WV has been reproducing classic wheels for many popular makes and applications in its California-based facility since 1986, and that includes the Pontiac Rally II, but for years it was disassembling original Rally IIs and combining the Pontiac center with its own outer rim to produce the variations it offered, which consisted of rim depths ranging from 7 to 10 inches.
We learned from the SEMA visit that as the supply of original Pontiac cores dwindled, WV eventually began stamping its own Rally II center, creating an entirely new wheel. Upon further inspection of the sample, we found it a near-exact reproduction of Pontiac's most popular 15x7-inch rim, and we were immediately interested. Once we found that the new reproductions we desired retailed for less than $140 each, we quickly realized that our ongoing search-and-restore mission was essentially wasted effort! We contacted our favorite mail-order supplier and had a set of 15x7-inch Rally IIs (PN 60-573404) on our step in a matter of days.
After a thorough inspection to check for accuracy and quality, the only difference we could detect from an original code-HW Rally II was a slight amount of backspace. Externally both rims measured exactly the same, but we found the original contained an offset of about 0.375-inch toward the front of the rim, giving a total backspace of about 4.375 inches. The Wheel Vintiques reproduction has no offset, which means its backspace is 4 inches.
This slight difference of the reproduction Rally II can leave a minute gap between the trim rings when compared to an original, but we found the additional offset beneficial as it allows for precious clearance in the tight Firebird wheelwell if running wider-than-stock tires like our 255/60R15 BFGoodrich Radial T/As. Since Wheel Vintiques well-publishes this information in its sales material, we were aware of the difference going in and are happy to report it worked as planned.
If Rally IIs are in the future for your Pontiac project and number-matching correctness isn't an overwhelming concern, then a set of Wheel Vintiques' reproduction Rally IIs may be one of the easiest options available. Considering the wheels are new and come beautifully painted in the correct colors, a set might very well be a low-buck approach compared to purchasing a used set of originals and expending the resources to restore them!
8. A close looks reveals the quality of the Wheel Vintiques repro. The fresh flange on the lug-nut seat contains the correct taper, and that is a sight we don't often see on used originals. The charcoal color appears correct, and the spokes even feature the raised portion, which is accented in argent, just like an original.
9. Midwest Tire Company in Omaha, Nebraska, installed the new Rally IIs onto a set of nearly new BFGoodrich Radial T/A tires we had from a previous project. The 255/60R15 sizing fit the 7-inch-wide rim perfectly and the 0-offset design of the WV repro helps prevent the tires from contacting the body while cornering.
10. A quick run up to speed on the spin-balancer indicated exactly where the weights were required. We found a minimal amount was needed, which suggests excellent construction.
11. Mounted and balanced, our new Rally IIs are nearly ready to install. Wheel Vintiques also offers 14- and 15-inch reproductions of the Rally I and attractive chromed versions of the 15-inch Rally II.
12. Pontiac introduced a new center cap design for 1973. While reproductions are not yet available, we had an N.O.S. set in our collection that we used for this project. Finding used originals in good shape is usually far easier than the wheels and the Internet has proven an excellent source. Wheel Vintiques offers a reproduction of the 1970-1972 chrome cap with red Lucite center if correctness is less important that appearance.
13. This Rally II is now ready for installation onto our Firebird.
14. Back in the day, the Rally IIs on most new Pontiacs were delivered to owners with trim rings, but running them unadorned is popular with hobbyists today. The ring simply presses onto the outer rim. Its retaining clips quickly scar the freshly painted surface, so before installing them, be sure to consider if you plan to run your Rally IIs without them down the road. Wheel Vintiques offers a reproduction that fits the Rally II. Used originals can be hunted down on the Internet.