang for the new generation in 2015, there was one thing that they didn’t change — they still brought back the 235/55R17 Pirelli P Zero Nero tires. That’s how good the P Zero Nero tires really are and how confident Ford is in this tire, it’s pretty much the only part on the entire car that wasn’t touched with the redesign. That’s because the P Zero Nero is a top-quality all-season tire that offers exceptional ride comfort, longevity, and performance.
The tread compound of the P Zero Nero enabled drivers of the brand new Mustang to put it to the test right from the factory. Even though this was just the base model, Ford took a step back from the Energy Saver A/S tires from the previous generation and gave their customers tires that could really stand up to the test. And the P Zero Neros certainly did not disappoint.
17” x 7.5” 5x114.3 Aluminum Alloy 5-Spoke Wheels with Silver Finish (FR3Z1007A)
With the wildly controversial redesign of the 2015 Mustang, Ford went back to their roots again with a classic 5-spoke wheel design. The new Mustang came with 17x7.5 aluminum alloy 5-spoke wheels that were finished in the same dull-silver color that the previous generation Mustang GT wheels were finished in.
The design was, of course, still unique from the previous years, as the spokes were designed with a large ridge running down the middle. But overall, it was still a fairly simple 5-spoke design. Ford might have known how much attention the redesign of the body was getting that they just wanted to go with a simple and safe 5-spoke wheel design.
Ford certainly didn’t wait long before introducing something incredible in their lineup of Mustangs, with the GT350 making a triumphant return in 2016. Not only was the GT350 back, but Ford took it a step further with the race-oriented GT350R. We just had to talk about the GT350R as soon as it was released because the wheels that Ford put on it are without a doubt the most amazing wheels that Ford had ever released at the time.
305/30R19 (front) & 315/30R19 (rear) Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2
The 2016 Shelby GT350R was designed with one main purpose in mind — racing and performance. That said, Ford knew that they’d need a top-tier tire to handle what the GT350R could do, and they decided to go with the Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2, staggered with 305/30R19s in the front and 315/30R19s on the rear. Although it technically is a street-legal tire, the Pilot Sport Cup 2 was also designed with the exact same purpose in mind — racing. So it was a match made in heaven.
The Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires come factory on some of the fastest cars in the world and perform at the track as well or better than any other tire in the world. The tread is made up of two different compounds to offer optimal traction at high speeds to keep the GT350R planted to the track’s surface. If Ford had just put a normal car tire on the Shelby GT350R, drivers wouldn’t be able to experience anything close to the car’s full capability.
19” x 11” (front — HR3Z1007G) & 19” x 11.5” (rear — HR3Z1007H) 5x114.3 Carbon Fiber 7-Spoke Wheels
When news of the Mustang GT350R was first released, there was one thing that really took the Mustang world by storm — the wheels. The GT350R in itself was incredible, but the wheels really stole the show. And for one simple reason: they are constructed entirely out of solid carbon fiber. That’s something typically reserved for supercars, not Mustangs.
But Ford wanted to make it the most race-dedicated Mustang ever, and the carbon fiber wheels were necessary for that. The GT350R’s wheels are staggered (as well as staggering!), with 19x11 wheels in the front and a slightly wider pair of 19x11.5s in on the rear. If you have a GT350R and opted for the carbon fiber package, be mindful of those wheels. A new set can cost upwards of $15,000 or more!
Now that we’ve looked at the base model and the amazing GT350R, let’s take a step back and take a peek at the popular Mustang GT. The new Fastback GT that Ford released along with the redesign of the sixth generation Mustang came with 450-horsepower stock and tons of new capabilities. Along with these new capabilities was, of course, a new set of OEM tires and wheels straight from the factory.
235/50R18 Pirelli P Zero Nero All-Season
As you’ve seen on several models of the Ford Mustang throughout this guide, the Pirelli P Zero Nero has been one of Ford’s go-to tires for the Mustang. And that’s for good a reason — it’s one of the best-performing tires in its class and the Musang responds incredibly well to them. The size was the exact same as what came on the previous generation Mustang GT, with 235/50R18s on all four corners. The P Zero Nero is Pirelli’s ultra-high performance all-season tire that’s capable of putting down the power of the Mustang in a reliable fashion.
As an all-season tire, 2017 Mustang GT owners can rest assured knowing that they can drive on the P Zero Nero throughout the year, no matter the temperature or road conditions. Its 45,000-mile tread life warranty might not get you a decade’s worth of driving, but they’ll last a few years after you buy your new Mustang. And the performance and comfort that the P Zero Nero offers will make it a very pleasant few years!
18” x 8” 5x114.3 Aluminum Alloy Wheels with Machined Charcoal Finish (FR3C1007BB)
Strangely enough, Ford almost swapped the wheel designs between the base model and the GT between the fifth and sixth generations. As you just read about with the 2015 model year, the base model went back to a simple 5-spoke design (like the fifth generation GT). But with the sixth generation, the GT wheels were now a 10-spoke design (similar to the double-spoke design of the previous generation’s base model).
That said, the new Mustang GT’s wheels were, in fact, entirely new. They were 18x8 aluminum alloy wheels finished in a charcoal color that really gave the new Mustangs a unique look. The spokes on these new wheels were very long and narrow, something that Ford hadn’t done before with a 10-spoke design. Overall, Mustang GT owners were fans of their new wheels and there have been few complaints about them.
At first, it seemed as if Ford was just doing a facelift (which was very well-received), but that wasn’t it. In one of the most controversial decisions in Mustang history, Ford ditched the V6 motor entirely, instead opting for a turbocharged four-cylinder. For some Mustang fanatics, that was just too much, but for others, it was a welcome addition. Known as the 2.3L EcoBoost, let’s take a look at this new four-cylinder Mustang and see what kind of wheels and tires it came with.
235/55R17 Pirelli P Zero Nero All-Season
As you’ve seen by now, Ford put the Pirelli P Zero Nero All-Season tires on quite a few of the Mustangs over the years, and the brand new 2018 Mustang EcoBoost 2.3L was no exception. Ford went back to old faithful on this one, outfitting the redesigned Mustang with the ultra-high performance all-season tires from Pirelli so that drivers could really push the new turbocharged Mustang to its limits. The size matched the tires from the 2015 base model at 235/55R17.
With a 45,000-mile warranty, the P Zero Nero All-Season is not known as a tire that will last a long time from the factory. But it sure does perform well, which is what Mustang owners typically want out of their new sports car. The silica-enhanced tread compound offers reliable traction at all times during the year, even in wet conditions and light snow. And the inclusion of the Pirelli Noise Cancelling System helps to keep the 2018 EcoBoost’s ride as comfortable as possible.
17” x 7.5” 5x114.3 Aluminum Alloy 5-Spoke Wheels with Silver Finish (FR3Z1007A)
The EcoBoost didn’t only take the spot of the V6 as the base model, but it even used the exact same wheels in its design, even though the body got a slight redesign at the same time. So we won’t spend too much time on them. Just like the 2015 base model, the 2018 EcoBoost Mustang was fitted with 17x7.5 aluminum alloy 5-spoke wheels with a silver finish.
After a decade on ice, Ford decided to bring back the Bullitt Mustang yet again. Just like all the other editions of the popular style, the 2019 Mustang GT Bullitt was finished in the iconic green paint that is synonymous with the word “Bullitt”. But as you’ve likely realized by now, there’s another thing that’s synonymous with “Bullitt” — the style of wheels that come on the car.
255/40R19 (front) & 275/40R19 (rear) Michelin Pilot Sport 4S
As an upgraded model over the standard Mustang GT, Ford felt that it was only right to include a higher-performance tire on the new 2019 Bullitt Mustang as well. That said, Ford decided to go with the wildly-popular Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tires, and this isn’t the only model of the new Mustang that Ford used this tire on. The Bullitt came with a staggered setup of the Pilot Sport 4S tires, with 255/40R19s on the front wheels and wider 275/40R19s on the rear wheels.
The Pilot Sport 4S is Michelin maximum-performance summer tire, meaning that it was designed for use only during the warmer temperatures of the summer months. While the tire has a 30,000-mile tread life warranty and performs exceptionally in warm temperatures, it’s not recommended to drive on them year-round if it gets cold where you live. For the Bullitt Mustang, we have to admit that it’s a bit of a strange choice from Ford to put some a performance-oriented tire on it from the factory.
19” x 9” 5x114.3 Aluminum Alloy Bullitt 5-Spoke Wheels (KR3C1007PA)
As you’ve probably guessed by now with all the times the Bullitt Mustang has been reintroduced throughout the generations, the 2019 Bullitt came with 5-spoke Bullitt wheels. For the 2019 version of the popular car, the wheels were bigger than any Bullitt wheel that had been released in the past. The new Bullitt wheels were 19x9, bigger in diameter and width than any of the previous models of the car.
Oddly enough, the Bullitt wheels were actually a bit different, not only in color (they were black with a silver lip), but in design. The spokes on the 2019 Bullitt wheels had more lines and angles, not the typical curves and rounded edges that previous-generation Bullitt wheels had. That said, fans of the new Mustang loved these wheels just as much as the previous versions.
The return of the king. After being discontinued in 2014, the Shelby GT500 came roaring back in 2020, and it came back with a vengeance. The new version of the Shelby GT500 came with even more power than before, by supercharging the 5.2L Voodoo engine that comes in the new GT350. This produces a staggering 760-horsepower bone stock, and the wheels and tires needed to be able to handle that. Did we mention the wheels are solid carbon fiber?
305/30R20 (front) & 315/30R20 (rear) Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2
When it comes to a streetable tire that’s capable of handling the most demanding cars on the planet, there’s really only one option — the Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2. You saw these above on the 2016 GT350R, and Ford decided to bring them back for the return of the Shelby GT500. And for good reason, the Pilot Sport Cup 2s are one of the only streetable tires on the market capable of at least somewhat taming the 760-horsepower beast that is the new GT500.
The Pilot Sport Cup 2s have everything that you read about above and more, including an innovative Bi-Compound that features different rubber compounds throughout the tire. The shoulders of the tire are created with a more rigid compound that keeps the tire planted to the ground under hard cornering, and the inner tread is a softer compound that offers maximum traction at all times.
20” x 11” (front) & 20” x 11.5” (rear) 5x114.3 Carbon Fiber 7-Spoke Wheels
If you thought that the 2016 Mustang GT350R’s carbon fiber wheels could not be topped, you’d be wrong. In 2020 when Ford brought the Shelby GT500 back, they outdid themselves and added even better carbon fiber wheels than what they offered on the GT350R. To start, the new wheels were bigger — 20x11 in the front and 20x11.5 in the rear, but that’s not all.
Although both share the same 7-spoke design, Ford let the carbon fiber elements show through on the GT500, which looks absolutely breathtaking. What’s also of note is that the upsized wheels on the GT500 actually weigh the exact same as the smaller wheels on the GT350R, going to show the advancements that had been made in just four years. Overall, we can comfortably say that these are the best OEM wheels that have ever come on a Ford Mustang.
With the 2021 model year, Ford decided to bring back another legend of Mustang history the Mach 1. While not nearly as powerful as the Shelby GT500 or even the GT350, the Mach 1 is an upgraded version of the standard GT, just as it always has been. As expected, its re-introduction brought along with it a brand new style of wheel and some pretty beefy tires.
305/30R19 (front) & 315/30R19 (rear) Michelin Pilot Sport 4S
The 2021 Mustang Mach 1 doesn’t quite need the race-inspired performance of the Pilot Sport Cup 2s used on the Shelby GT500 above, but Ford still outfitted the new Mach 1 with some top-notch tires. Straight from the factory, Ford wrapped the beautiful Mach 1 wheels in Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tires, an ultra-high performance summer tire that will get the most out of the Mach 1.
These summer tires are designed to get the most performance possible on the streets, and you could easily take your Mach 1 to the track and do just fine with the Pilot Sport 4S tires as well. For an ultra-high performance summer tire, they’re also built to last and come with a class-leading 30,000-mile tread life warranty. Since most comparable tires on the market come with no warranty, that’s as good as it gets!
19” x 10.5” (front) & 19” x 11.5” (rear) Dark Tarnished-Painted Aluminum Wheels
The 2021 Mustang Mach 1 was outfitted with one of the most unique wheel designs that Ford has ever produced. The Mach 1 has staggered wheels between the front and back, with the fronts coming in as 19x10.5 and the rears an entire inch wider at 19x11.5. Not only are the Mach 1’s wheels just about as wide as the Shelby GT500’s wheels, but the design is also something never seen before on a Mustang.
With the 2021 Mach 1, Ford ditched the standard-spoke wheel design entirely, with not straight lines going from the hub to the rim anywhere on the wheel. Instead, Ford put together a slew of angles and intersecting lines that create an intricate network of metal. They are truly something worth taking a look at and have been at the forefront of Mustang fans’ minds since the first images were released.
Ford Mustang Mach-E (2021 - Present)
While we aren’t quite ready to call this a new generation of the Mustang just yet, it might be heading this way. In 2021, Ford not only released the standard Mustang models that it had been (plus the Mach 1), but they also released an entirely new version of the Mustang. One that Mustang fans would have never thought possible just a few years ago.
An all-electric Mustang SUV.
Yes, you read that right. The new 2021 Mustang Mach-E is entirely electric. But that’s not it, it’s also now classified as an SUV. In fact, the 2021 Mustang Mach-E recently won North American SUV of the year for its accomplishments. That’s probably something you never thought you’d hear, right?
As expected, the all-electric Mustang has been met with criticism by people all over the country and the world, but Ford is doing what they need to do to stay at the forefront of the automotive industry. Cars are headed in that direction anyway, so it makes sense for Ford to go head-on into the world of electric vehicles with its most iconic vehicle ever in the Mustang.
2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E
Since the Mustang Mach-E has only just come out, there isn’t a whole lot known about them actually on the streets just yet. But one of the things we do know is all the different models that Ford is making. Just like all the regular Mustang generations, we’ll take a look at the base model — the Ford Mustang Mach-E Select.
225/55R19 Michelin Primacy Tour A/S
With the introduction of the Mustang Mach-E, Ford did their customers right with the OEM tires. Any time that Michelins are used as the original equipment, it’s a good choice by the automaker. For the 2021 Mustang Mach-E, Ford decided to go with the Michelin Primacy Tour A/S tires.
As the name suggests, these are high-quality all-season tires capable of providing reliable traction and performance in all conditions year-round. The Primacy A/S was designed to be one of the quietest tires on the road, which is perfect for an all-electric vehicle that's nearly silent in itself. And with a 55,000-mile tread life warranty, you’ll get plenty of life out of them on your new Mach-E before you need to replace them.
19” x 7” 5x108 Aluminum Alloy Wheel
The 2021 Mustang Mach-E Select comes with 19x7 aluminum alloy wheels, but with a different bolt pattern than the standard Mustang. The Mustang’s bolt pattern has been 5x114.3 (5x4.5) for multiple generations, but the new all-electric Mustang throws a bit of a wrench into the mix with a 5x108 bolt pattern. This means that the Mach-E wheels can’t be easily swapped out with the wheels off of a normal Mustang (and vice versa) without an adapter of some sort.
That said, the new wheel design for the Mach-E Select seems to be popular among fans of the new electric Mustang. The aluminum alloy wheels are finished with a machined silver look on the surface, with the inner areas of the wheel finished in black. The design is tough to describe, but once you see it you’ll feel as though they were certainly designed for an electric vehicle. They just have that somewhat futuristic look!
About THE AUTHOR
I've spent many years selling cars, working with auto detailers, mechanics, dealership service teams, quoting and researching car insurance, modding my own cars, and much more.Read More About Charles Redding