In '67 all the 105 cars had 15" wheels. In '69 they all had 14". Don't know about the euro '68's. The 105's had all disc brakes at least back to '64 so I don't think that was the issue, not immediately anyway.
I would bet it had to do with the availability of performance tires in that era. Many European cars (think BMW 2002, FIAT 124) ran 13" wheels in the late 60's and 70's. I'll bet that small 15" tires, like the 155X15's that Alfas ran in the Giulietta & Giulia era were discontinued by many suppliers - for whatever reason, fatter 14" and 13" tires were in vogue. 15" tires were probably thought of as appropriate only for full-sized American cars and pickup trucks.
It's hard to comprehend in today's era of 19" wheels on every suburban housewife's minivan, but like sideburns and bellbottoms, fads were different back then.
You are so right: 14" were seen as much more sporty (and better looking too)than the old narrow 15" wheels at that time. There were many new tires advailable in 14" - broader and in better compounds, and the fact that the period racecars used 13" emphasised the "smaller is smarter" trend. 15" were considered like something close to horse cart wheels....
Funny how things have changed.
14" tires were introduced on 1750's for the 1968 model year. The rims were widened from 4.5" to 5.5", and the tire section increased from 155 to 165. The idea was to follow the trend towards wider profiles, before 70 series radials became available; a smaller diameter rim was needed to keep outside diameter constant.
Another factor was that 14" rims do not clear the Dunlop rear calipers on early 105 cars; 14" rims would not have been possible before introduction of ATE brakes.
It is worth noting that 1300 and 1600 Giulias/Juniors were produced beyond 1968 with 15" rims and 155 tires.
I can certainly understand the change to 14"for performance as I have run 15" wheels on my 69GTV with the 165r15 tire (they looked huge in compariaon to my usual 14" wheels with 185 65 14 tires. The result was a very vintage feel in a car I had always thought of as being modern feeling for its age. Of course the huge wheels/tires made the car feel very slow. This was an interesting experiment and the wheels/tires looked great but as far as driving pleasure they really reduced the sporty feel. I like the TZ wheels but they only sell them in 15" so I guess I won't be getting any unless I can find another 40-50HP somehow.
Ok, I'll answer if you insist. I would presume the same reason Chevy went from 15" wheels in the mid 50's to 14" in '58. Anyone old enough to remember the "low profile" tires circa about 1964? The puny 735 x 14's they put on full size Impala's when they use to run 775's. Guess they just thought it was
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