Let me first say that I have no idea what these wheels cost in 2008 dollars because they were on my car when I bought it. They were a $120 option available on Mustangs built for the 1965 model year, and I have seen reproduction aluminum wheels made to look just like these steel ones selling for around $160 per wheel.
These are originals: they are chrome-plated steel and are only 14 inches in diameter. When I bought my car I was at first disappointed with these boring wheels. I had seen the wire wheels on other first generation Mustangs and I loved the look of them. I also didn’t like the red center caps: spinners were more of my idea of a great accessory.
Soon I found out how much restomods and repairs (not to mention maintenance) would cost me, and I quickly decided that if my wheels weren’t broken I shouldn’t be trying to fix them. After the obligatory subscription to Mustang Monthly and some web research, I learned that these wheels are somewhat desirable, which also made me see them in a more positive light (especially in my nothing-special 289 hardtop).
As far as performance goes, they do the job. Handling is primitive in any 43-year-old automobile compared to today’s standards, but this car has never gotten away from me since I bought it in 2002 (although admittedly that probably has more to do with the tires than the wheels!). I live in the mountains so I do a fair bit of driving on dirt roads and narrow roads with no shoulders. About half of my driving is on roads with a speed limit of 35 mph, and the other half is usually at 55-60 mph. I think you get out of them what you put into them: careful driving is always safer even if your equipment isn’t very modern.
I will say that because of the steering, I find it hard to drive without using both hands on the steering wheel. This may be because the steering wheel is so large. However, it does tend to make me feel like it wouldn’t take much to bump one of my tires off the road. Because these wheels are 5” wide I try to be mindful of the fact that I don’t have the width of a lot of modern wheels. I do think that their steel construction helps add a little weight to keep all four wheels on the pavement, however.
My dad showed me how to dress them up with some steel wool and they really cleaned up nicely. I have to do this about once a year to keep them shiny as they do develop some minor rust. Overall, these are nice wheels for their age and they complete the classic look of my car without being too flashy. Somehow the racing wheels like Cragars that were popular in the later 1960’s just don’t fit well with the early, smaller Mustangs.
I did replace the red center caps when I bought the car in 2002, but they are also available in other colors: black if you want to go stock or in a few other colors from the reproduction companies. Anecdotally, a new version of larger Styled Steel wheels is now available for the newest generation Mustangs (2005-present), and they look great with the retro-styling of that particular model.