Painting AMC rims or Looking to buy a rim?
Before we get to the rim trick, if you are looking for new trim rings for AMC 8 slots, JEGS sells some replacements that look awesome.
Painting your AMC Rally rims is easy. The 71-74 8 slot rims were made by Kelsey Hayes. Painted semi gloss black, they then were painted argent silver. So whole rim was black....then middle covered and stayed black while rest of rim painted silver. If doing this yourself you can used Krylon in a can, or get paint from Eastwood. Simply media blast your rims, then paint whole external or rim semi gloss black. I like to use 4-5 coats. Let it sit in sun for few days unless you have heat lamp. Then using paper plate, pie pan, bowl, whatever it is you want to cover center, paint rest of rim silver. Please note that you will have run off thru slots and edges, this is exactly how Kelsey Hayes did it mass producing these type rims from 1970 thru late 1980s. Compare it to a Space Saver with orange paint runs behind rim, that is factory. If you wish to get fancy, you can also wait a few days then clear coat your rims also for added protection.
For the 69-up 5 spoke rally rims, these were painted with a sparkly speckly paint. Eastwood sells this type paint and I believe they, or other major vendors sell a paper template you put over spokes when painting very easy to do, used to be you would have to painstakingly mask spokes, but not any more.
If you are looking for a AMC bolt pattern, below is simple tip to find some, whether Cragar, American Racing, even those used on brand x like Ford, Mopar. Many folks can recognize by sight, a AMC rim that was unique to AMC; like 1975-up aluminum slot dish mags, or 71-74 8 slot Rally rims. However with the explosion of different kinds of rims on the market in recent memory this might help out some of you who are considering putting a 16-17 inch rim on your AMC, or just locating a rim in a junkyard, swap meet, car show or vendor. I may add that many companies are not making 14 inch tires anymore in 2011, and the 14 inch rims have disappeared at quick rate due to no market.
Most of the rims used on AMC were made by Detroit Wheel of Detroit Michigan. Or Kelsey Hayes. A common "myth" or "urban legend" out there is people see rally rims and automatically assume they are Ford or Mopar rims. Nope. Detroit Wheel made them and sold them to various automakers. That is the confusion. But many of these three car makers rims will interchange too.
Many of the rims AMC used like the five spoke 'Rally Rims' are made still and can be found in Hemming's Motor News. Magnum 500's are CHROME ONLY, and do NOT take a trim ring, as the Rally Rims do. Rally rims are "painted". AMC also had several types of Rally rims like the 8 slots, 14" and 15" starting in 1971. The most common are the Rally rims however AMC started using in 1969, these take a trim ring, and like the Magnum all-chrome 14X6 1/2 500 rims, also take a small Dixie Cup style centercap. The little 'American Motors' decal in the middle has been reproduced and I usually stock them, about $40 for a set of 4. The centercaps were also used by various manufacturers, and interchange with Ford and Mopar. You can still buy brand new all chrome Magnum 500 rims also for about $150 each, and they come in some neat sizes like 14X7, 14X8, 15X7 and 15X8.
Be sure you don't get too big of a rim for your 68-70 AMX or Javelin, as you only have a limited amount of room under there to work with. The 71-74 Javelins and AMXs have a bigger area and I have stuffed 27560R15s under them with no scrapage. Same with Rebel, Ambassador and Matador, they have some big rear wheelwells so larger meat.
Which brings me back to this. If you are even considering a different rim, or replacing your existing ones, take off one of them and hold a piece of cardboard behind the rim, and draw thru the center hole and lug nut holes. You can then trim the cardboard down to a smaller size. Armed with this, when you go to a swap meet, speed shop, or wheel store and those 17 inch Momo's look sweet and you are considering them, or you come across a set of Rebel Machine rims (used from 1970 thru 1972, these are called AMC 15 inch styled road wheels by AMC) you can hold your piece of cardboard behind the rim to see if it is the same bolt pattern as your car at home in the garage or on the field.
Granted, this won't determine if the rim is bent, but it will however tell you quickly if the rims will fit your AMC. And 90% of the times at swap meets I guarantee you damned better make a quick decision as if you walk away to buy a corndog and come back someone else has bought those rims while you fiddle faddled with your weenie in the corndog and you missed your chance.
Many of the Rally rims AMC used from 69-83 were used on all their models like Spirit, Gremlin, AMX and so on. Used rims usually top out at $50 a hit, while new ones sell for about $100 a rim, although bigger rims like 15X7 sell for more. Again, you can buy many of these rims new in the pages of Hemming's, look under "services offered". You can also find these same rims in junkyards (take your cardboard template with you mentioned above!) for as little as $10 a rim.
And lastly please remember bigger is not better, make sure the tire you will be putting on that rim will clear the wheelwell housings and leaf springs in the rear, and on the front make sure it will not scrape the inside of the fender or the upper or lower ball joint or in some cases in 66-69 the trunnion. Happy Wheeling,